Inhalations of historical background

Inhalation numbers amongst the oldest of therapeutic methods. It was a familiar measure in ancient times and in all likelihood it was already known by then that, in diseases of the respiratory system, inhaling medicinal agents brings greater benefits than therapy by means of oral medications. Inhalation was also recommended by the father of medicine, Hippocrates. He enjoined the sick to inspire the smoke created by burning garlic, dill or cumin in a pan, with a reed tube serving as a mouthpiece. This device can be considered as being the first, simple inhalation apparatus.

The use of dry salt aerosol in inhalations was instigated by Feliks Boczkowski in the nineteenth century. He directed patients with diseases of the respiratory system to go for walks in the underground corridors of the Wieliczka Salt Mine. The dry salt aerosol present in the underground excavations was the result of the salt-extraction workings. He noted in his book that: “For all the wearying trudge the length of the stairways, people who are suffering similarly feel invigorated when down there”.

The latest achievement in the field is the development of dry salt aerosol generators. These devices are known as halogenerators. As opposed to previous solutions, which operated in the basis of reducing saline solutions to droplets, halogenerators grind the salt mechanically. The Polish ‘Salsano DC-405’ halogenerator is just such a device; it employs mechanical means to produce micronised rock salt. The halogenerator, which is normally located in a utility room adjacent to the therapy room, produces a dry salt aerosol with a particle size of 0.5 to 5 micrometres, enabling it to reach the deepest sections of the respiratory system.