The Scoop on Salt Therapy

If you think you know everything about salt, think again. Find out how salt can actually be beneficial to your health!

The Scoop on Salt Therapy

Everybody knows that too much salt isn’t good for you. But that’s when you eat it. When it’s not ingested, there are so many ways in which salt is really beneficial to your health. As an alternative remedy, its healing properties help treat a variety of ailments, including colds, allergies, dermatitis, asthma and psoriasis. Learn about the three everyday ways salt can help you.

For a cold: Use a salt inhaler. It loosens the mucus that builds up. When you inhale, the microscopic salt particles are picked up and deposited into your airways. The salt draws soothing moisture into the mucus, making it thinner and more easily swept out by cilia, the tiny hairs that protect your nostrils and other passageways from unwelcome particles. When you feel a cold coming on, use it for 15 minutes a day to reduce the symptoms.

In the bedroom:

  • Use a salt pillow. It filters the air near the nose and mouth while you’re sleeping and can help your breathing.
  • Use salt candles. It increases concentration of negative ions and neutralizes irritating particles in the air.

For your skin: Use salt in the bath. You can make a calming salt bath with a half-cup of sea salt and a half-cup of oatmeal. The salt hydrates the skin by drawing moisture into it. It also decreases inflammation, a symptom of psoriasis. Bonus: Oatmeal locks in moisture with help from omega-3s and minerals.


Your Parent Has Dementia: What to Talk to Their Doctor About

Make sure all their doctors are aware of all the medications she is taking.

Q: My mom is 94 and has dementia. She is taking a whole medicine cabinet-full of medications and I think they actually make her fuzzier. How should I talk to her various doctors about what she is taking and if she can get off some of the meds? — Gary R., Denver, Colorado

A: Many dementia patients are taking what docs call a "polypharmacy" — three or more medications that affect their central nervous system. And we really don't know how that mixture truly affects each individual person.

A new study in JAMA Network that looked at more than 1 million Medicare patients found almost 14% of them were taking a potentially harmful mix of antidepressants, antipsychotics, antiepileptics, benzodiazepines such as Valium and Ativan, nonbenzodiazepine benzodiazepine receptor agonist hypnotics such as Ambien or Sonata, and opioids. And almost a third of those folks were taking five or more such medications. The most common medication combination included an antidepressant, an antiepileptic, and an antipsychotic. Gabapentin was the most common medication — often for off-label uses, such as to ease chronic pain or treat psychiatric disorders, according to the researchers from the University of Michigan.

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