ASTHMA experts have condemned claims that salt cave therapy can improve or remove symptoms of the respiratory disorder, stating they "lack scientific evidence".
The Asthma Society of Ireland was responding to claims made by a Polish medical group that the underground caves had proven to be a "really effective" means of treatment and in some cases had actually cured people of asthma.
The comments were made by Adam Krawczyk from Medical Poland in a press release for a promotional event organised by the Polish Embassy in Ireland.
The event held on March 27 at the embassy promoted Wieliczka Salt Mine Health Resort near Krakow in Poland and encouraged asthma sufferers to consider what was described as an "innovative" method of treatment based on the natural properties of salt.
However, the Asthma Society of Ireland said there was a "lack of scientific evidence to support salt therapy for the treatment or control of asthma" and warned that patients "should also be made aware of the risks of using this therapy without medical supervision".
A spokesperson said: "Salt therapy should only ever be undertaken by asthma patients under medical supervision and should not be used as an alternative to prescribed medications."
They also warned that inhaling salt solutions can cause mucous to clear from patients' airways, which could possibly lead to bronchoconstriction, a narrowing of the airways that in some cases could have "tragic results".
A spokesperson for the Wieliczka Salt Mine Health Resort told the ‘Medical Independent’ the facility does not claim to be able to cure asthma.
While Ireland has no naturally occurring salt caves, a number are situated throughout eastern Europe, the Asthma Society of Ireland said.
A spokesperson from the Polish Embassy in Ireland was not available for comment when contacted by the Irish Independent last night.