segunda-feira, 31 de março de 2014

Hawks trial experimental recovery

Hawks Liam Shiels and Jordan Lewis undergoing salt therapy on Monday, in a picture posted by teammate Luke Breust on Instagram

HAWTHORN has gone to radical lengths to aid its recovery in the lead-up to Sunday's big clash with Collingwood, sending seven of its players to trial a little-known treatment called salt therapy on Monday.

Skipper Luke Hodge, defender Josh Gibson and midfielder Jordan Lewis were among those to take part in the therapy, which is said to help in the relief of respiratory inflammation, leading to better recovery.

It was the first time the Hawks had used the treatment, at the suggestion of fitness boss Andrew Russell, although it is not a first for the AFL: St Kilda has been using salt therapy regularly as part of its recovery routine.

Sports scientist Simon Kearney introduced the practice at the Saints, after using it successfully with his previous employer, NRL team the Melbourne Storm, last year.

Carlton forward Andrew Walker, who suffers from sports-induced asthma, has also spruiked the benefits of inhaling salt.

Hawthorn has endured a gruelling start to the season, facing Geelong on Easter Monday before flying to Perth to take on West Coast six days later.

The club now has a seven-day turnaround before facing another challenging assignment in the Magpies.

However, Hawks head of coaching and development Chris Fagan stressed the use of salt therapy was a trial, and not a direct response to a taxing past fortnight.

"Andrew Russell is always looking to find something new that might help," Fagan told

"We don't know what the results will be. It's alleged that it assists with recovery, but it's quite a new thing.

"We would've trialled it whether we had a seven-day break or a 10-day break.

"It just so happens that it's happened at the same time that we've played the game in Perth on a hot day.

"But it was only a trial with seven players, and everyone else is doing normal recovery."

Salt therapy takes place in a sealed, ventilated room whose walls and floor are covered in salt, mimicking a salt cave environment.

Users of the salt room inhale fine particles of salt, which are said to help relieve congestion and inflammation of the airways, aiding oxygen supply.

Its knock-on effects are claimed to include quicker recovery, increased energy and relief from the symptoms of respiratory conditions. It has been common in Eastern Europe for hundreds of years.

Fagan said Hawthorn would have a strong recovery focus with a light training load this week in preparation for Sunday's clash.

"We're probably not going to train overly hard this week; we'll let the game do the conditioning for us," he said.

"We've had two terrific games where that's been able to occur, so that's the main thing.

"I don't think this (salt therapy) and the timing of the game in Perth are connected."

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quinta-feira, 27 de março de 2014

The Pros and Cons of Massages for Runners

Research finally reveals just what massages can—and can't—do for runners.

There is good reason massage therapists are part of an elite runner's entourage. And why the lines for a postrace massage seemingly extend for miles. A rubdown—even a deep, intense one—feels great. Runners report that massages help lessen muscle tension and improve range of motion, while also making them feel relaxed and rewarded for their hard efforts.
Yet despite massage's popularity and positive reputation, there's been little scientific evidence to support why athletes feel so good when they hop off the table. "It can be hard to merge basic science with alternative medicine," says Justin Crane, Ph.D., a McMaster University researcher who conducted some of the first objective studies on massage in 2012. Practitioners say massage relieves muscle soreness, promotes circulation, flushes toxins and lactic acid from the body, and eases joint strain—claims supported by centuries of anecdotal evidence from China, Sweden, and around the globe. But science hadn't confirmed just what massage actually achieves—until now. Recent research has sorted out what's true and what's not.

First, let's set the record straight: Science doesn't support some ingrained beliefs about massage. "It can't push toxins out of the muscles and into the bloodstream," says JoEllen Sefton, Ph.D., associate professor of kinesiology at Auburn University, who has practiced massage therapy. "There's no physiological way that can happen." Nor does it appear to flush lactic acid from muscles, says Crane, who analyzed muscle samples after subjects cycled to exhaustion and then received a 10-minute massage. "People assumed that because lactic acid feels burny, and massage reduces pain, then it must clear away lactic acid," he says.

What massage does do is apply moving pressure to muscles and other tissues such as tendons, ligaments, and fascia (which sheaths muscles like a sausage casing). "That energy softens fascia tissue and makes clenched muscles relax," Sefton says. It also removes adhesions between fascia and muscles (places where the two stick together and restrict muscles' movement). That's especially great news for runners, who rely on limber joints and muscles for pain-free peak performance.

Science's biggest discovery is what massage can do for athletic recovery. Studies published in the Journal of Athletic Training and the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that massage after exercise reduced the intensity of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)—that is, the peg-legged feeling you get two days after your marathon. And other research suggests that it improves immune function and reduces inflammation. Emory University researcher Mark Rapaport, M.D., found that just one massage treatment resulted in an increased number of several types of lymphocytes (white blood cells that play a key role in fighting infection) while also decreasing levels of cortisol (the "stress hormone" linked to chronic inflammation). "More research is needed, but it's reasonable to think that massage could help runners taxed from exertion," Rapaport says. It may also help curb chronic diseases. "We know that systemic inflammation is associated with a lot of deleterious effects, such as heart attack and stroke, and that it predisposes people to cancers," he says.

Crane's research, published in Science Translational Medicine, found less inflammation in massaged limbs—and 30 percent more of a gene that helps muscle cells build mitochondria (the "engines" that turn a cell's food into energy and facilitate its repair). "What we saw suggests that massage could let runners tolerate more training, and harder training, because it would improve their recovery and speed up their ability to go hard two days later," he says.

Studies on rabbits confirm Crane's prediction. At Ohio State University, Thomas Best, M.D., Ph.D., put a device on exercised animals that simulates massage and records the applied pressure. "We've shown a 50 to 60 percent recovery in muscle function compared with no massage," he says.

The new evidence is so convincing that even the researchers have made massage a regular part of their routines: Crane, Rapaport, and Best have all become devotees as a result of their findings, and they recommend that runners follow suit. Regular massage can boost recovery and be a valuable training tool to help you run your best. "Muscle stiffness can throw off your gait, which leads to problems over time," Sefton says. "And by getting a sense for how your body should feel when everything is in balance, you're more likely to notice small issues before they turn into chronic problems." Even beginning runners can benefit from massage, because alleviating the soreness that comes with starting a new sport makes people more likely to stick with it.
Can't afford weekly treatments? Self-massage with foam rollers and other tools like tennis balls can be beneficial in between visits. They can also help runners prep for workouts, since they loosen muscles. "Just don't overdo the pressure," says Sefton, who notes that even a person's body weight on a foam roller sometimes applies too much force (and causes muscles to tighten in defense). "Bodywork just before a race or hard workout should be light," says massage therapist Anna Gammal, who worked with athletes at the 2012 Olympics. "We don't want muscles to feel sore or overworked."

After a race or grueling workout, a therapist may go deeper in order to help with recovery—or not. It all depends on the individual, Gammal says. "Through talking with the athlete and using touch, a therapist will determine the state of the muscle and if it's best to use light strokes or deep-tissue techniques to treat an athlete in a safe and productive way."

quarta-feira, 26 de março de 2014

Billy Slater shares haloTherapy with teammates

Billy Slater at Salts of the Earth centre with Storm teammates. Picture: Colleen Petch Source: Herald Sun
MELBOURNE Storm star Billy Slater is one of a growing number of sportsmen trying out the benefits of halotherapy, the inhaling of salt in a special spa room.
And his Storm teammates joined him at the Salts of the Earth centre at Brighton to find out for themselves.
Slater has been using the salt spa therapy to deal with his hay fever.
But it was the first time the whole Storm squad used the spa.
It was believed to be an ideal recovery session after a tough interstate trip to Townsville, which included two plane changes in Brisbane.
The treatment in the salt rooms helps people who suffer from asthma, hay fever and other respiratory ailments.
Carlton forward Andrew Walker is a regular user of the spas and strong advocate of the therapy, introducing his teammates to the treatment.
He says it has minimised his use of medication for asthma and hay fever and increased his aerobic capacity.
The treatment evolved from doctors recognising the low incidence of respiratory conditions in salt mine workers.
You just sit in the salt-lined room while air is pumped through it.

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terça-feira, 25 de março de 2014

Questions over salt caves' claim to fight illnesses

St Kilda players undergoing salt therapy.
St Kilda players in a salt cave. Photo: Salts of the Earth website
An increasing number of alternative clinics are charging people hundreds of dollars to sit in ''salt caves'' for respiratory illnesses and skin complaints such as asthma, eczema and cystic fibrosis.
AFL footballers have also turned to salt therapy to see if it shortens recovery time between games. But medical practitioners say they are not convinced of the therapy and suggest people consult their doctors before paying for it because it could exacerbate their condition.
Over the past three years, more than a dozen clinics have started offering ''salt therapy'' or ''halotherapy'' in Australia, claiming inhalation of tiny salt particles in a room full of natural salt relieves inflammation and congestion and breaks up mucus.
The Galos salt cave in Chicago, Illinois, uses iodine salt from the Black Sea.
The Galos salt cave in Chicago, Illinois, uses iodine salt from the Black Sea. Photo: Getty
One clinic in Hampton, ''Dr Salt'', claims hour-long sessions at a cost of $45 each ''wards off and decreases the likelihood of asthma attacks'', prevents allergies and treats the symptoms of illnesses such as croup, hay fever, cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It also promotes it for acne, ear infections and snoring.

''Clinical studies have proven that bodily ailments ranging from respiratory diseases (asthma, chronic bronchitis, etc) to allergies are noticeably reduced after receiving such treatments,'' the Dr Salt website says.
The website also says: ''The antiseptic nature of the salt is able to kill bacteria and viruses and also increase mucociliary clearance, thereby reducing inflammation in the whole respiratory tract.''
The clinic says the therapy is suitable for babies as young as four months and has

rooms with toys and play equipment for children.
A natural therapist at Dr Salt, Orly Miller, said the clinic had no medical staff and generally recommended people try six to 14 sessions depending on their symptoms. She said the clinic did not claim to cure any illnesses, but rather relieve symptoms of them.
''None of us claim to be doctors … we're just called Dr Salt,'' she said. ''We offer advice that you do consult your doctor before coming. We don't offer it as an opposition to Ventolin [asthma treatment], it's just an alternative that can go hand and hand together with medical treatment.''
David Lindsay, the CEO and founder of another business, Salts of the Earth, said he did not claim salt therapy could treat illnesses. Instead, his website says it ''may help'' people with a range of conditions ranging from sinusitis all the way through to pneumonia and lung cancer.
He said he was looking to expand from five clinics to 100 over the next three years across Australia because his service was so popular. He said his clinics in Melbourne and Perth had seen more than 10,000 people over the past three years and were now receiving the backing of a ''very well-known Melbourne businessman'' as well as celebrity doctor John Tickell.
Mr Lindsay said he was getting referrals from the Royal Children's Hospital and Monash Medical Centre and was building salt rooms for the St Kilda Football Club.
''If this therapy didn't do something, these professional athletes wouldn't be doing it,'' he said.
But spokesmen for both hospitals said they did not refer patients to the ''non-evidence-based'' therapy and Head of Immunology and Allergy at the Royal Melbourne Hospital Professor Jo Douglass said salt rooms could actually trigger asthma in some people.
She said although the inhalation of salt solutions in a nebuliser helped clear some people's airways, this was done in a medical setting where people's lung function was observed. ''People with active asthma need to be aware of the potential for salt to cause airway narrowing,'' she said. 

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domingo, 23 de março de 2014

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quarta-feira, 19 de março de 2014


Studies suggest that the release of negative ions (what you experience when you step outside into fresh air) during salt therapy reduces stress, headaches, lethargy and depression, and improves energy and mental acuity while stabilizing mood and sleep patterns. Salt therapy provides the best results when you take it regularly. A single treatment lasts about 45-50 minutes. You simply sit in the halochamber and inhale microscopic particles of salt.

Salt therapyhalotherapy or speleotherapy[1] is the use of salt minescaves or other forms of exposure to salt air in the belief that this confers a health benefit.


A 2009 Cochrane summary concluded that there is insufficient evidence to determine whether salt therapy in treating asthma is effective and that more research is needed; particularly randomized controlled trials.[2]

Salt mines and caves[

Namakdan Cave (means:Salt shaker Cave) is longest salt cave in the world.
These natural deposits of mineral halite are derived from evaporated ancient lakes and seas. The unrefined rock salt, primarily sodium chloride, also includes varying concentrations of other mineral salts such as calcium and magnesium, manganese and sulfates which have additional therapeutic properties,[citation needed] depending on the source.
The special characteristics of the micro-climate of a salt mine include stable air temperature, humidity and lack of airborne pollutants such as pollens, and is unique to each mine. At depth the air pressure is also significantly higher than above ground which has been found to benefit sufferers of respiratory diseases in studies conducted at the Dead Sea which is below sea level.[citation needed]
There are records of improvements in the breathing of miners in Roman and medieval timesDr Feliks Boczkowski — a physician at the Polish salt mine atWieliczka — wrote in 1843 that the miners there did not suffer from lung diseases and his successor set up a spa based upon these observations.[3]Modern use of this therapy started in Germany when Dr. Karl Hermann Spannagel[4] noticed improvement in the health of his patients after they hid in theKluterthöhle karst cave to escape heavy bombing. It is now practised in places such as Bystrianska in Slovakia,[5] Wieliczka in Poland,[6] Solotvyno inUkraine[7] and many other East European countries.[8]


Halogenerators are used to simulate the salted atmosphere of salt mines. These highly developed machines crush rock salt into dry micrometre sized particles, ionize the particles, and release them into the air. Salt particles of sizes 0.1-2.5 micrometres are able to escape the natural defences of the upper airways and travel deep into the lung to the level of the alveoli. Typically used in a small room with floors and walls lined with rocksalt, known as artificial salt room.
Salt lamps are another method of salt therapy.[citation needed] A large crystal of natural salt is hollowed out and heated with a tealight or lightbulb. The crystals give off an attractive glow in various colours of pink, orange, red or purple according to the minerals present.

Home Salt Therapy

Special home saline therapy devices were developed with the scope of making salt therapy easily available at home, replicating the seashore or speleotherapy aerosol. Hand-held devices and ultrasonic salinizer, use rock salt to create the microscopic breathable particles of salt. The hand-held salt inhaler uses dry rock salt and can deliver the salt aerosol by breathing through the mouth and exhaling through the nose, offering 1–2 hours daily exposure. The ultrasonic salinizer uses saline solution [9] , made with natural rock salt, to create the salt aerosol. These salt particles are released into the indoor air and freely breathe during the night, offering 7–8 hours daily exposure, especially for chronic respiratory diseases.[10]

Salt water aerosol

Breathing an aerosol of hypertonic salt water (3-7% NaCl) has been found effective as a treatment for the heavy build up of mucus typical of cystic fibrosis.[11] The benefits of this were first noticed by sufferers who regularly surfed in Australia and so were exposed to the natural aerosol of the salt spray.[12]
The use of saline solution delivered by a nebulizer to treat bronchiolitis in children has also been systematically reviewed. The conclusion was that, "Current evidence suggests nebulized 3% saline may significantly reduce the length of hospital stay and improve the clinical severity score in infants with acute viral bronchiolitis."[9]


  1. Jump up
    ^ Tom Parfitt (3 December 2005), Ukrainian salt mines reinvented as a haven for asthma sufferers, The Guardian
  2. Jump up
    ^ Beamon SP, Falkenbach A, Fainburg G, Linde K, Speleotherapy for asthma, Cochrane Summaries, October 7, 2009.
  3. Jump up
    ^ Archiv für physikalische Therapie, Balneologie und Klimatologie, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Physikalische Medizin, 1965
  4. Jump up
    ^ Josef Cáp, Pavel Slavik, Ladislav Pecen (2007), Stanovení endogenního kortizolu u dìtí
  5. Jump up
    ^ Robert Valjent (30 Apr 2007), Caves offer asthma relief for tourists, The Slovak Spectator
  6. Jump up
    ^ MM Skulimowski (1968), "The microclimatic effect of the subterranean chambers of the Wieliczka Salt Mine in the treatment of bronchial asthma", Annals of Allergy 26 (2): 66–9, PMID 5638511
  7. Jump up
    ^ Helen Fawkes (3 Jan 2006), Ukrainian mine helps asthmatics, BBC
  8. Jump up
    ^ Iuri Simionca, Jaroslav Chonka, Pavel Slavic, Ovidiu Mera,Mihail Hoteteu, Liviu Enache, Gheorghe Stoian (2012), The XIVth INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM OF SPELEOTHERAPY
  9. ^ 
    Jump up to:
    a b Zhang Linjie,Mendoza-Sassi Raúl A,Wainwright Claire,Klassen Terry P (2008), "Nebulized hypertonic saline solution for acute bronchiolitis in infants", in Zhang, Linjie, The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (John Wiley) (4): CD006458, doi:10.1002/14651858.CD006458.pub2PMID 18843717
  10. Jump up
    ^ Tano L, Tano K. (November 2004), A daily nasal spray with saline prevents symptoms of rhinitis, PubMed
  11. Jump up
    ^ Wark P, McDonald VM. Nebulised hypertonic saline for cystic fibrosis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD001506. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001506.pub3
  12. Jump up
    ^ Jane Elliott (31 March 2006), dose of salts to ease cystic fibrosis, BBC

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