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 Salt information and FAQ
Therapeutic sea salt for making bath salts, natural soaps, salt scrubs, and spa treatments. We import our all natural sea salts from around the globe to ensure that we have the absolute highest quality sea salts and the lowest wholesale & bulk prices.


AromaEssence provide our guests and regular users with an excellent 
selection of information pertaining to the world of salt. Simply select a topic
 from the list below to learn more. Be sure to check back often as we will 
continue to add more new and exciting information.

 General Information:
  • What is Salt?
  • History of Salt
  • Consumer Tips for Salt Use

Health Related:
  • Salt and Good Health
  • Salt and Human Health
  • Balneotherapy (bath) Treatment
  • Salt for Human Nutrition

 Bath & Spa Related:
  • Dead Sea Salt Bathing
  • Bath Salt Therapy
  • Water Therapy
  • Making Bath Salts
  

 Dead Sea Related:
  • Information about the Dead Sea.
  • The Use of Dead Sea Salt 
      (research)

  • Benefits of Dead Sea Salt.

   

 

What Is Salt?

Sodium chloride or common salt is the chemical compound NaCl. Salt occurs 
naturally in many parts of the world as the mineral halite and as mixed evaporites 
in salt lakes. Seawater has lots of salt; it contains an average of 2.6% (by weight) 
NaCl, or 26 million metric tons per cubic kilometer (120 million short tons per cubic 
mile, an inexhaustible supply (note: seawater also contains other dissolved solids; 
salt represents about 77% of the Total Dissolved Solids). Underground salt 
deposits are found in both bedded sedimentary layers and domal deposits. 
Deposits have been found to have encapsulated ancient microorganisms 
including bacteria. Some salt is one the surface, the dried-up residue of ancient 
seas like the famed Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. Salt even arrives on earth from 
outer space and its presence on the planet Mars makes scientists think life may 
exist there. Conversely, surface salt depositions and man-made saltworks can be 
seen from space.

Sodium chloride crystals are cubic in form. Table salt consists of tiny cubes tightly 
bound together through ionic bonding of the sodium and chloride ions. The salt 
crystal is often used as an example of crystalline structure. It can be modified by 
temperature. Different types of crystal have different uses, as for food.

It varies in color from colorless, when pure, to white, gray or brownish, typical of 
rock salt (halite). Chemically, it is 60.663% elemental chlorine (Cl) and 39.337% 
sodium (Na). The atomic weight of elemental chlorine is 35.4527 and that of sodium 
is 22.989768. Properties of salt are collected in the U.S. Occupational Safety and 
Health Administration (OSHA) Chemical Sampling Information database.

Properties of Pure Sodium Chloride:
Molecular weight - NaCl
58.4428
Atomic weight - Na
22.989768 (39.337%)
Atomic weight - Cl
35.4527 (60.663%)
Eutectic composition
23.31% NaCl
Freezing point of eutectic mixture
-21.12° C (-6.016°F)
Crystal form
Isometric, Cubic
Color
Clear to White
Index of refraction
1.5442
Density or specific gravity
2.165 (135 lb/ft3)
Bulk density, approximate (dry, ASTM D 632 gradation)
1.154 (72 lb/ft3)
Angle of repose (dry, ASTM D 632 gradation)
32°
Melting point
800.8° C (1,473.4° F)
Boiling point
1,465°C (2,669° F)
Hardness (Moh's Scale)
2.5
Critical humidity at 20 °C, (68° F)
75.3%
pH of aqueous solution
neutral

Sodium chloride is sold in several different particle sizes (gradation) and forms, 
depending on the intended end use. Discrete crystals can be seen in rock salt 
used for deicing. Fine granules are typical of table salt and even finer popcorn 
salt. Kosher salt, pickling salt and ice cream salt are slightly coarser. Small 
compressed pellets are used in water softeners and large salt blocks are used 
as salt licks for livestock. When viewed under strong magnification, all sodium 
chloride is crystalline. Very large cubic crystals, of two, three or more inches in 
size, can be seen in some salt mines. They are transparent and cleave into 
perfect cubes whenstruck with a hard object.

Purity of rock salt produced in North America varies depending on the type of salt 
(evaporated, rock, solar) and on the source. Rock salt typically ranges between 
95% and 99% NaCl, and mechanically evaporated salt and solar salt normally 
exceed 99% NaCl. Evaporated salt made with purified brine has the highest purity, 
in some cases 99.99% NaCl. Voluntary standards, such as those developed by 
the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), the American Water 
Works Association (AWWA) assure appropriate quality for the intended use. 
Mandatory specifications for food grade, drug/medical and analytical use include 
Food Chemicals Codex, U.S. Pharmacopoeia, and Reagent Grade Chemicals. 
Special devices, refractometers, are used to measure salinity.

Common salt or sodium chloride is considered by the U.S. Food and Drug 
Administration as safe for its intended use as a food additive. This GRAS 
(generally recognized as safe) classification, and the universal use of sodium 
chloride since antiquity, affirms its safety. The Merck Index refers to sodium 
chloride as "not generally considered poisonous." Many substances in everyday 
use can be toxic in high concentrations, even water. Toxic levels of sodium 
chloride are reported as:

Oral toxicity (The Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances, 1986):
  Human; TDLo: 12,357 mg/kg/23 D-C
  Mouse; LD50: 4,000 mg/kg
  Rat; LD50: 3,000 mg/kg
  Rabbit; LDLo: 8,000 mg/kg

Acute aquatic toxicity (U.S. EPA, Ambient Water Quality Criteria for Chloride, 1988):
  Rana Breviceps (frog); No observed effect concentration (NOEC): 400 mg/L.
  Daphnia pulex 48-hour LC50 or EC50: 1,470 mg/L
  Daphnia magna (water flea); 48 hour EC50: 3,310 mg/L
  Myriophyllum spicatum (water milfoil); Phytotoxicity (EC50 for growth): 5,962 mg/L
  Pimephales promealas (fathead minnow); 69-hour LC50: 7,650 mg/L
  Lepomis macrochirus (Bluegill) LC50 or EC50: 7,846 mg/L
  Anguilla rostrata (American eel) 48-hour LC50 or EC 50: 13,085 mg/L

EPA says that the chlorides of calcium, magnesium and potassium are generally 
more toxic to fresh water species than sodium chloride. Some Antarctic species 
depend on salt to protect them against the cold.

 



History Of Salt:

Most people probably think of salt as simply that white granular food seasoning found in a salt shaker on virtually every dining table.

It is that, surely, but it is far more. It is an essential element in the diet of not only humans but of animals, and even of many plants. It is one of the most effective and most widely used of all food preservatives (and used to preserve Egyptian mummies as well). Its industrial and other uses are almost without number. In fact, salt has great current as well as historical interest, even the subject of humorous cartoons and poetry and useful in film-making. Sometimes, however, we need to separate the salt to get the history.

The fact is that throughout history, salt--called sodium chloride by chemists--has been such an important element of life that it has been the subject of many stories, fables and folktales and is frequently referenced in fairy tales. It served as money at various times and places, and it has been the cause of bitter warfare. Offering bread and salt to visitors, in many cultures, is traditional etiquette. It is used in making pottery. While we have records of the importance of salt in commerce in Medieval times and earlier, in some places like the Sahara and Nepal, salt trading today gives a glimpse of what life may have been like centuries ago.

Salt was in general use long before history, as we know it, began to be recorded. Some 2,700 years B.C.-about 4,700 years ago-there was published in China the Peng-Tzao-Kan-Mu, probably the earliest known treatise on pharmacology. A major portion of this writing was devoted to a discussion of more than 40 kinds of salt, including descriptions of two methods of extracting salt and putting it in usable form that are amazingly similar to processes used today. Chinese folklore recounts the discovery of salt. Salt production has been important in China for two millennia or more. And the Chinese, like many other governments over time, realizing that everyone needed to consume salt, made salt taxes a major revenue source. Nomads spreading westward were known to carry salt.

Egyptian art from as long ago as 1450 B.C. records salt-making.
Salt was of crucial importance economically. A far-flung trade in ancient Greece involving exchange of salt for slaves gave rise to the expression, "not worth his salt." Special salt rations given early Roman soldiers were known as "salarium argentum," the forerunner of the English word "salary." References to salt abound in languages around the globe, particularly regarding salt used for food. From the Latin "sal," for example, come such other derived words as "sauce" and "sausage." Salt was an important trading commodity carried by explorers.

Salt has played a vital part in religious ritual in many cultures, symbolizing immutable, incorruptible purity. There are more than 30 references to salt in the Bible, using expressions like "salt of the earth." And there are many other literary and religious references to salt, including use of salt on altars representing purity, and use of "holy salt" by the Unification Church.

 

 

Consumer Tips For Salt Use:

Besides making foods delicious, it's believed there are more than 14,000 uses of 
salt, and our grandmothers were probably familiar with most of them. Many of 
these uses were for simple things around the home before the advent of modern 
chemicals and cleaners. However, many uses are still valid today and a lot 
cheaper than using more sophisticated products.

We thought you might like to share some of these fascinating applications of salt.

We make no guarantee about the results if you try any of them, but there must be 
something to them since they have been handed down over the years in many 
households. Most of these uses have stood the test of time.

The most familiar use of salt undoubtedly is in the kitchen and on the dining table. 
Salt accents the flavor of meat, brings out individuality of vegetables, puts "oomph" 
into bland starches, deepens the flavor of delicate desserts and develops flavor 
of melons and certain other fruits. No other seasoning has yet been found that can 
satisfactorily take the place of salt. But there are other uses around the home, too.

Salt is an excellent cleaning agent, by itself or in combination with other 
substances. 
A solution of salt and turpentine restores the whiteness to yellowed enameled 
bathtubs and lavatories. A paste of salt and vinegar cleans tarnished brass or 
copper. a strong brine poured down the kitchen sink prevents grease from 
collecting and eliminates odors.

Salt helps destroy moths and drives away ants. A dash of salt in laundry starch 
keeps the iron from sticking and gives linen and fine cottons a glossy, like-new 
finish. A thin paste of salt and salad oil removes white marks caused by hot 
dishes or water from wooden tables.

A box of salt is an important item in many bathrooms. In mild solutions, it makes an 
excellent mouthwash, throat gargle or eye-wash; it is an effective dentifrice; it is an 
effective antiseptic; and it can be extremely helpful as a massage element to 
improve complexion.

We offer these other tips:

Kitchen:

Boiling Water - Salt added to water makes the water boil at a higher 
temperature, thus reducing cooking time. (It does not make the water boil faster.)

Peeling eggs - Boiling eggs in salted water will make eggs peel easily.

Poaching eggs - Poaching eggs over salted water helps set the egg whites.

Testing egg freshness - Place the egg in a cup of water to which two 
teaspoonfuls of salt has been added. A fresh egg sinks; a doubter will float.

Preventing browning - Apples, pears and potatoes dropped in cold, lightly 
salted water as they are peeled will retain their color.

Shelling pecans - Soaking pecans in salt water for several hours before 
shelling will make nut meats easier to remove.

Washing spinach - If spinach is washed in salted water, repeated cleanings 
will not be necessary.

Preventing sugaring - A little salt added to cake icings prevents them from 
sugaring.

Crisping salads - Salting salads immediately before serving will keep them 
crisp.

Improving boiled potatoes - Boiled potatoes will be given a fine, mealy 
texture by sprinkling with salt after draining, then returning them to the pan and 
shaking them back and forth quickly to get rid of the excess moisture.

Cleaning greasy pans - The greasiest iron pan will wash easily if you put a 
little salt in it and wipe with paper.

Cleaning stained cups - Rubbing with salt will remove stubborn tea or coffee 
stains from cups.

Cleaning ovens - Salt and cinnamon take the "burned food" odor away from 
ovens and stove burners. Sprinkle spills while oven and burners are still hot; 
when dry, remove the salted spots with a stiff brush or cloth.

Cleaning refrigerators - Salt and soda water will clean and sweeten the inside 
of your refrigerator. It won't scratch enamel either.

Extinguishing grease fires - Salt tossed on a grease fire on the stove or in the 
oven will smother flames. Never use water; it will only spatter the burning grease.

Improving coffee - A pinch of salt in coffee will enhance the flavor and remove 
the bitterness of over-cooked coffee.

Improving poultry - To improve the flavor of poultry, rub the fowl inside and out 
with salt before roasting.

Removing pinfeathers - To remove pinfeathers easily from a chicken, rub the 
chicken skin with salt first.

Cleaning tarnished silverware - Rub tarnish with salt before washing.

Cleaning copper pans - Remove stains on copper pans by salting area and 
scouring with a cloth soaked in vinegar.

Cleaning coffee pots - Remove bitterness from percolators and other coffee 
pots by filling with water, adding four tablespoons of salt and percolating or 
boiling as usual.

Removing onion odors from hands - Rub fingers with salt moistened with 
vinegar.

"Sweetening" containers - Salt can "sweeten" and deodorize thermos bottles 
and jugs, decanters and other closed containers.

Cleaning sink drains - Pour a strong salt brine down the kitchen sink drain 
regularly to eliminate odors and keep grease from building up.

Brightening cutting boards - After washing them with soap and water, rub 
bread and cutting boards with a damp cloth dipped in salt; the boards will be 
lighter and brighter.

Fixing oversalted soups - If soup has been oversalted, cut up a raw potato or 
two and drop into the soup. The potato will absorb the salt.

Cleaning dried-on egg - Salt not only makes eggs taste better, but it makes 
"eggy" dishes clean easier. Sprinkle salt on dishes right after breakfast; it makes 
them a whiz to clean when you have time.

Preventing food from sticking - Rub a pancake griddle with a small bag of 
salt to prevent sticking and smoking. Sprinkle a little salt in the skillet before frying 
fish to prevent the fish from sticking. Sprinkle salt on washed skillets, waffle iron 
plates or griddles, heat in a warm oven, dust off salt; when they are next used, 
foods will not stick.

Preventing mold - To prevent mold on cheese, wrap it in a cloth dampened 
with saltwater before refrigerating.

Whipping cream and beating egg whites - By adding a pinch of salt, cream 
will whip better and egg whites will beat faster and higher.

Keeping milk fresh - Adding a pinch of salt to milk will keep it fresh longer.

Setting gelatin - To set gelatin salads and desserts quickly, place over ice that 
has been sprinkled with salt.


Cleaning:

Cleaning brass - Mix equal parts of salt, flour and vinegar to make a paste, rub 
the paste on the brass item, leave on for an hour or so, then clean with a soft cloth 
or brush and buff with a dry cloth.

Cleaning wicker - To prevent yellowing, scrub wicker furniture with a stiff brush 
moistened with warm saltwater and allow to dry in the sun.

Cleaning grease spots on rugs - Some grease spots can be removed with a 
solution of one part salt and four parts alcohol and rubbing hard but carefully to 
avoid damage to the nap.

Extending broom life - New brooms will wear longer if soaked in hot saltwater 
before they are first used.

Removing wine stains - If wine is spilled on a tablecloth or rug, blot up as much 
as possible and immediately cover the wine with salt, which will absorb the 
remaining wine. Later rinse the tablecloth with cold water; scrape up the salt from 
the rug and then vacuum the spot.

Removing rings from tables - White rings left on tables from wet or hot dishes 
or glasses can be removed by rubbing a thin paste of salad oil and salt on the 
spot with your fingers, letting it stand an hour or two, then wiping it off.

Restoring sponges - Give sponges new life by soaking them in cold saltwater 
after they are washed.

Settling suds - If a washing machine bubbles over from too many suds, sprinkle 
salt on the suds to reduce them.

Brightening colors - Wash colored curtains or washable fiber rugs in a 
saltwater solution to brighten the colors. Brighten faded rugs and carpets by 
rubbing them briskly with a cloth that has been dipped in a strong saltwater 
solution and wrung out.

Removing perspiration stains - Add four tablespoons of salt to one quart of 
hot water and sponge the fabric with the solution until stains disappear.

Brightening yellowed cottons or linens - Boil the yellowed items for one 
hour in a salt and baking soda solution

Removing blood stains - Soak the stained clothing or other cloth item in cold 
saltwater, then launder in warm, soapy water and boil after the wash. (Use only on 
cotton, linen or other natural fibers that can take high heat.)

Removing mildew or rust stains - Moisten stained spots with a mixture of 
lemon juice and salt, then spread the item in the sun for bleaching; and finally, 
rinse and dry.

Color-matching nylons - Good nylons that don't have a match can be made 
the same color by boiling them a few minutes in a pan of lightly salted water.

Fixing sticking iron - Sprinkle a little salt on a piece of paper and run the hot 
iron over it to remove rough, sticky spots.



Health & Beauty:

Gargling - Stir 1/2 teaspoon salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm water for use as a 
gargle for sore throats.

Cleaning teeth - Mix one part salt to two parts baking soda after pulverizing the 
salt in a blender or rolling it on a kitchen board with a tumbler before mixing. It 
whitens teeth, helps remove plaque and it is healthy for the gums.

Washing mouth - Mix equal parts of salt and baking soda as a mouth wash that 
sweetens the breath.

Bathing eyes - Mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a pint of water and use the solution to 
bathe tired eyes.

Reducing eye puffiness - Mix one teaspoon of salt in a pint of hot water and 
apply pads soaked in the solution on the puffy areas.

Relieving tired feet - Soak aching feet in warm water to which a handful of salt 
has been added. Rinse in cool water.

Relieving bee stings - If stung, immediately wet the spot and cover with salt to 
relieve the pain.

Treating mosquito and chigger bites - Soak in saltwater, then apply a mixture 
of lard and salt.

Treating poison ivy - Soaking the exposed part in hot saltwater helps hasten 
the end to poison ivy irritation.

Relieving fatigue - Soak relaxed for at least ten minutes in a tub of water into 
which several handfuls of salt has been placed.

Removing dry skin - After bathing and while still wet give yourself a massage 
with dry salt. It removes dead skin particles and aids the circulation.

Applying facial - For a stimulating facial, mix equal parts of salt and olive oil 
and gently massage the face and throat with long upward and inward strokes. 
Remove mixture after five minutes and wash face.

Removing tattoos
-CAUTION-
This is a medical procedure that can be done 
only by a physician. It is called salabrasion and requires several treatments by 
rubbing salt on the tattoo. Healing is required between treatments, but there is 
virtually no scarring.



Other Uses:

Extinguishing grease fires - Keep a box of salt handy at your stove and oven 
and if a grease fire flares up, cover the flames with salt. Do not use water on 
grease fires; it will splatter the burning grease. Also a handful of salt thrown on 
flames from meat dripping in barbecue grills will reduce the flames and deaden 
the smoke without cooling the coals as water does.

Drip-proofing candles - Soak new candles in a strong salt solution for a few 
hours, then dry them well. When burned they will not drip.

Removing soot - Occasionally throw a handful of salt on the flames in your 
fireplace; it will help loosen soot from the chimney and salt makes a bright yellow 
flame.

Cleaning fish tanks - Rub the inside of fish tanks with salt to remove hard water 
deposits, then rinse well before returning the fish to the tank. Use only plain, not 
iodized, salt.

Invigorating goldfish - Occasionally add one teaspoon of salt to a quart of 
fresh water at room temperature and put your goldfish in for about 15 minutes. 
Then return them to their tank. The salt swim makes them healthier.

Cleaning flower vases - To remove deposits caused by flowers and water, 
rub with salt; if you cannot reach the deposits to rub them, put a strong salt solution 
in the vase and shake, then wash the vase with soap and water.

Keeping cut flowers fresh - A dash of salt added to the water in a flower vase 
will keep cut flowers fresh longer.

Holding artificial flowers - Artificial flowers can be held in an artistic 
arrangement by pouring salt into the container, adding a little cold water and then 
arranging the flowers. The salt will solidify as it dries and hold the flowers in place.

Keeping patios weed-free - If weeds or unwanted grass come up between 
patio bricks or blocks, carefully spread salt between the bricks and blocks, then 
sprinkle with water or wait for rain to wet it down.

Killing poison ivy - Mix three pounds of salt with a gallon of soapy water and 
apply to leaves and stems with a sprayer.

Keeping windows frost-free - Rub the inside of windows with a sponge 
dipped in a saltwater solution and rub dry; the windows will not frost up in 
sub-freezing weather. Rubbing a small cloth bag containing salt that has been 
moistened on your car's windshield will keep snow and ice from collecting.

Deicing sidewalks and driveways - Lightly sprinkling rock salt on walks and 
driveways will keep snow and ice from bonding to the pavement and allow for 
easy removal. Don't overdo it; use the salt sensibly to avoid damage to grass 
and ornamentals.

Deodorizing shoes - Sprinkling a little salt in canvas shoes occasionally will 
take up the moisture and help remove odors.

 

 

Salt and Good Health:

Salt is essential not only to life, but to good health. Human blood contains 0.9% 
salt (sodium chloride) -- the same concentration as found in United States 
Pharmacopeia (USP) sodium chloride irrigant commonly used to cleanse 
wounds. Salt maintains the electrolyte balance inside and outside of cells. Most 
of our salt comes from foods, some from water. Doctors often recommend 
replacing water and salt lost in exercise and when working outside. Wilderness 
hikers know the importance of salt tablets to combat hyperthermia. Oral 
rehydration involves replacing both water and salt. Expectant mothers are 
advised to get enough salt. Increased salt intakes have been used successfully 
to combat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Dramatic deficiencies (e.g. "salt starvation" 
in India) or "excessive" sodium intakes have been associated with other 
conditions and diseases, such as hypertension and stomach cancer. Testing the 
salinity of perspiration is a good test for cystic fibrosis; scientists suspect that 
cystic fibrosis is caused by a deformed protein that prevents chloride outside 
cells from attracting needed moisture.

The National Academy of Sciences recommends that Americans consume a 
minimum of 500 mg/day of sodium to maintain good health. Individual needs, 
however, vary enormously based on their genetic make-up and the way they live 
their lives. While individual requirements range widely, most Americans have no 
trouble reaching their minimum requirements. Most consume "excess" sodium 
above and beyond that required for proper bodily function. The kidneys efficiently 
process this "excess" sodium in healthy people. Experimental studies show that 
most humans tolerate a wide range of sodium intakes, from about 250 mg/day to 
over 30,000 mg/day. The actual range is much narrower. Americans consume 
about 3,500 mg/day of sodium; men more, women less. The very large percentage
 of the population consumes 1,150- 5,750 mg/day which is termed the "hygienic 
safety range" of sodium intake by renowned Swedish hypertension expert 
Dr. Björn Folkow. Chloride is also essential to good health. Every substance, 
including water, can be toxic in certain concentrations and amounts; this is not a 
significant concern for dietary salt.



Salt and Cardiovascular Health
For 4,000 years, we have known that salt intakes can affect blood pressure 
through signals to the muscles of blood vessels trying to maintain blood pressure 
within a proper range. We know that a minority of the population can lower blood 
pressure by restricting dietary salt. And we know that elevated blood pressure, 
“hypertension,” is a well-documented marker or “risk factor” for cardiovascular 
events like heart attacks and strokes, a “silent killer.” Cardiovascular events are 
a major cause of “premature” death and cost Americans more than $300 billion 
every year in increased medical costs and lost productivity. Reducing blood 
pressure can reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke – depending on how it’s 
done.

Some have suggested that since salt intakes are related to blood pressure, and 
since cardiovascular risks are also related to blood pressure, that, surely, salt 
intake levels are related to cardiovascular risk. This is the “salt hypothesis” or 
“sodium hypothesis.” Data are needed to confirm or reject hypotheses.

Blood pressure is a sign. When it goes up (or down) it indicates an underlying 
health concern. Changes result from many variables, often still poorly-understood. 
High blood pressure is treated with pharmaceuticals and with lifestyle interventions 
such as diet and exercise. The anti-hypertensive drugs are all approved by 
regulatory authorities such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. To be 
approved, these drugs must prove they work to lower blood pressure. Whether 
they also work to lower the incidence of heart attacks and strokes has not been 
the test to gain approval (it would take too long to develop new drugs), but the 
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has invested heavily in such “health 
outcomes” studies.


 

Salt and Human Health:

of life, being one of the elements the human body cannot do without. It is present 
for 2/3 in the extra-cellular liquids and for 1/3 it is primarily fixed within the bones. 
Every imbalance in the extra-cellular hydration is connected to anomalies in the 
presence of sodium (that is, of salt). In the US, the consumption of sodium is on an 
average about 3 grams a day, corresponding to the ingestion of 7-8 grams of salt.

A certain amount of salt must be incorporated daily in our diet, not only because 
it is very rapidly eliminated by our organism and also because it enhances the 
taste of our food, but above all because the identification of salty taste triggers the 
production of the saliva and the gastric juices, essential for food digestion. In 
addition, the presence of sodium and chlorine is essential in the digestive 
processes, since they are both present in the gastric juices, in the saliva, in the 
pancreatic juice and in the bile. The sodium and the chlorine act then at different 
levels, along the digestive track, since sodium contributes to the absorption of 
glucides, while chlorine, in the form of hydrochloric acid, is essential for the 
digestion of solids.

The kidneys regulate the sodium balance. They are able to quickly adjust the 
sodium balance, when the quantity of salt varies between 1 and 16 grams a day. 
Under these conditions, there are no variations in the extra-cellular volume or in 
body weight. With quantities of salt higher than 16 grams a day, kidney adjustment 
requires 3-5 days, during which time an increase in the extra-cellular volume and 
in body weight is evident. After this period of time, the two values stabilize 
themselves to the new acquired levels.

Sodium chloride can also be used as treatment:

• In cases of glandular problems causing obesity, for instance, salt baths are very 
    useful, even in cases of hypo function or hyper function of the thyroid.

• The application of dry or wet salt compresses reduces the excess liquid 
    present in the tissues.

• For relief of swollen and sore feet, immerse them in a basin of warm water with a 
    handful of salt.

• To reduce bags under the eyes apply compresses soaked in a teaspoon of 
    salt dissolved in a 4 cups of warm water.

• Gargling with some salt and bicarbonate of soda dissolved in water disinfects 
    the mouth, leaving a fresh breath.

• The inhalation of salt-water steam through the nose can relieve bothersome 
    cases of phlegm or of inflammation of the respiratory mucosa.

• For an all natural peeling, try mixing a cream with honey and salt and massage 
    it gently over the interested parts of the face.



 

Balneotherapy - Healing with Water

This excerpt is reprinted from Healing Spriings, The Ultimate Guide to Taking the 
Waters, by Nathaniel Altman.

One of the most important activities that takes place at a traditional spa is 
balneotherapy, a natural approach to health and healing that uses hot spring 
water, gases, mud, and climatic factors (such as heat) as therapeutic elements.

Simple Solution: In addition to bathing, modalities such as hydrotherapy, mud 
therapy, physical therapy, massage, steam baths, physical exercises, inhalation 
of water vapor, and drinking mineral water are often used as part of a complex 
therapy for both health and preservation and treating disease.

Over the past four centuries, the science of balneology has evolved into a 
medical specialty in Europe and Japan, where special courses in balneotherapy 
are offered to both physicians and nurses by major medical schools. Doctors 
believe that thermal springs facilitate healing in a number of important ways.

Eight ways Balneotherapy Heals:
* Bathing in hot springs gradually increases the temperature of the body, thus 
   killing harmful germs and viruses.
* Thermal bathing increases hydrostatic pressure on the body, thus increasing 
   blood circulation and cell oxygenation. The increase in blood flow also helps 
   dissolve and eliminate toxins from the body.
* Hot springs bathing increases the flow of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body, 
   bringing improved nourishment to vital organs and tissues.
* Bathing in thermal water increases body metabolism, including stimulating the 
   secretions of the intestinal tract and the liver, aiding digestion.
* Repeated hot springs bathing (especially over 3- to 4- week period) can help 
   normalize the functions of the endocrine glands as well as the functioning of the 
   body's autonomic nervous system.
* Trace amounts of minerals such as carbon dioxide, sulfur, calcium, magnesium, 
   and lithium are absorbed by the body and provide healing effects to various 
   body organs and system. These healing effects can include stimulation of the 
   immune system, leading to enhanced immunity; physical and mental relaxation; 
   the production of endorphins; and normalized gland function.
* Mineral springs contain high amounts of negative ions, which can help promote 
   feelings of physical and psychological well-being.
* The direct application of mineralized thermal waters (especially those containing
   sulfur) can have a therapeutic effect on diseases of the skin, including psoriasis, 
   dermatitis, and fungal infections. Some mineral waters are also used to help the 
   healing of wounds and other skin injuries.

Indications for Balneotherapy:
Over the several hundred years during which the science of medical balneology 
has developed, physicians have been able to identify the health conditions that 
can best be treated by healing springs. The following list of indications for 
balneotherapy is based on the research of Yuko Agishi, M.D.

CHRONIC DISEASES
Chronic rheumatic diseases
Functional recovery of central and peripheral neuroparalysis
Metabolic diseases, especially diabetes, obesity, and gout
Chronic gastrointestinal diseases
Chronic mild respiratory diseases
Circulatory diseases, especially moderate or mild hypertension
Peripheral circulatory diseases (affecting the hands and feet)
Chronic skin diseases
Psychosomatic and stress-related diseases
Autonomic nervous system dysfunction
Vibration disorder (a middle ear disorder affecting balance)
Sequela of (conditions resulting from) trauma
Chronic gynecological diseases

CONTRAINDICATIONS
If you have any illnesses or diseases, or are pregnant, consult with your physician 
before using spa therapy.

CAUTIONS
Avoid soaking in a hot spring alone, caution and the elderly should use with 
caution, don't use a spa if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, 
especially heart medications, don't overheat, drink plenty of cool water, and use 
private pools if you have a skin disease.


This excerpt is from the Aromatherapy Companion

Balneotherapy
Balneotherapy is the art of water therapy, and one of aromatherapy's best friends. 
There is nothing quite so soothing and relaxing as a leisurely soak in a hot bath. 
As the warmth of the water cradles your physical body, providing relief from the 
constant pull of gravity, your psyche is refreshed and restored, the weight of the 
world momentarily lifted. Add a few drops of well-selected essential oils and you 
approach nirvana.

Water is nature's greatest and most effective solvent. It acts as a liquid 
suspension, carrying a variety of minerals and chemicals, depending on its 
source. When we immerse our bodies in a warm bath, our skin rapidly begins to 
absorb chemicals that are suspended in the water. These chemical components 
can make their way to our bloodstream in as little as 2 to 15 minutes. It will take a 
normally healthy person from half an hour to three hours to eliminate most of these 
chemicals through the expired breath and urine. In unhealthy or obese people, 
this process may take up to 10 hours. That is why adding essential oils to a bath 
is such an effective aromatherapy treatment.

The premise of balneotherapy is built on this solvency. Just as we absorb the 
essential oils we intentionally add to the water, we absorb a variety of other 
chemicals and minerals suspended in our water. No two waters are exactly the 
same. Spring waters, often thought of as pure, actually contain a variety of 
minerals. It is the presence of these minerals, from the depths of the earth, that 
makes certain spring waters highly valued for their curative properties.

The amazing virtues of water have been sung throughout the ages. Ancient myths 
featured countless sea nymphs, mermaids, and water goddesses. It's no wonder 
that most ancient gods and goddesses associated with water were believed to 
be sources of life, fertility, and fecundity. Water is our element. We most likely 
evolved from aquatic creatures -- and in any event, our first months of life were 
spent floating in an amniotic bath. In our dreams water symbolizes the ebb and 
flow of our emotions. We use water for cleansing, refreshing, and relaxing. Water 
is the basis for our body's evaporative cooling system. It flushes out toxic wastes, 
plumps up our cells, and lubricates our moving parts. Water is crucial to our 
survival. Without it we would literally dry up and blow away.

A Brief History of the Bath
Although the Romans may not have invented the bath, they raised bathing to a 
high art. Roman citizens lingered for hours in communal hot baths, where they 
lavish baths wherever they found natural hot springs. The remains of Roman 
baths are still evident throughout Europe, the Mideast, and North Africa.

The Roman reverence for bathing has survived in Turkey, where patrons still visit 
public baths to be soaped, steamed, and scrubbed clean by attendants. 
Meanwhile, a highly ritualized bathing culture has evolved in Japan as well. Whole 
towns exist as destination resorts around Japanese natural hot springs. The 
harried Japanese make annual visits to these springs, and in between find time 
for frequent visits to the "Sento" -- the local communal hot-tub house. Japanese 
homes are for the most part poorly heated, and the family bath becomes an 
important source of warmth in winter.

With the fall of the Roman Empire, bathing fell out of favor in Europe. For the next 
few centuries the practice was considered suspect and unhealthy, immersion a 
frightening and distasteful experience. Washing was an unpleasant and infrequent 
necessity, to be carried out quickly and furtively, with a basin of cold water.

Water Therapy
Water therapy as practiced today was introduced in Austria in the 19th century by 
the Reverend Father Sebastian Kneipp. Father Kneipp believed in the healing 
properties of water and prescribed treatments that included drinking mineral 
waters, soaking in hot springs, taking cold showers, and walking barefoot in the 
early-morning dew. Healing spas that subscribed to Father Kneipp's philosophy 
sprang up all over Europe, and "taking the waters" became a popular social 
pastime for the rich and privileged.

Today health spas abound throughout the United States, Europe, and the 
Mediterranean. Modern spas have evolved beyond mere mineral-water 
treatments to offer many other complementary therapies as well as physical 
fitness, relaxation training, and nutritional counseling. Aromatherapy has been 
universally adopted as a valuable synergistic component of most spa therapies.

You can create your own spa experience with just a few essential oils and a tub of 
hot water. An aromatherapy bath is the ultimate luxury. Experiment with 3 to 5 drops 
of several different, complementary oils, adjusting the total amount to suit your 
individual taste. You can add the oils directly to the bath or, for added luxury, 
disperse them in a cup of milk first. Essential oils combine well with all other bath 
additives. Add Epsom salts, sea salts, and algae to mineralize the water and 
increase buoyancy. Add oatmeal or honey to soothe and nourish the skin. Add 
bicarbonate of soda to "soften" the water. Add fresh or dried herbs and flower 
petals for their aesthetic and therapeutic qualities.

- from The Aromatherapy Companion by Victoria Edwards.

 

 

Salt and Human Nutrition:

Sometimes the two terms, "salt" and "sodium" are used interchangeably, but 
technically this is not correct. "Salt" is sodium chloride. By weight, it is 40% sodium 
and 60% chloride. Sodium is an essential nutrient, a mineral that the body cannot 
manufacture itself but which is required for life itself and good health. Because of 
sodium's importance to your body, several interacting mechanisms guard against 
under-consumption of salt and its threat to your body's nerves and muscles and 
interference with the sodium-potassium "pump" which adjusts intra- and 
extra-cellular pressures. If your salt intake varies widely, these mechanisms 
activate to assure that your body remains healthy, maintaining a relatively 
constant blood pressure. Chloride, too, is essential to good health. It preserves 
acid-base balance in the body, aids potassium absorption, supplies the essence 
of digestive stomach acid, and enhances the ability of the blood to carry carbon 
dioxide from respiring tissues to the lungs. Salt should be part of every family's 
food storage program. Salt has been a valuable weapon in our public health 
campaign against iodine deficiency disorders (IDD), iodizing salt has virtually 
eliminated IDD in North America and many other areas although the World Health 
Organization has targeted elimination of IDD globally as a top priority. Where 
public health authorities do not fluoridize water, adding fluoride to salt is common 
as in France, Switzerland and Latin America.

Years ago we thought that different societies have wide variations in salt intake. 
Current research shows that where salt is readily available, the vast majority of the 
world's population chooses to consume about 6-10 grams of salt a day. Including 
naturally occurring sodium in foods, people worldwide consume about 3,500 
milligrams (mg) of sodium, Americans included. Some remote primitive peo
dietary sodium do have almost unbelievably small levels of sodium intake–far 
below that judged by the National Academy of Sciences to be safe for Americans. But for the rest of the world, our average intakes are typical. The National 
Academy of Sciences recommends that Americans consume a minimum of 500 
mg/day of sodium. The European Union Population Reference Intake for males 
aged 18 years (an "acceptable range of intakes") is 575-3500 mg. Nutrition is 
important to good health. Salt is part of a healthy diet, a fact increasingly 
recognized by the public.

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