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Allergy & Asthma Sufferers New Treatment Option Comes With A Warning

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FORT WORTH (CBS11) - Like most moms, mother of three, Megan Skeels knows the anguish of having a kid who's sick, but can't be healed by love alone.

"We started having to do breathing treatments with Albuterol probably when my oldest was like three," says Skeels.

And while she's not opposed to traditional medicine, she disliked the idea of a lifetime dependency. So Skeels began exploring cures that didn't come with a prescription attached.

"I think moms of my generation are looking for more natural ways to cure things that in the past were, just, straight for the antibiotics," says Skeels.

A friend encouraged her to try 'salt room therapy' at AriaSalt in Fort Worth.

The treatment rooms are made primarily of salt, which covers the walls and even floor.

"I've got a machine called a 'halo generator' that takes the pharmaceutical grade salt and chops it very fine and pumps it into the room," says owner, Jordan Jones. "Salt is naturally anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory. Whenever you're breathing in that salty air…it's getting into your bronchial tubes, your lungs, airways, sinus passages, basically thinning out mucous and crud to get it out of your system: get it moving."

Jordan says he is part entrepreneur with the business he opened three years ago on Camp Bowie in Fort Worth, but also part medical detective.

He'd been looking for alternative treatments for a nephew who struggled with severe asthma since birth. He says he stumbled upon the salt room therapy and soon learned that the all-natural treatments have been popular in Europe for years.

The idea is to replicate the salty beach air that many patients with respiratory issues insist makes breathing easier. The number of local companies offering the therapy has grown in recent years; but, with that wider acceptance now comes a warning.

"Especially kids with asthma," says Justin Smith, M.D., a pediatrician with Cook Children's in Fort Worth. "The small particles in the air could be a trigger for an asthma attack and problems with their wheezing. I think it's always important that if things are not getting better, or if they're getting worse, it's time to give us a call… and let us know what's going on."

Both Skeels and Jones insist that the therapy is not intended to replace traditional medicines. Still, it's good, they say, to be able to try a natural approach first. And Skeels says she also trusts her own family's experience that says the salt room therapy works.

"It's coming in and it's doing this curing effect on the lungs… and it's drying it up. So we always leave better than when we came in."

In fact, she's been coming every week since October to get a jump start on allergy season and winter colds.

"It's one more way of trying to speed up the healing process and allow them to sleep at night and that makes all of our lives a little bit easier."

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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