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The Benefits Of Sea Air, Without Hitting The Beach

PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) - Have you ever vacationed on a beach near the ocean, and breathed in the salty air?  Some say that air from the ocean can actually help you breathe easier.

Jake Moran never takes breathing easy for granted.  He's battled Cystic Fibrosis - a genetic and potentially deadly respiratory condition - since he was a kid.  He spends hours every day on a number of treatments to help keep his lungs clear.

"It takes hours of therapy daily," Moran said.  "Brocho-dialators, to expectorants, to anti-inflammatory, to antibiotics, and of course saline."

His wife Emily says she's constantly looking for something to add to what his team of doctors has already prescribed.  That's how she discovered Plano-based Salt Escape, and it's very unusual rooms.

"This is the only salt therapy center in Texas," said Jim Rizzuto who owns Salt Escape.  "What we're reproducing is the microclimate of the salt caves."

For 45-minutes each session, Moran sits inside this sealed room while pharmaceutical grade salt particles are pumped into the air around him.  When breathed into his airways, the salt acts as an expectorant helping Moran cough to clear out any excess mucus.

"The salt acts as a natural anti-inflammatory, so as you're breathing it into your membranes, it's going to open you up," Rizzuto said.

But, Cystic Fibrosis patients aren't the only ones who might benefit from sessions here.  People with severe allergies, or chronic bronchitis may also get relief.  In fact, Rizzuto says the treatment isn't just for adults either.  He says kids can benefit from it, too, which is why he created a kid's room.  But, does this simple therapy really work?

"There's not a lot of science about the use of salt," said Dr. Gary Weinsten, a pulmonologist at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.  Dr. Weinstein says there's no scientific data that proves salt rooms help patients with pulmonary conditions.  However, he was not aware of any data that proved it was a harmful process either.

" If it helps them feel better, and they can afford it, and it's not too expensive, then I think it'd be a reasonable thing to try," said Dr. Weinstein.

Moran has only had a few treatments, but plans to have more.  He hopes this - coupled with his arsenal of other therapies will help him stay healthy, longer.

"I don't anticipate it being some kind of miracle cure, but it certainly could help," Moran said.

Sessions cost approximately $45 each, and are not covered by insurance.

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