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Why choose treatment and relaxation underground?

For parents and teachers

Added on: 16.09.2020

Wieliczka Salt Mine

We talked about the treatment of respiratory diseases, boosting immune systems and physical activity close to nature with Krystyna Komnata MD, who specialises in lung diseases and who works at the “Wieliczka” Salt Mine Health Resort.

You are working in a rather unusual place for a doctor. Please tell me a few words about where we are right now. 

We are in the “Wieliczka” Salt Mine, the only underground health resort in Poland, at a depth of 135 metres below surface, among the original salt chambers. Here, we use the unique microclimate of excavated salt chambers to treat chronic respiratory diseases and allergies. The entire therapy is based on climate treatment and the use of modern methods of respiratory system rehabilitation.
 It is also a perfect place to relax close to nature – among the salt walls on a picturesque brine lake. This place offers you shelter from everyday hustle and bustle, peace and quiet – you can forget about life and breathe in really clean air.

 

Why choose treatment and relaxation underground? What makes this place unique? 

The secret of success of our Health Resort lies in the therapeutic microclimate found in the salt mine, which offers multiple benefits to the visitors’ health. Thanks to the high content of salt spray, lack of pollutants and allergens, it works wonders with your respiratory system. The physical properties of the climate in salt chambers, including increased atmospheric pressure, ensure better oxygen supply to individual tissues and organs.  High air humidity moisturises your airways. 

What is more, even spending just a few hours in a place where you can completely remove yourself from the harmful factors of the outside world helps you reduce stress and mental tension. Conversely, longer therapeutic stays in the underground Health Resort can alleviate respiratory disease symptoms and decrease the number of infections.  
Studies carried out to date prove that pulmonary rehabilitation programmes in such conditions bring better and longer-lasting outcomes – higher effort tolerance, less shortness of breath and improvement of quality of life dependent on health.

Who can take advantage of a stay in the underground health resort? Are there any contraindications?

The therapeutic stays in the “Wieliczka” Salt Mine Health Resort are intended mainly for patients suffering from chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma, COPD, as well as recurrent infections of the nose, throat, larynx or sinuses. 

Very often, we have no idea of how many areas of our life are affected by breathing – from work, through sports, eating, studying, even sleeping. That is why it is so important to take care of proper breathing under the care of a professional medical team and in favourable environmental conditions.

This is crucial even for healthy people, who want to relax in the lap of nature, boost their immunity and improve their health.

 People should not start treatment during an acute infection, oncological patients with active cases of cancer should also avoid the underground Health Resort. Each therapeutic stay begins with an initial medical examination, which enables us to evaluate the indications and contraindications. More comprehensive information about contraindications can be found on the Health Resort's website. 

 

What are the benefits of an underground stay for the health and well-being of the patients?

Respiratory rehabilitation is the recommended treatment method for patients suffering from asthma, COPD and other chronic respiratory diseases. It is an effective way to improve the quality of life, increase effort tolerance, reduce the severity of disease symptoms and anxiety related to shortness of breath. 

However, the most crucial element of the respiratory rehabilitation programme in our Health Resort is the unique microclimate of the “Wieliczka” Salt Mine, which results in:

  • Reduced nasal congestion and stuffiness;
  • Cleaning and moisturising the airways;
  • Reducing the severity of symptoms of allergies;
  • Increasing the effectiveness of physical training in patients with chronic respiratory diseases;
  • Improvement of bronchial asthma management;
  • Reduced shortness of breath;
  • Reduced need for medicines taken when needed during shortness of breath attacks;
  • Improved quality of life depending on the health and general condition of the patient.

Another thing that cannot be underestimated is the beneficial effect on the mood and well-being: stays in the underground health resort, away from the hustle and bustle of the everyday life, allow our patients to relax, get away from everyday matters and have a full physical and mental rest. 

Please tell us a little more about the underground treatment and relaxation programme.

The stay begins with an initial medical examination. Then, the patient takes part in a series of daily therapeutic descents to the Mine, each lasting 3 or 6 hours. The rehabilitation process is based on physical training, including endurance and breathing exercises, as well as general and specialised exercises.  During the stay in the Health Resort, the patients also take part in health education classes, covering a broad range of topics in the field of prevention and health promotion, with particular emphasis on training coping skills, which come useful during flare-ups of their underlying disease.  The therapeutic programme is carried out by our therapeutic team comprising a doctor, a nurse and physiotherapists, who specialise in respiratory system rehabilitation. However, the most crucial element of the respiratory rehabilitation programme in our Health Resort is the unique microclimate of the “Wieliczka” Salt Mine. 

 

What other attractions await those, who decide to visit Wieliczka?

While planning your treatment stays, it is worthwhile to set some time aside to visit the historic mine. The vicinity of Krakow also allows you to do some touring and participate in cultural events. The therapeutic stays in the mine can be complemented by inhalations in the picturesque Graduation Tower located in St Kinga’s Park. 

Those interested in in-depth diagnosis of their respiratory systems, consultations with specialist doctors, as well as rehabilitation of the locomotor system can take advantage of the health services offered by the Health Resort on the surface.

 

How to take advantage of underground relaxation and rehabilitation?

In order to take advantage of the underground therapeutic stays or book a Healthy Sleep in the Mine, you can simply contact the Health Resort staff via phone, e-mail or our website.

 

The last question I have concerns the safety measures introduced in the Health Resort in connection with the pandemic. Can you rest assured in your underground complex?

The safety of our patients and staff is our top priority. We comply with the guidelines of the Chief Sanitary Inspector, as well as with the State Mining Authority. Additionally, we have introduced additional solutions to increase safety in the Resort. 

We take daily body temperature measurements and conduct daily epidemiological interviews with all patients. We have limited the number of patients staying in the same salt chambers by focusing on their individual treatment. While riding the elevator below ground, the patients have their noses and mouths covered with protective masks, and they also disinfect their hands before entering the elevator – which is also disinfected on a regular basis. All disinfection activities are carried out in accordance with the guidelines, and the patient safety in the Mine is supervised by the Sanitary Safety Officer. 

We implemented all these procedures to minimise risk and increase safety during treatment.

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