Have you ever heard of salt caves and their positive effects? As far back as 3,000 BC, the ancient Egyptians used salt as a medicine. These days, salt caves are a popular place for people to go and recharge their energy, but mainly improve their health and give their immunity a boost. Do you suffer from hay fever, allergies or eczema? You don't have to travel to the sea. It's said that 45 minutes in a salt cave equals a three-day stay by the sea. It helps alleviate chronic respiratory diseases, skin diseases and also has a positive effect on a person's mental health. In an interview for LP-Life.com, experienced speleologist Boris Blaškovič talked about life underground, Thai boys, but also about commercial salt caves and their healing effects.
It hasn't been that long, just a few years back. I slowly got there by doing it as a hobby. At first, I'd visit three times a year, then five times a year, and things gradually got into motion.
Of course. The risk is always there. When discovering new spaces, you never know what you're going to bump into. Caution is a must.
To what depth can you descend in our country? In Abkhazia, there is a cave is that's more than two thousand meters deep and speleologists haven't yet been able to reach its bottom.
The deepest cave in Slovakia is 499 meters deep, it is the Hipman Cave System located in Jánská dolina in the Low Tatras. In the future, the depth will remain open for other enthusiasts, or for the next generation.
I believe it is - after all, we're using them for the same purpose in Slovakia. I also know about a cave in the Moravian Karst that served as a warehouse and for ageing Niva cheese. There is constant temperature and 98 percent humidity in caves, which supports the maturation of certain molds, such as those required for this purpose. A cave system is very individual and there are no negative effects in it.
Very exceptionally, that can be true, but it is really very rare. In general, the air in a cave is normally breathable, even beneficial to human health, and as such it is used for medicinal purposes. There are a few exceptions when gas levels are high, but, as I say, it's a rare occurrence.
In the past, people used torches in caves. Is it true that when you light one, it increases the oxygen consumption in the cave, as a result of which there is less of it?
A torch is a fire, and fire needs oxygen to keep burning. In the past, people were using them mainly to visit large caves, in which oxygen is more or less inexhaustible, because there are various drafts, and most importantly, the spaces those caves stretch over are huge.
Oxygen cylinders are only used by divers when they need to overcome a siphon or when they have to get underwater and into an unknown space. Otherwise, oxygen cylinders are not typically used in caves, because the air there is acceptable.
Several years ago, the whole world was following the story of the Thai boys who were surprised by sudden floods while in a cave and remained trapped there. Would they survive without oxygen?
Of course, it is impossible to survive without oxygen, but lack of oxygen is not the problem in these cases. Oxygen flows into the cave even when, for example, the access path is flooded. A rock is not uniform throughout. There are various corridors, cracks and small gaps there, and while it's impossible for a person to crawl through, air does flow through them. There are other factors that are important for survival in a cave, such as hypothermia or lack of food later on. The cave in Thailand was very warm and there were other factors that played an important role.
That is individual. Each cave has its own character, temperature and conditions. When you get stuck in an unexplored cave and in difficult conditions, your chances are slim. Hypothermia can occur, which is the most common thing. That was actually the case with the Polish cavers in the Tatras two or three years ago. They both died of hypothermia. If you're not prepared, the chances are sometimes very small.
There is a lot of talk about salt caves and their positive effects on health. It is said that 45 minutes in a salt cave equals a three-day stay by the sea. Why?
These caves are exceptional due to the salt located inside. Already in the 15th century, the ancient Romans found out that people who worked in salt mines were breathing better. Their breathing problems improved there. This is explicitly the effect of salt.
Someone brought it there. Salt caves are not a natural thing. Certainly not in our conditions. We cannot get into new spaces full of salt. Salt caves are an artificially created thing, which in my opinion is purely commercial, but also has healing effects. It is not a natural creation.
We do have salt caves in Slovakia, many of them in fact, but they are artificially created and used for medicinal purposes. In my opinion, salt caves are an artificial creation, but in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and their surroundings they are used for so-called speleotherapy. It is the inhalation of cave aerosol directly in cave spaces. In Slovakia, there are two caves created for these purposes, where mainly children, but also people with various respiratory problems go to spend some time. They lie down on loungers, get wrapped in a blanket and breathe air that is good for their health. Our forefathers knew it too. The air has 98 percent humidity. It is a cave aerosol without negative properties and does not cause irritation. In addition, it contains various minerals that thrive and purify when inhaled.