From Big Medical Encyclopedia

SPELEOTERAPIYA (Greek spelaion a cave + therapeia treatment) — use of influence of specific microclimatic conditions of caves, excavations and salt mines in the medical purposes.

Medicinal properties of climate of caves were found accidentally when at the end of World War II karst caves in mountains were used as air-raid shelters. It was noticed that at patients with bronchial asthma after stay in a cave weight of attacks of suffocation decreased or the frequency of their emergence decreased. Data on medicinal properties of climate of karst caves at a number of diseases were then are confirmed in many countries, including and in the USSR. Several karst caves suitable for S., in our country are available in the Georgian SSR (in Tsqaltubo and other places). Later for S. began to use excavations and salt mines. Usually such mine is located at a depth of 200 — 400 m from the Earth's surface and lies in the thickness of layer of stone sodium chloride (see). The mine is equipped with the vent system for regeneration of air and airing of chambers (see. Ventilation ), a water supply system, the sewerage, phone, the elevator for descent and raising of patients. Such mines in the USSR are available in Solotvino (The Transcarpathian Region of USSR), in Solikamsk and in Berezniki (RSFSR).

Believe that medicinal properties of mountain caves, developments and salt mines are caused by stable microclimate (see), existence in air of high-disperse aerosols (see) sodium chlorides, magnesium, calcium, etc., and also ions of Na+, Sa2+, Mg2+, a sales tax - and sometimes radioactive materials, absence in air of pathogenic microorganisms, allergens, a favorable combination of humidity and temperature. Inhalation of the air containing light aeroions (see. Aeroionization ) in considerable concentration, has salutary effect on respiratory, nervous and cardiovascular systems. Besides, air of caves differs in the raised oxygen content and carbon dioxide gas that especially favorably affects a condition of patients with dysfunction of breath. At patients bronchial asthma (see) are normalized or considerably indicators of function of external respiration improve (vital capacity of lungs, volume of the forced exit for 1 sec., etc.). Under the influence of the first procedures at patients with bronchial asthma or hron. bronchitis (see) attacks of suffocation can become frequent, increase the number of dry rattles in lungs, decrease passability of bronchial tubes. However in 1,5 — 2 weeks these phenomena disappear and there occurs noticeable improvement of a state. Function of bark of adrenal glands is normalized, immunological indicators and indicators improve water salt metabolism (see). At patients idiopathic hypertensia (see) I — IIA of a stage observe gradual decrease in the ABP.

Treatment is carried out usually in the first half of day. The patient daily 2 — 3 hours (in salt mines — to 12 hours) is in a cave or the mine within 20 — 25 days.

Indications to S. in salt mines: preasthma, infectious and allergic and atopic bronchial asthma of the I stage with an easy and medium-weight current, with respiratory insufficiency of the I—II stage, and also bronchial asthma with accompanying hron. bronchitis and hron. pneumonia (see) in a condition of remission, hron. bronchitis with an asthmatic component in a stage of remission.

Indications to S. in mountain caves and developments: idiopathic hypertensia not higher than II And stages.

Contraindications for S. in salt mines are: the bronchial asthma of the I stage with a heavy current and the II stages complicated pneumosclerosis (see) and bronchoectatic disease (see).

Bibliography: Apostolyuk V. V. and Gorbenko P. P. Influence of a microclimate of caves of Podoliya on a human body at speleological researches, Caves, century 14 — 15, page 198, 1974; Nedo-p r I d to about D. M. and T about r about x t and M. D N. Cellular and humoral factors of an autoserotherapy and an immune responsiveness at patients with bronchial asthma, under the influence of treatment by a microclimate of salt mines, Vopr. kurortol. and fizioter., No. 1, page 19, 1975; Pavliashviliya. Pages and D zhuget M. S. Influence of a microclimate of a karst cave on patients with an idiopathic hypertensia of the I—II stage, in the same place, No. 1, page 14, 1982; T about r about x - t and M. D. Speleoterapiya's N of patients with bronchial asthma, in the same place, No. 5, page 1, 1980; At sh in e r and d z e G. A., etc. Speleoterapiya in the conditions of a karst cave, in the same place, No. 6, page 13, 1978.

V. M. Bogolyubov.