For effective salt therapy, choosing the right nebulizer is crucial. Nebulizers (from Latin nebula “fog”) generate an aerosol spray consisting of microparticles of solution that are inhaled.
Today two basic types of nebulizers are widely used: ultrasonic nebulizers and compressor nebulizers.
During salt therapy, a nebulizer allows tiny particles of salt in pure form, without any impurities, to enter into the entire respiratory tract (nose, bronchi, lungs). The aerosol dispersion produced by most nebulizers ranges from 0.5 to 10 microns. Particles 8–10 microns in diameter settle in the mouth and trachea; particles 5–8 microns in diameter settle in the trachea and upper airways; 3–5 microns – in the lower respiratory tract; 1–3 microns – in the bronchioles; and 0.5–2 microns – in the alveoli. Particles smaller than 5 microns are known as the respirable fraction and have the greatest healing effect.
Ultrasonic nebulizers spray solution by means of a high-frequency (ultrasonic) vibrating membrane. They are compact and run quietly. Over 90% of the aerosol spray is deposited in the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract, and the average size of the aerosol particles is 4–5 microns. Thanks to this, salt particles together with their trace elements in a high-concentration aerosol form reach the small bronchi and bronchioles.
Ultrasonic nebulizers are preferred in cases when the preparation is meant to act on the small bronchi, and the medication takes the form of salt solution.
Compressor nebulizers create an aerosol spray by blowing a powerful stream of air through a narrow opening into a chamber holding the medicinal solution. Although relatively inexpensive, compressor nebulizers are bulky and very noisy.