The Chaviv family of Mevo Choron struggled for years as they searched for a cure for their children's debilitating asthma. The children were hospitalized innumerable times, and were forced to ingest large amounts of potent drugs.

After repeated failed efforts, the Chavivs finally found a breakthrough - in the form of "salt room" treatments. It was so effective that the Chaviv family decided to build a salt room in their home - currently the seventh in Israel.

Moriah Chaviv says her son's health problems became apparent around his first birthday. As time went by, his breathing problems worsened, and during attacks, he became blue and stopped responding. When inhalators and steroids failed to help, he had to be hospitalized, where he was given oxygen and more intensive therapies. When this became an endless cycle, the family began their search for solutions in alternative medicine.

Despite examining numerous avenues, nothing seemed to help. The child was hospitalized more and more frequently, and was forced to take larger and larger doses of steroids. Adding to the challenges of the illness were the psychological side effect of steroids such as personality changes, aggression and depression. The child also suffered numerous bouts of pneumonia, his breathing was continually labored, and his face had a gray pallor.

When their second child, a daughter, was born, Mrs. Chaviv prayed she would be healthy. Unfortunately, only five weeks later, the baby had to be hospitalized for breathing difficulties. At this point, it became clear that their children's illnesses had a genetic component.

Thus started a four-year odyssey of a painful struggle with an unrelenting, life-threatening illness. During this time, the parents researched every avenue in the realms of both conventional and alternative medicine. They met disappointment after disappointment. The only treatments that proved somewhat effective were homeopathy (Dr. Ilan Zamir, Dr. Chaim Rosenthal, and Dr. Yitzchak Samon) and accupuncture (Devora Valshin).

Finally, Dr. Ilan Zamir recommended that the family try salt room therapy. About half a year ago, the Chaviv children began this treatment in Petach Tikva.

Salt room therapy originated in Eastern Europe. The patient sits in a room built of salt blocks which were mined 300 meters below the ground in caves in the Ukraine. This treatment originated when miners reported significant relief and even cure of bronchial diseases while in the mines. The air in the salt room is permeated with negative ions, which clear the phlegm and purify the lungs. The salt also facilitates the secretion of sputum.

During the course of treatment, the patient sits in the salt room for an hour, twice a week, for seven weeks. After that, the room is used according to need for preventive treatment.

According to Mrs. Chaviv, the salt room provided an immediate improvement in her children's condition. "Our third son was rushed to the salt room in the height of a difficult asthma attack," she said. "Following the first treatment, the need for inhalations stopped."

The family has since built a salt room in their own home, despite the high cost. Today, eight months later, all the children are significantly healthier, rarely needing inhalators or steroids. Only six other salt rooms can be found in Israel - in Jerusalem, Haifa, Netanya, Kfar Saba, Petach Tikva, and N'vei Mivtach.

For more information on this treatments, see (in Hebrew)

Hebrew by Oranit Etzer, Translated by Chaya Chava Shulman