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Salt Therapy: Helping Horses Breathe

salt therapy

Have you heard about salt therapy for horses? We have, but didn’t really know what it entailed. So we enlisted Sofia Benke, owner of Equine Salt Services, to explain what it is and how it can help horses.

Never heard of it? Well salt therapy, or “halotherapy,” was introduced to horses in the U.S. in 2015. 

A trailer was visiting barns in South Florida (Wellington area) and letting horses experience the magic of this ancient remedy called SALT. It has already helped humans with various respiratory and skin conditions, so helping horses was a logical next step. 

Horses possess a sophisticated respiratory system that plays a crucial role in their overall health and performance. Understanding the intricacies of a horse’s lungs is vital for ensuring their well-being and optimizing their athletic capabilities. The respiratory system in horses is designed to support their high-energy activities, such as running and sustained physical exertion. 

Horses have a relatively large lung volume compared to their body size, allowing for a significant air intake. This characteristic is crucial for meeting the oxygen demands of their muscles during strenuous activities. Additionally, the large lung capacity aids in maintaining respiratory efficiency even when faced with challenging environmental conditions or airborne irritants.

Salt therapy can help horses with respiratory and skin conditions.

Despite the resilience of horse lungs, they can be susceptible to various respiratory issues. Factors such as environmental pollutants, allergens and infectious agents can compromise respiratory health in horses, leading to conditions like inflammation, excess mucus production and difficulty breathing.

Equine salt therapy is a natural and non-invasive way to improve the horse’s respiratory and immune systems. The use of salt therapy involves exposing horses to microscopic dry salt particles in the air. Salt inhalation therapy offers several potential benefits for horses’ respiratory and overall well-being. 

Here are some ways in which salt therapy helps horses:

1. Mucolytic Properties

Salt has mucolytic properties, meaning it can help break down and thin mucus. The inhaled dry salt microparticles make it easier for horses to expel excess mucus, leading to clearer airways and improved breathing.

2. Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Salt possesses natural anti-inflammatory properties. Inhaling salt particles may help reduce inflammation in the airways, alleviating swelling and promoting better airflow. This can be particularly beneficial for horses experiencing respiratory discomfort due to inflammation.

3. Antibacterial

In many respiratory tract conditions, airways become narrowed and irritated filling with mucus where bacteria flourishes. Not only does salt help expel bacteria through mucus clearance, but with salt being a natural antibacterial agent, it helps to kill harmful bacteria in the respiratory tract.

4. Management of Skin Conditions 

Equine salt therapy proves effective in managing skin conditions, promoting healing in minor irritations, and contributing to a healthier coat. The salt particles soothe the skin, diminish inflammation, support the healing process, and normalize the skin’s pH level.

5. Stress Reduction

Stress can impact respiratory health in horses. Salt therapy provides a calming effect and helps to alleviate stress. Reduced stress levels contribute to overall relaxation, positively influencing respiratory well-being.

6. Optimizing Overall Respiratory Function:

Through these combined effects, salt therapy aims to optimize the overall respiratory function of horses. A clean respiratory system from equine salt therapy will allow for improved lung function, increased oxygen-carrying capacity and clearer airways. These crucial enhancements can elevate a horse’s stamina, boost energy levels and contribute to enhanced speed and performance.

Sofia Benke’s Equine Salt Services uses a portable unit so that the horse can be treated at home.

So, How Does it Work Exactly?

Entering a salt room in a barn, a mobile trailer or using a portable unit, a horse inhales the dry salt aerosol generated by a salt therapy device.

Thanks to new technology, this aerosol is now gently heated to ensure the free flow of the salt particles and micronized to the specific needs of the horse. Salt concentration and particle size can be adjusted in real-time. The length and regularity of the salt therapy sessions depend on the horse’s condition and the purpose of the therapy.


A new available method for salt therapy is a mask option, which I created with my Equine Salt Services. I have found that this option is more accessible, comfortable, and efficient for horses. Being in their familiar environment, whether in their stall or on cross-ties in the barn, not only eliminates the stress of transporting horses to specialized facilities but also reduces the duration of therapy. In addition, with the horse breathing in salty air directly through the mask, the treatment becomes more targeted and streamlined, maximizing its effectiveness while minimizing disruption to the horse’s routine.   

Today, equine salt therapy provides a natural and effective avenue for supporting horses’ health and vitality. With its positive impact on respiratory health, stress reduction, skin condition management, and performance enhancement, equine salt therapy offers a holistic approach to helping horses lead more balanced and thriving lives.

April 11, 2024

Sofia Benke 🇭🇺

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