Dear Doctor. roaches, I wonder if the claims made by saltwater hot tub manufacturers about the health benefits are factual.

My blood pressure was high and my doctor recommended that I watch my salt intake. After reading the labels on foods, the sodium was very significant in most items. Since then I can drop it but it’s still a bit high.

I use a salt water hot tub and am wondering if salt is absorbed through the skin and how much this would increase blood pressure.


Dear DB: Oftentimes, what appear to be health claims – whether they’re about dietary supplements, vitamins, or devices – are followed by the words, “These claims have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.” (Sometimes the writing is very small, but if you look for it you will find it.) When you see this statement, rest assured that it is there is no strong evidence that there is any value in what they are trying to sell you. However, there may still be health benefits that have not yet been proven.

In the case of hot tubs and saunas, some of the suggested subjective benefits include stress relief, muscle relaxation, and pain relief. Most people who enjoy hot tubs are likely to reap these benefits. There is weak evidence that regular hot tub use may improve diabetes control and preliminary evidence that it may benefit cardiovascular health. While large studies have shown that people who use saunas or hot tubs have longer lifespans, it is by no means clear that the heat treatments produce the observed benefits.

I can tell you that salt doesn’t get absorbed through the skin in any appreciable amount, so don’t worry about that. You will benefit much more if you eliminate some of the high-sodium foods from your diet.

DEAR DOCTOR. Roach: I suffer from dizziness. I went to an otolaryngologist and was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease. However, I occasionally have neck pain and a hump in my neck. A friend suggested I see a chiropractor for adjustments. Could what the chiropractor is treating possibly be the cause of my vertigo problems?

— MC

Dear MC: Meniere’s disease is a cause of vertigo (a feeling like spinning when a person isn’t moving), along with hearing loss and tinnitus (a perceived sound like a ringing when there really is no sound). Meniere’s disease is caused by a buildup of fluid in the inner ear.

Spinal manipulation such as B. chiropractic manipulation, provides immediate pain relief that was superior to drugs but not as effective as home exercise. I could find no convincing evidence that any type of spinal manipulation would be effective in Meniere’s disease, and no reason to believe that it would.

I’m not sure what you mean by a hump on the back of the neck. We all have a protrusion in the seventh neck bone, but it’s possible that you have kyphosis, which should be checked out by your GP.

Standard treatment for Meniere’s disease includes a low-sodium diet, caution with caffeine and alcohol, and vestibular rehabilitation (a series of exercises supervised by a specially trained physical or occupational therapist). These have been shown to reduce symptoms of imbalance. Some people benefit from medications to reduce fluid buildup in the inner ear, such as B. Diuretics.

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