NY Times Explores Unique Salt Mine Spa In Belarus

Belarus is quite popular as a medical tourism destination, especially with patients from neighboring countries. Yet, unlike the densely packed sanatoriums and health resorts, there are less visited treatment facilities which are quite unique even on the global scale. 

Andrew Higgins from the New York Times explores an underground speleopathy clinic in Soligorsk.

The first and most obvious question the journalist asks is why would someone go over 400 meters underground to no sun and windows when they can travel to a beach instead?

The visitors say the caves and tunnels of one of the world’s biggest deposits of salt and potassium give them complete peace, and effectively relieve asthma, allergies, and other respiratory problems.


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The National Speleotherapy Clinic opened in 1991. It receives around 4000 visitors per year, roughly half of which are Russians.

Few locals and even fewer foreigners know about the salt mine spa, the article states – though an American is said to have stayed once and left satisfied.


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The facility has no internet or TV – obviously! – but offers a variety of active pastime like volleyball, ping pong, jogging and walking.


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Scientists aren’t totally sure of the effectiveness of the salt mine therapy, the article remarks. The people who tried it are of the contrary opinion – many of them return to the clinic in Soligorsk every year.

Dr. Pavel Levchenko, the clinic’s director, is aware of the skepticism as he was not initially a believer himself.

“I meet lots of people who think this is all fake,” he told the New York  Times. But his opinion changed when “I have seen how well it works”.

Time in the salt mine, he added, does not cure visitors of their ailments but “puts them into remission.”

Read the full article here. Photo: speleo.by. Title photo: Anna Veras.