Underground sanatorium in Poland offers rehab for post-Covid-19 patients

Łukasz Gągulski/PAP

A historic salt mine that also doubles up as one of Poland’s leading tourist attractions is offering patients who have suffered from Covid-19 an opportunity to rehabilitate 135 metres underground.

The Wieliczka Salt Mine Health Resort provides pulmonological, laryngological and allergological care to people struggling to rid themselves of the lingering effects of the virus.

One of its chambers houses a specialist sanatorium where a unique microclimate is created thanks to the circulation in the air of mineral particles derived from salt, a constant temperature of around 13–14.5°C, and high air humidity.

The healing air has a positive effect on both the mood and the condition of the entire body, say doctors.

"The mine’s air is free of pollutants and allergens,” Dr. Anna Pelkowska, an allergist and deputy director for medical affairs at the health resort, told PAP. “No air purifier can provide the quality of air that we have underground."

Therapy sessions are held on a daily basis, Monday to Friday, and patients stay in the underground sanatorium where they are under the constant supervision of a doctor, physiotherapist and a nurse. Treatments are selected individually depending on the health condition of the patient.

So far, a dozen or so patients who have had Covid-19 but still have breathing problems have benefitted from the rehabilitation stays, said Katarzyna Rys, director of the Wieliczka Salt Mine Health Resort.

The underground treatments fall under the framework of the National Health Fund (NFZ) or can be bought for a fee.