By R. Ravichandran
KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 (Bernama) -- The Azerbaijan Medical University, together with Nakhchivan's Duzdag Physiotherapy Centre, is interested to cooperate with Malaysian universities in the field of speleotherapy to explore and demonstrate the benefits of speleotherapy to Malaysians, said Prof Dr Lala Allahverdiyeva, Head of Department of Allergy and Immunology at Azerbaijan Medical University (AMU).
Prof Dr Lala said that currently, there is no collaboration between AMU and any universities in Malaysia in the field of speleotherapy.
Speleotherapy, coming from the Greek word speleo (cave), is a salt-based therapy inside a cave, and the method of speleotherapy involves the breathing of mineral-infused air in the microclimate of a salt mine.
"We hope that in the future, we can promote the development of this sphere in your country. Of course, we can share our knowledge and experiences. We can offer them to have a look in our research in this sphere and the information dedicated to Nakhchivan's Duzdag Physiotherapy Centre,” she said.
Prof Dr Lala, who is the wife of Azerbaijan Ambassador to Malaysia Prof Dr Qaley Allahverdiyev, said this to Bernama International News Service in an interview recently.
According to Prof Dr Lala, speleotherapy is a modern, highly effective and non-medicament therapy in the treatment, prevention and rehabilitation of a number of diseases.
Through this method, allergic and non-allergic diseases such as bronchial asthma, allergic rhinitis, pollinosis, atopic dermatitis, eczema, stress and nervous tension have been healed, she said.
Prof Dr Lala said that special speleotherapy clinics and centres in various countries treat symptoms like asthma, allergies of various kinds, inflammation of the respiratory tract and many more, and that the Duzdag Physiotherapy Centre is one such facility.
The centre is housed inside the ancient Duzdag cave, once used long ago in the treatment of asthma.
The cave's name comes from an amalgamation of ‘Duz’ (salt) and ‘dag’ (rock) in Azerbaijani language.
With its ancient history and natural beauty, Duzdag cave is one of the symbols of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, which is an integral part of Azerbaijan and a centre for health tourism.
Its capital, Nakhchivan City, is located near the border with Iran and is about 536 km from Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.
The centre, located 9.8 km from Nakhchivan City, opened in 1979 and has modern facilities that meet the healthcare and wellness requirements of the day. It has 374 beds and 10 galleries for patients.
“You can use these caves for the treatment of allergic and non-allergic bronchopulmonary diseases,” said Prof Dr Lala, who explained that the cave has certain microclimate parameters inside the cave such as ion content, temperature, and atmospheric pressure.
Prof Dr Lala, an allergist, has published numerous scientific articles on the effectiveness of speleotherapy. She has delivered speeches and presented papers at numerous international forums, congresses and symposiums in order to promote speleotherapy and the Duzdag cave.
Among others, she took first place with a report titled "Non-medications treatment of bronchial asthma in Duzdag cave in Nakhchivan" at the VIII World Asthma, Allergy and COPD Forum and the XXI World Congress on Rehabilitation in Medicine and Immunorehabilitation, Singapore in 2015.
Prof Dr Lala said under her leadership over the years, research work has been conducted at the Nakhchivan's Duzdag Physiotherapy Centre and Duzdag cave to study the effectiveness of speleotherapy for the treatment of allergic diseases.
"Our team of specialists developed a new treatment scheme for speleotherapy based on the type of disease and the age of the patients. The main reason for successful treatment is the unique chemical composition of the microclimate in Nakhchivan's Duzdag cave. That’s why this centre differs from other caves in the world.”
However, she cautioned that speleotherapy is not a substitute for medication treatment.
“We will take patients from Malaysia with great pleasure and assist all (those) who want to visit this unique physiotherapy centre in the world,” said Prof Dr Lala.