Here's a sensation I have never had before - and certainly not during a medical treatment: I feel like a fishmonger. My rhinitis - an inflammation of the lining of the nasal passage - also makes me snore.I am dressed in a crisp white overall, my hair is tucked away inside a hygienic hair net, and every time I breathe in, a distinct whiff of the ocean enters my lungs. And every morning I cough for a few minutes to dislodge the mucus that has collected at the back of my throat overnight. After so many years, I am used to all this and it doesn't bother me too much.Now i see my inflatables as more of a passion and less of adependency. On the otherhand, if the woman is doing this, she is demonstrating her nurturingnature.
She says that a course of sessions in a salt cave can 'cure sinus problems, ear infections, hay fever and respiratory allergies'.
The cave is particularly popular with parents of small children, and a corner of the room is filled with stuffed toys and a rocking horse for them to play with while they are being treated.
My GP prescribed antibiotics and a steroid nasal spray, but I didn't get any better. I thought: "What would I do if I was still in Hungary?
I'd go to a salt cave." 'In Hungary, the treatment is recognised by doctors and health professionals and is covered by health insurance.
I am sitting in this country's first fully functioning 'salt cave'. Though the symptoms 25 years later are much less severe, I'll often find myself sneezing in the evenings and sniffing in bed as I try to get to sleep.
It's not a life-threatening condition, but it is a life-irritating one. At its worst (when I was in my teens), I would sneeze 20 or 30 times non-stop, my nose would run all day and I'd be blocked up as if I had a bad cold.
But my wife, who has endured a mere eight years of the bedtime sniffing and snorting, is rather less enamoured of it.
So when things are particularly bad, I take an antihistamine tablet, which eases the symptoms.
It is an unusual place to spend an hour - which is how long a session lasts.
It is simply a white room covered in salt - there is more than a tonne of it on the walls and the floor.
There is a rectangular hole, behind which is a £20,000 machine from Lithuania that looks like a cross between a microwave oven and a coffee grinder. The problem with something like allergic rhinitis is that taking yourself out of your usual environment and just relaxing may well have such a large placebo effect that it'd be difficult to identify what the added effect of being in a salty environment is.' Asthma experts, too, are yet to be convinced.