Inquiry into salt cave therapy opens


A medical council inquiry into allegations that a Kildare-based doctor made false and misleading claims in relation to “Salt Cave Climate Therapy” which he used to treat bronchial illnesses, has opened in Dublin.

The fitness to practise inquiry was told Dr Tamas Bakonyi who qualified in Hungary in 1997 and came to Ireland in 2005, had made claims in relation to the therapy being effective in the treatment of chest infections, asthma and cystic fibrosis among patients from six to eighty years-of-age.

The “climatherapy clinic” set up in a unit in the Glenroyal Shopping Centre in Maynooth aimed to recreate the atmosphere of underground salt caves. It was claimed the caves were known in Eastern Europe for their therapeutic powers – particularly for respiratory conditions.

J P McDowell, solicitor for the medical council, said evidence would be given that Dr Bakonyi’s claims were not supported by an analysis undertaken by an eminent physician specialising in respiratory disorders.

Mr Mc Dowell said these claims had been made by the doctor in a number of newspaper articles including the Liffey Champion and The Irish Times as well as a website, a radio interview and advertisements in the print media.

The inquiry was told Dr Bakonyi operated his salt cave in addition to working as a general practitioner in Leixlip.

Among the allegations against Dr Bakonyi are that he made false and misleading claims about the efficacy of the treatments; that he raised unrealistic expectations of the process and that there was a risk his patients would discontinue mainstream medical treatments for their illnesses.

The hearing is continuing.