Poles go underground for COVID treatment

Deep underground in Poland's UNESCO world heritage Wieliczka salt mine, aerobics music and the likes of YMCA is pulsing as a class swings kettlebells and squats.

This is not your usual scene in the popular tourist site known for its ornate underground chapels carved from salt, but during the pandemic it's been turned into a therapeutic centre,

helping people recover from COVID-19.

For pensioner Krystyna Gorniak from Krakow, she says the exercises her as she is still suffering from post-covid 19 symptoms:

"The typical (breathing) exercises like blowing the feather, using a straw to suck the cotton ball help us breathe in a different way, but also stretching the chest or exercises that help increase the lungs capacity."

Doctors say the micro-climate in the mine, which stretches as far as 327 meters underground, also helps people with pulmonary problems.

Magdalena Kostrzon, a doctor working at the mine explains that the air reaches the underground rooms through a series of salt corridors and thanks to this, it is cleaned of pollutants that are on the surface.

"Additionally, air ionization and favourable thermal and humid conditions foster the recovery of the respiratory system."

A mine with a healing tradition that reaches back to the 19th century and now used again in the present.

Video Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING]

- Deep underground in Poland's UNESCO World Heritage Wieliczka salt mine, aerobic music and the likes of YMCA is pulsing as a class swings kettlebells and squats. This is not your usual scene in the popular tourist site known for its ornate underground chapels carved from salt. But during the pandemic, it's been turned into a therapeutic center helping people recover from COVID-19. For pensioner Krystyna Gorniak from Krakow, she says the exercises are helping her as she is still suffering from post COVID-19 symptoms.

KRYSTYNA GORNIAK: [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

INTERPRETER: The typical breathing exercises like blowing the feather, using a straw to suck the cotton ball, help us breathe in a different way. But also stretching the chest or exercises that help increase the lung's capacity.

- Doctors say the microclimate in the mine, which stretches as far as 327 meters underground, also helps people with pulmonary problems. Magdalena Kostrzon, a doctor working at the mine, explains that the air reaches the underground rooms through a series of corridors and, thanks to this, it's cleaned of pollutants that are on the surface.

MAGDALENA KOSTRZON: [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

INTERPRETER: Additionally, air ionization and favorable thermal and humid conditions foster the recovery of the respiratory system.

- A salt mine with a healing tradition that reaches back to the 19th century and now used again in the present.