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One of the strangest medical treatments happens hundreds of feet below Eastern Europe

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Sam Gibson
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Miners dug hundreds, even thousands, of feet into the ground here, extracting one of humanity's most treasured minerals: salt.

They've since left the mine, having extracted its treasures, but they left behind an incredible patchwork of passages as tall as cathedrals.

Proponents claim the salt keeps the air inside the mines free of allergens, and low in bacteria.

Nearly 1,400 feet underground, the potassium and stone salt mine near the town of Soligorsk, south of Minsk, in Belarus is a popular destination for medical treatments.

The Republican Clinic of Speleotherapy says more than 7,000 children and adults go to the mine each year to relieve their respiratory illnesses.

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved medications called mucolytics that can thin the mucus in the lungs in a similar way.

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