Ever dream of lying on a sunny beach and breathing in the smell of salt air when a cold or sinus infection has you stuck inside feeling miserable? Well, you aren’t alone. Since ancient times, healers have recommended salt inhalation for treatment of the respiratory system and other health problems. While people once used natural salt caves to reap the benefits of a high salt-content environment, today there are salt rooms (called caves) throughout the U.S. and around the world, designed for the express purpose of delivering salt therapy, also called halotherapy (from the Greek, Halo).
The ways salt therapy may benefit you physically and emotionally are wide-ranging.
“Breathing in salty air “decreases the thickness of the mucous, allowing the body’s innate clearing mechanisms to sweep away the secretions, improving drainage and diminishing bronchial sensitivity.” ~ Dr. Joseph Marino, medical director of Long Island Jewish Valley Stream Hospital in New York (U.S. News & World Report, 09-13-2017)
A study published in the May 2017 Pediatric Pulmonology found that children with mild asthma who went for two halotherapy sessions per week for seven weeks gained greater improvements in their bronchial hyper-reactivity.
Jill Clark, of Soul Synergy Center in Flowood explains some of the benefits her clients have relayed to her after a salt cave session.
“Our clients come out of our salt cave describing the experience as heavenly, relaxing, and amazing!” notes Clark. “Some people fall asleep and others tell us that they use these sessions as their personal time to unwind and reflect. Some of the most raved about sessions are the salt cave sessions which include foot reflexology and when a customer enloys a salt cave session following a massage. People tell us they are sleeping better and breathing easier, which makes all of us at Soul Synergy Center very happy!
Designed to simulate the environment of Himalayan salt caves, commercially built salt caves or spas feature literally tons of crystal salt rock, a dim glow provided by rock lamps, reclining chairs and soothing instrumental background music to enhance relaxation. Meanwhile, during a session, a machine outside the room (called a halogenerator) grinds dry salt and pumps micro particles of it into the air. The pure environment is precisely balanced with 40 to 50 percent humidity and kept at 68o to 70o F. Since salt tends to bring water out of the body’s membranes, it’s wise to replace fluids after a salt cave session by drinking water, using a saline mist for your nasal passages and lubricating drops for your eyes.
The average salt cave service costs $25 to $45 and lasts 45 minutes. Salt beds or booths only require 15 to 20-minute sessions as the salt concentration is higher.