The idea of sitting in a cave made of salt might sound primitive. But this treatment practice, called halotherapy, is becoming more and more popular in spas and wellness centers around the US.
Halotherapy, which is also known as salt cave therapy, involves sitting quietly inside one of these caves while a device called a halogenerator pumps salt-infused air into the room. Halotherapy has been popular in Eastern Europe for centuries, and promises a range of physical and mental health benefits.
Are you interested in trying halotherapy for yourself? Read on to find out what to expect during your first salt room therapy experience.
Your Guide to Salt Cave Therapy
Halotherapy is relatively new in the US but it’s fast becoming a popular treatment for people looking to reap its many health benefits. But what should you expect from the treatment? And what is a salt cave like? Keep reading to find out more:
What is a Salt Cave?
While salt caves can vary, in most cases, the walls are made of pink Himalayan salt bricks, while the ground is covered with loose pink Himalayan salt rocks.
Salt caves often include salt rock lights or lamps which give the atmosphere a subdued and peaceful glow. Aside from this light, salt caves are normally dark so as to provide a relaxing experience. Inside the salt cave, the air is dry and cool, with a temperature set to around 68°F or lower.
Although the concept of a cave made of salt might sound intimidating, the result is a cozy, spa-like environment that’s perfect for unwinding and disconnecting.
Inside the Salt Cave
Before you enter the salt cave you’ll most likely have to remove your shoes, just as you would before using other spa facilities. But, even if they don’t insist you go in barefoot, we’d recommend it as the sensation of the salt rocks beneath your bare feet is pleasant and invigorating.
It’s also common to have to leave your electronic devices behind before you go into a salt cave. This is a great opportunity for a mini digital detox and ensures that you’re not distracted during your salt cave treatment.
Inside the salt cave, you will find several chairs around the space which should be comfortable and relaxing to recline in during your salt cave experience. Or, if you prefer, you may be able to sit or lie on the salt rock floor. Due to the cool temperature of the room, centers often provide blankets for clients to ensure they are comfortable and warm despite the cool ambient temperature.
During the treatment, most people sit quietly and relax or meditate while breathing in the salt-infused air. There may be a peaceful soundtrack playing in the background, much like the soft music or sounds of natures you’d hear during a massage or spa treatment.
Your Salt Cave Experience
With no technology, peaceful music playing, and low lights, you’re sure to experience total relaxation during salt room therapy. The lack of distractions will allow you to take time for yourself and clear your head. Even if you’re not into meditation, the experience will give you the chance to disconnect and enjoy your own kind of meditation.
Spa treatments such as steam rooms and traditional saunas can sometimes feel suffocating if you’re in them for too long. In contrast, the cool ambient temperature of a salt cave ensures you’ll be able to breathe easily for the length of the treatment. That said, you may perspire during salt room therapy. This is because of the salt drawing out impurities in your body, which is a normal reaction during the detoxification process.
With time to reflect on your breathing and the position of your body, you should feel a release of tension in your neck, shoulders, and back. Your mind will also start to clear thanks to the serenity of the cave experience.
Most people report at least subtle effects like these from their first salt room session. But, as with most treatments and wellness activities, you’ll see more benefits and greater changes with regular salt room sessions.
Salt Therapy Benefits
The many salt room benefits are not surprising when you consider that salt is antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory. But what are these salt therapy benefits exactly?
As you breathe, your airways absorb minerals such as iron, potassium, and calcium in the salt particles. The salt inside the cave draws out irritants such as toxins and allergens from your respiratory system. This reduces inflammation and breaks down mucus, clearing your airways. As a result, salt cave treatments can help with conditions such as asthma and bronchitis, as well as the common cold.
The salt particles used in halotherapy also have a similar effect on your skin. The salt absorbs impurities and bacteria present on the skin, helping to reduce many skin conditions, including eczema and psoriasis. Halotherapy also helps relieve stress, allergies, respiratory infections, hangovers, and high blood pressure.
Salt also produces negative ions. When your body comes into contact with the negatively-charged salt particles in the cave’s atmosphere, it releases more serotonin, one of the ‘feel-good’ chemicals behind feelings of happiness. This chemical reaction can help improve sleep quality and reduce anxiety and stress.
What to Expect During Halotherapy
With so many benefits, it’s easy to see why halotherapy has been popular in Eastern Europe for hundreds of years.
And, while it may seem unconventional, there’s no denying that taking time out of your busy schedule to clear your mind and your airways sounds like the perfect antidote to modern life.