The Anti-Inflammatory and Antibacterial Benefits of Salt Therapy

williamsburg-salt-spa[Image: Courtesy of Williamsburg Salt Spa]Polish-born Agnieszka Drygala, the owner of Williamsburg Salt Spa, has long been aware of the apparent health benefits of halotherapy (salt therapy), such is the practice’s popularity in her homeland. Among her satisfied customers, Drygala cites one woman who came in frequently, suffering from allergies and asthma. “Each month, she was able to reduce her medications, until finally she stopped them entirely,” she shares. The salt room contains 15 tons of Polish and Himalayan salts; here, clients can book 45-minute Swedish massages ($95), with a hot salt pillow for extra relaxation. Standard salt sessions (45 min./$25) are especially popular with the business crowd at lunchtimes, because guests don’t have to undress for the experience. Drygala is keen to tout the rewards of ongoing halotherapy. “People go to the gym on a regular basis, so why shouldn’t they come to the salt spa regularly too?”

Jane G. Goldberg, the owner of New York City’s La Casa Day Spa, first experienced halotherapy years ago, during a trip to Germany. “The locals raved about the beneficial effects on their respiratory systems, as well as the anti-aging effects on their skin,” she shares. Back in the U.S., Goldberg sought to offer stressed-out Manhattanites a similar experience at her spa, placing 100 pounds of pink Himalayan and Black Sea salt in a dry sauna room to simulate the natural microclimate of a salt cave. The heat from the sauna is thought to help boost the salt’s purifying effects during the 30-minute, $50 sessions. For spa owners looking to add halotherapy to their menu, Goldberg advises care in finding the highest quality sources of salt. “There are polluted salt mines and caves around the world. Those salts need to be avoided,” she warns.

Catering to salt therapy fans of all ages, The Salt Studio in Pasadena, California, houses both an adults’ and a children’s salt room. “One little boy visited every week for a year to help with his asthma,” shares co-owner Diana Leone. “After just six months, he was able to come off his medications completely.” The Salt Studio offers halotherapy in 45-minute sessions ($45), as well as packages and monthly memberships; the adults’ room also hosts guided meditations, qigong and even a writers’ group. Leone’s husband and the spa’s co-owner, Michael, is a licensed respiratory therapist, and he hand-built the generators that ensure a consistent concentration of salt in the air. To those considering adding a salt room or cave, Diana cautions, “It needs proper ventilation and has to be totally sealed off to work properly. Spa owners must take the time to create the right room.”

–by Jennifer Chen



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