Today’s blog provides much-needed contrast to an earlier one I wrote about spending a large chunk of a day with friends at a women’s spa where everyone ran around naked and a technician gave us a scrub that removed at least one layer of skin. Now I’m writing about a very different kind of spa: one that involves salt and lots of it.
Halotherapy is what a friend and I went for, though we didn’t know it at the time. I went because “salt spa” piqued my curiosity. I kept my many questions to myself. First, I couldn’t form a mental picture of what the spa would look like. An underground mine perhaps? Beyond that I wondered if we could keep our clothes on. Would we have to do something physical? Would it hurt? Would we shake salt, lick it or otherwise ingest it? Would we notice any changes afterwards? Despite the unknowns, I was ready to experience whatever came my way.
As soon as we arrived, answers to my general questions came fast. The instruction to, “take off your shoes before going into the salt room,” released whatever tension I’d come in with. A woman ushered us into a room lined with salt blocks colored in desert tones. Wall to wall salt.
We laid down on patio-style recliners. I read later that these were “zero gravity chairs.” A woman wrapped blankets around us. A waterfall built into one wall dripped and splashed. The woman closed the door on the four of us who were lying down, and turned on a generator.
Music, which seemed calming at first but became so obviously repetitive that I really, really wanted it to stop, wafted in and a light show began. During the forty-five minutes we were there we lived through a day and night. We watched the sun come up, lounged through a golden sunny day, and gazed at stars twinkling in the ceiling sky. Except for the music, the experience was very relaxing.
When it ended, my friend asked, “Was that you snoring?”
I said, “No. I thought it was you.”
Unlike traditional spas that promise to make you as loose as a jellyfish and beautiful too, the salt spa aims to help sufferers from asthma and respiratory illnesses. According to Wikipedia, the generators in salt rooms, “crush rock salt” into tiny particles “ionize the particles, and release them into the air.” Salt particles this size can “travel deep into the lung…”
I went in with a cold and came out with one. I guess colds have to run their course with or without the aid of salt. One woman in the room told my friend that she had been diagnosed with lung cancer, but that lying in the salt room three times a week had made breathing easier for her. I guess the common cold must also need more than one treatment.
Salt for healing is not a new idea. “Salt therapy is a modern variation of the Eastern European tradition of spending time in natural salt caves for health.” (about.com) According to legend, a doctor came upon the idea of salt therapy “after observing the good health of salt miners” in a Polish mine.
According to the spa’s literature, “Our salt wall [one they would install in your home] is an ideal way to make dry aged beef.” Are we talking about beef jerky? This discomfiting information dashed all hopes of looking more youthful after my spa experience.