Halotherapy, a.k.a. salt therapy, has long been a part of self-care rituals and spa treatments throughout Central Europe and Asia. Most recently, it has been gaining popularity in America. If you’re a holistic health lover like me, you probably have noticed Himalayan salt caves popping up in big cities like Los Angeles and New York City. While these caves sound interesting and appealing, the real question is: How do they help you decompress?
To test out a couple salt saunas, I went to a Himalayan salt room at both a traditional Korean spa and a trendy salt cave in New York City. While the benefits of the salt rooms were consistent, it was interesting to see the difference between a Western and Eastern take on it.
First Things First: The Benefits
Dry saunas are recommended to treat issues like muscular pain and arthritis, but mixing in them with the benefits of Himalayan salt creates the ultimate decompression session. Because the salt stimulates the air around you, breathing it in can help those with respiratory problems say goodbye to blockage and bad allergic reactions! Additionally, the healing elements of the salt itself aid in stress and pain relief, boosting the body’s immune system, and it even reduces the level of chemicals like copper and mercury in our bodies.
While there is no scientific proof of how these salt caves can help with these health issues, there seems to be a loyal following of salt cave goers who swear by the benefits of it. Holistic health treatments like this are beneficial spiritually, mentally, and physically, so if you are even the slightest bit interested, I’d say go for it.
Does It Work?
The experience of knowing that you’re going into a spa day honestly helps with the decompression feeling, so I’d say that everything about visiting a Himalayan salt sauna from start to finish is relaxing. While the Korean spa gave me an oversized pink t-shirt to wear and the trendy NYC sauna gave me a robe and a head to chill out in, changing out of your regular clothes into the spa’s designated outfit and stepping into a warm oasis of salt and silence definitely gave the effect of serenity.
Prior to my salt cave experiences, I had a fever and a bad cough.. The summer heat made it even more unbearable, and I wanted to cure it ASAP. After my first visit to the Korean spa, I noticed that I was able to breathe better, and laying on the heated floor surrounded by salt left me feeling more comfortable than I was before I walked in. The second visit to a salt cave was what really got me out of my sickness, though, as my sinuses almost completely cleared by the time I was out. Because pain puts stress on the body and can affect your mood and mental health, I noticed the negative effects that I was feeling because of sickness be drawn out.
Is It Worth It?
Depending on how much you’re looking to spend on trying new things out, I would say that trying a salt sauna is worth the money. In addition to the benefits of Himalayan salt, the overall experience is zen and gets you in the mindset that you want your body to heal. These caves can generally range from $25 to $60 an hour, depending on what kind of spa you go to. Maybe try booking a spot at your nearest salt cave for your next self-care day.
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