Looking to breathe a little easier during this upcoming cold and flu season?
I’ve heard the solution lies within halotherapy, aka salt breathing. Also, most of the research I did showed cute pink rooms that looked super insta-worthy, so I obviously had to try it. Here’s what I learned…
According to the Salt Therapy Association, “Salt therapy has its origins from the salt mines and caves of Eastern Europe”, but artificial caves have been gaining momentum and popularity in the states over the past few years. With salt therapy rooms like Breathe Salt Rooms and multiple others popping up nationwide.
What is halotherapy?
Halotherapy is a powerful, 100% natural, non-toxic treatment which can help alleviate symptoms of multiple respiratory and skin conditions.
Breathe Salt Room’s website additionally explains, “Our standards require 100% pharmaceutical grade sodium chloride (salt) to be heated evaporating all moisture and maximizing the salt’s bactericide, mucokinetic, hydrophilic and anti-inflammatory properties. Heat removes all moisture so when the salt is crushed and grinded into micro-particles and inhaled the therapeutic benefits are most effective and able to reach the entire respiratory tract…A low concentration of aerosol salt is dispersed into the therapy room.”
Benefits of salt breathing.
Salt Therapy has been shown to effectively treat or significantly improve the following conditions:
- Frequent cold, flu
- Sinusitis, rhinitis
- Emphysyma/ COPD
- Cystic fibrosis
- Smoker’s cough
- Skin rashes, itching
- Dry flaky skin
It has also been shown to:
- Improves skin rigidity thus slowing skin aging process
- Boost immune system
- Enhance emotional and over-all well being
- Enable better recovery time from physical activity
- Enhance athletic performance and endurance by expanding the airways for increased oxygen flow and capacity
- Detoxify body
What happens during a session?
Most halotherapy locations offer 30-60+ minute sessions where you sit in a reclining chair of some sort (some locations also offer salt beds) surrounded by himalayan salt. Lighting is kept to a minimum and cool temperatures ranging from 70-74 degrees are maintained. Sessions can be individual or in group settings. You are encouraged to mediate, relax, read, sleep, or anything else to enjoy the time completely. No special breathing is required and you should feel the effects almost immediately.
After hearing so many good things about salt therapy, I knew I had to try it. As a self-diagnosed wellness junkie, I will try nearly any and all wellness trends in an effort to be thee most in tune with my body. I love finding new ways to reward my body for giving me my health, thus far. I’ve been fortunate enough to not suffer from allergies or any major skin conditions, but intended to use halotherapy for mostly relaxation purposes to start. One day, I came across a Groupon for a session, and I knew I had to take advantage. I purchased the session and could not wait to cash that baby in. I scheduled my appointment for a few weeks later, mid-morning on a Saturday. I was pumped!
I did all my research before arriving to the location called Salt Breeze, which is not far from where I live. I wanted to get the maximum benefit so wore thin workout capris and a light tee so the salt could penetrate my skin. I read the What Should I Wear section via their website, and made sure to have my hair in a loose pony so it, too, could get the maximum exposure to this magical salt.
Upon arriving to the address I punched into Google Maps, a small white building with a barely-there sign indicating I was at the correct location appeared. Upon entering I was greeted by a clean and calm reception area that smelled heavenly. After checking in, I realized that smell was coming from the diffuser that I found out was expelling DoTerra Essential Oils (one of my top fave oil brands) into the area. Read more about Essential Oil Uses here. I waited just a few more minutes and the receptionist took me downstairs to the salt cave.
Once downstairs, she gave me a bag to place my shoes, purse, phone, etc. into so the salt wouldn’t ruin them, and I chose my zero-gravity chair on the left side of the room right in the middle. There were six chairs setup, but I was told only one additional person would be in the session with me that day. She arrived a bit later, and I didn’t make much small talk as I was trying to get my zen on. The salt machine began blowing just a few seconds later, and I was basically horizontal with eyes closed within two minutes.
The first five minutes was a lot of inner dialogue trying to navigate this new experience. The following thoughts idly flowed through my mind:
- Surely this isn’t working? Did I just pay to sit in a room and “breathe salt”, but this is all a joke?
- Is it the other lady’s first time in here too? Is she laying back with her eyes closed too? Maybe she’s just watching and judging me laying here.
- It’s cold in here…can she see my nipples?
- There’s got to be a camera in here, right? Are they watching me upstairs? Is it frowned upon to take a selfie mid treatment?
- Am I still breathing? Am I doing this right?
The list goes on and on, really. Eventually I found my groove, and decided to practice a more meditative and yogi breath to really calm and center myself. This helped tremendously. I took a few deep breaths and even started coughing a little because I could feel the salt particles entering my airway and lungs. It felt good. I spent the next 40 minutes drifting in and out of sleep and awoke when the lights brightened, indicating the session was complete. I was incredibly relaxed.
After awaking, I glanced over to the woman who was also in the room and began chatting with her. Turns out, it was not her first time, in fact she comes multiple times per week in an effort to help alleviate her sinus issues and a cold she was battling. ( By the way, because of the anti-bacterial properties of the salt, I was at very little risk to catch her cold, which also made me extremely happy. I never did end up getting sick! ) She said she swears by it and the treatment cuts her sickness time dramatically. I collected my things and went back upstairs to leave. There were several kids and parents upstairs. It was then I found out they have a room specifically for kids too (see image above). The parents said they come religiously to help their children with asthma, allergies, and eczema.
So, does it work?
Yes!! At least, I think so. I loved how incredibly relaxed I felt and my skin felt so soft afterwards. It felt like I could tell the salt was inside my body and working its magic for the next 24 hours. The feeling was unlike anything I’ve ever felt. Think super meditative, plus cleansing, and purifying. That’s how I felt. I even bought an additional package, and rushed home to tell my husband he needed to try it for his allergies. I would definitely go again, and have a few times. I would highly recommend trying a salt therapy session if you have the opportunity and see what you think for yourself.