Health Benefits of a Salt Cave
After chemotherapy I embarked on a quest to build a bionic immune system. Since then I have included the goals of curing my frequent sinus infections and improving my insomnia. My journey has led me in some interesting directions, most recently to a trip to a therapeutic salt cave. Salt therapy is used as a natural cure for many skin and respiratory ailments, and also to generally strengthen the immune system. Although underground salt caves have been used as a healing aid for many centuries, artificial salt caves are just beginning to spring up in the United States.
What is a Salt Cave?
An artificial salt cave is an enclosed room whose floor and walls are covered with Himalayan crystal salt, an unrefined,unprocessed salt containing 84 minerals. A generator grinds salt into small particles that are then circulated through the air, allowing the salt to be inhaled and absorbed into the body. The cave is supplied with comfortable reclining chairs, and the environment is enhanced with peaceful music or calming sounds. Blankets are provided for warmth, since body temperature tends to drop as a person relaxes.
History of the Salt Cave
Naturally occurring salt mines have been used for their therapeutic benefits for centuries. The ancient Greeks used salt to cure respiratory ailments and many Indian cultures cleansed their respiratory passages through salt inhalation. It's a fascinating fact that workers in salt mines maintain extremely healthy respiratory systems and manage to avoid lung diseases. The artificial salt caves are an attempt to recreate the healing environment of such naturally occurring salt mines.
Would you ever try a salt cave session?
What are the Health Benefits of a Salt Cave?
The healing properties of Himalayan salt are numerous. Although I was aware that salt can draw out toxins in the body I didn't realize it was anti-bacterial,anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory. In addition to improving hypertension, colitis, and circulatory illness, Himalayan salt can:
- Relieve stress
- Cure insomnia
- Improve focus for people that suffer from ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
- Cure asthma
- Cure allergies
- Reduce arthritis
- Improve many skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema
- Reduce the incidence of the common cold
- Cure bronchitis
- Improve symptoms of cystic-fibrosis
- Stimulate circulation
My Experience in a Salt Cave
Although I knew that at $40/session this experience was guaranteed to help to clean out my wallet, I wanted to see if it also helped clean out my sinuses. It was worth a try since there are absolutely no side effects. When I walked in I was greeted by a very friendly woman at the desk whose enthusiasm indicated that she was the owner. She told me it takes approximately ten sessions to reap the long term benefits - consistent with the 10-15 session recommendation that I had found during my research. The etiquette of this particular salt cave required white socks (so oils from the skin don't contaminate the salt); no touching the salt (other caves actually have children's rooms that allow them to play in the salt); and dictated that electronic devices were allowed but must be turned off. Furthermore, no talking was allowed in case others chose to use the time to meditate.
Although the session was supposed to start and end at a specific time, the attendant allowed us to go into the quiet, dark room 5 minutes early to get settled. My husband and I went in right away, and a few minutes later we were joined by a woman with her teenage son. We all made ourselves comfortable on the reclining chairs, and everybody but my husband took advantage of the available blankets. Exactly on time, the lights dimmed even more, a fan began to blow, and a soothing voice began to summarize the benefits of the therapy and outline the basic rules. Immediately after that, peaceful music commenced, which alternated with sounds of the crashing waves of the ocean over the 45-minute session.
It began to get colder by the minute so I was grateful to have a warm blanket. The attendant had told me that as the body relaxes the body temperature beings to drop, but I think the temperature in the room was also just a little too cold for me. I closed my eyes a few times but never really got into a state of deep relaxation due to my awareness of other people around me, along with my husband browsing the Internet the entire time on his smartphone. I decided that the important thing was to just breath in the salty air and reap the health benefits. However, I was a little bored and resolved to bring a Kindle the next time, assuming it is allowed.
After signaling to my husband to show me the time on his cell phone several times, the session was over. The owner asked if I noticed any alleviation in my sinus congestion, and I am sure I felt at least a marginal clearing. Although the improvement didn't last the full day, I am willing to consider that there may be a more lasting benefit if I completed the recommended 10-15 sessions - though I also have to wonder if that is just a way to convince me to drop a sizable amount of money. Although I didn't feel like I had relaxed, I kept yawning and felt sleepy the rest of the day.
Would I try it again? Absolutely! Mainly because 45 minutes of peace reduces stress, but also because I suffer from insomnia and chronic sinus issues and am willing to try anything that doesn't have any harmful side effects. My husband said he would not do it again because he likes to be productive at all times, and having to sit still actually increases his stress (though he did admit he wouldn't mind if he could use his laptop). Now that I know what to expect I think I will be able to achieve a state of deeper relaxation. After a few more sessions I will know whether this therapy is in any way effective for me, and I will then update this article. I'm looking forward to a few more sessions of such "research".
The Salt Cave
Tranquility Salon and Wellness Center