Halotherapy, also known as dry salt therapy, is a holistic approach that mimics the microclimate of a salt cave and can help treat conditions such as allergies, asthma, eczema, psoriasis, snoring, sleep apnea and stress, among others. “Dry salt air is dispersed into an enclosed or sealed room through a unique process generated by a halogenerator,” says Erica Colby, owner of SALTS in Granite Bay. “This type of treatment is a safe and effective way of using salt’s natural antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and super-absorbent properties to provide relief for respiratory and skin conditions.”
The salt used is 99.99 percent pure sodium chloride (pharmaceutical-grade salt) and “contains no fillers or caking agents,” she says. “It does come from a natural source, but is naturally processed to remove all of its impure elements. It’s the same salt that hospitals use and the same type [that] all the research has been conducted on.”
When salt is heated, it becomes extremely dry and kinetically more active. “This heated and dry pure sodium chloride is then crushed into microsized particles and dispersed into the air in an enclosed environment,” Colby continues. “When microparticles of dry salt are inhaled into the respiratory system, it does its job by absorbing and removing allergens, toxins and foreign substances in your lungs and throughout your respiratory tract. Salt also reduces any inflammation and opens airway passages, [thus] making it easier to breathe.”
Halotherapy offers the best results when practiced regularly. The benefits are accumulative where consistency and frequency is the key. Colby says halotherapy is also safe for children, and that they often respond to the natural treatment faster than adults.
Rachelle Brendlin, marketing manager at Heavenly Salt Spa in Sacramento, says you may salt safely two times a day, though it could become quite costly in the long run, as most sessions cost around $40-$50. She also recommends going daily for eight to 12 days if you have severe ailments and would like quick results. Otherwise, most would benefit from weekly sessions.
“Clinical studies support that breathing in hypertonic saline creates an improved lung function and clears mucus in an accelerated capacity,” Brendlin says. “Respiratory diseases, such as cystic fibrosis, bronchial asthma, and chronic obstructive and non-obstructive bronchitis, all benefit from natural salt therapy.”
What is the experience like? For the 45-minute session, you’ll enter a room with Himalayan salt on the walls and on the floor. In the adult suite, you’ll find comfortable recliners to relax in and you can choose to listen to relaxing music, read a book, meditate or simply rest. The children’s suite is designed to bring fun and enjoyment with toys, books and puzzles while they receive their treatment.
“The temperature, humidity and ventilation systems in the rooms are controlled to provide the cleanest and best halotherapy experience,” Colby says. “You will find pure relaxation and tranquility away from your everyday stress—leaving you rejuvenated and fully energized. And you’ll notice a faint trace of salt on your lips after the session.”