A salt cave retreat has is the new spa treatment in North America. While many newspaper outlets have been quick to debunk the craze as a useless fad, they’ve been ignoring the fact that Eastern Europeans have been using salt caves as therapy for hundreds of years. As far back as the mid 1200’s, Europeans have taken advantage of the various healing benefits that come from sitting in a salt-laden cave, such as inhaling ionized air.
Inspired by a conversation with our friends at Himalayan Hills Salt Design and Gallery in Beverly Hills, CA, we here at HoneyColony decided to roll up our sleeves and find out exactly what all the fuss is about. We were delighted to discover that the healing properties of Himalayan crystal salts, when gently inhaled in the relaxing dim glow of a salt cave, can bring about incredible results.
Below, 8 reasons why a salt cave may be just what you need:
1. Salt Caves Have A Proven Track Record
Eastern Europe is well aware of the benefits of salt therapy, otherwise known as Spelotherapy or Halotherapy. In Hungary, the treatment is recommended by doctors and is even covered by health insurance. The most prominent cave was set up 150 years ago, by a Polish physician who noted that salt miners didn’t suffer from lung diseases. A natural grotto was carved within the Wieliczka mines and became popular among those suffering from respiratory diseases. This mine is still in use today, as is another salt mine in Bochnia, Poland, which has been active since 1248. People suffering from allergies, neurological and rheumatoid problems as well as locomotor system dysfunctions are recommended to spend significant time in the mine.
2. Salt Is Actually Good For You
Though in the last few years, critics have shot arrows at diets high in salt, the truth is that real salt is important for many biological processes including regulating your blood pressure, carrying nutrients to your cells and improving brain function. Benefits of Himalayan Salt include weight loss, detox, and balanced hormones. That being said, the type of salt really matters.
Standard iodized table salt has been chemically treated to such a degree that it no longer has any value for your body. You can find a number of natural salts, such as sea salt, at your natural food store, while Himalayan salt is considered to be the most nutrient-dense salt of all. Just be sure to go with a high-quality product that is not refined and processed with chemicals, such as this Himalayan sea salt by So Well. It’s vibrant pink color indicates that it is high in minerals and iron. In fact, this specific salt contains 84 different trace minerals that are bio-identical to your body, which means that the salt is able to communicate with your body in an efficient and quite delicate way.
At Himalayan Hills in Los Angeles, you can bask in a cave made of pure Himalayan Crystal Salt. The walls are constructed out of large salt slabs, fine salt pebbles covers the floor, and even the mortar is made out of a salt and a water solution called sole. Hand-mined and hand-processed in the Himalayas, this salt is minimally altered; these untainted crystals have spent thousands of years maturing under ancient lava beds.
3. Salt Cave Studies Will Show…
Though there have been no recent clinical studies regarding Spelotherapy in the U.S., there is some research that suggests there may be beneficial effects to salt therapy. In 2006, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that inhaling a high concentration of saline improved lung function in cystic fibrosis sufferers. Another 2006 study published in the European Respiratory Journal showed that cigarette smokers who inhaled aerosolized salt had improved smoking-related symptoms, such as coughing and mucus production. Further studies on an inhalant device called the “salt pipe” prove that the symptoms of chronic asthma and bronchitis sincerely improved upon inhalation of a salt-based solution. In fact, salt pipes, make for a great substitute for the vast majority of people who do not have a salt cave readily accessible. This top-quality salt pipe from So Well, is hand-crafted in the USA, and an ideal substitution for an actual salt cave. Or, you can try making your own salt pipe.
4. Let’s Talk Relaxation
Faye Batson is an energetic healer and founder of OmniRays Bodyworks. A passionate and powerful speaker with a deep sense of balance, Faye is completely dedicated to holistic wellness. She practices massage therapy and restorative healing on her clients while inside the salt cave at Himalayan Hills, and maintains that the work she does resonates with them for days after the treatment.
“Working with people in the cave – it feels like you are in a womb. You feel very safe, very comforted and very protected.” Faye has a deep connection with the cave, and she treats it as a living organism. She believes it has the ability “to create a space of white light and love for you to heal”.
Faye believes strongly not only in the physical benefits of salt therapy, but the emotional/spiritual benefits as well. “We are so removed from what simplicity is in this modern world. And there is so much simplicity in just sitting in a salt cave for 15 minutes. In combination with bodywork, people will feel like they have been on a vacation without ever having left Los Angeles.”
Faye Batson at the Himalayan Hills Salt Design and Gallery. Image by Jan Wellmann.
5. The Power Of Fresh Air
Studies show that people who live in places with high levels of air pollution have a 20 percent higher risk of lung cancer than people who live in less-polluted areas. Anyone who lives in or has visited Los Angeles can attest to the extremely poor quality of the air. A quick trip to the ocean brings instant relief with its salty sea breeze. Salt caves work in much the same way. Himalayan crystal salt creates negative ions, which have the ability to combat the effects of free radicals while producing a surprisingly relaxing sensation. Much like the feeling you get at the ocean, or immediately following a storm, air charged with negative ions suppresses serotonin within the body, thereby instigating higher energy levels and positive moods.
The power of fresh air to alter our moods and increase vitality should never be dismissed. Faye concurs. “Breath is our life-blood. If we’re not breathing good air, it affects every part of our body. Even just entering the [our] store, you are automatically calmed down.”
6. It’s An All-Ages Affair
Salt caves have been shown to be incredibly safe for children and quite beneficial as well. Spelotherapy is often recommended by doctors in Europe to treat children with respiratory illnesses. The Belarus National Speleotherapy Clinic is a fully operational salt mine south of Minsk. It plays host to thousands of children each year and government claims state that as many as 97 percent of its patients experience improved health. Himalayan Hills has found that kids absolutely love their salt cave, which tends to have a calming effect. “It’s a natural, healthy, clean sandbox” says Faye. “A Crystal Salt sandbox that is antifungal and antibacterial”. A spa therapy where you can bring your children? What a novel, brilliant idea!
7. Mineral Deficiency Is A Very Real Thing
Mineral deficiency is on the rise in North America with over 50 percent of the population found to be suffering from lack of adequate minerals. Poor diet, water softeners, and even certain medications can cause a leaching of minerals from your body. A body deficient in minerals can lead to a variety of chronic illnesses as well as dental issues, irritated skin, muscle pain, and hormone instability.
Unprocessed Himalayan Crystal Salt is rich in calcium, potassium, magnesium, copper, and bromine, giving your body a powerful nutrient boost. The salt-infused air inside a crystal salt cave delivers valuable minerals to your nervous system and also contains particles of sodium chloride, which are anti-allergenic and anti-fungal.
8. Families Who Play Together
Most salt therapy caves are built and run by local families. Himalayan Hills Salt Design and Art Gallery in Los Angeles is a fantastic example of a family working together to create a new positive reality for themselves. They initially started out selling salt lamps, running a gourmet salt line, and doing demos. The idea for the salt cave came about organically, after Faye Batson’s brother-in-law discovered a saltwater solution called Sole and had a vision of himself building a cave.
Today, Faye delivers energetic healing therapies to clients while her husband, Noah, and her brother-in-law, Chris Rubbo, build caves from the ground up. The family members are all incredibly passionate about salt cave therapy. Faye is full of verve as she speaks about the experience. “The beauty of this endeavor is that it comes from the heart and there is love that is surrounding the project.” While many spas operate on a for-profit basis, Himalayan Hills is leading the way with –as Faye calls it—heart to heart communication”.
Western medicine may not want you to believe it, but our earth is filled with naturally occurring remedies for most things that ail you. Hidden deep within the Himalayan mountain range lies a wealth of minerals and nutrients that are now available at our fingertips. On the busy streets of La Cienega Blvd in Los Angeles, one family has created an oasis of calm and healing therapy using this ancient resource.
Think about it this way: If you could have the opportunity to feel uplifted and enlightened with clearer respiratory passageways and a renewed sense of self—wouldn’t you jump at the chance?
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