Salt adds flavour to meals, we’re encouraged to limit our intake as we age, and it makes chocolate cookies and caramel really delicious.
There are now rooms filled with it, called salt rooms, which became a spa trend around the year 2010. The idea is that you can pay to sit in rooms that are filled with six inches of the white stuff, but you’re not encouraged to lick the walls or eat any of it.
It has now become a global spa trend, with salt room outposts as far flung as Israel and as close to home as Canada and the U.S. The trend has roots in Eastern Europe, where salt caves and spas sprang up some 200 years back. Nowadays, many of the salt rooms are cave-like and tranquil, with no windows and exceptionally comfy chairs.
The term for this type of salt treatment is halo therapy, and it has been recommended as an alternative healing method for those suffering from respiratory ailments, as well as skin problems. One hot spot for such treatments–called the Salt Chalet, located in Encino, California–has a generator that pours a half-cup of Dead Sea Salt into a room for each 45-minute session.
Okay, so there are rooms full of salt, but what are the benefits? Well, the concept behind the therapy is rooted in the knowledge that saline solutions can assist those with allergies, such as to dust, and can help dispel mucus for people living with conditions like cystic fibrosis. Still, doctors point out that while inhaling salt solutions can help treat these conditions, this doesn’t mean that we know that salt rooms can help people in the same way.
When you inhale saline solution, the particles are extremely small, and the salt successfully arrives into the chest cavity and lungs, explained Dr. Dean Schraufnagel, a professor of medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago, to the LA Times. And, he points out, no clinical studies that research this type of alternative treatment have been completed.
Some experimenters with the spa treatment have claimed to see reductions in skin conditions like psoriasis, which causes red splotches on the skin. And while the healing potential of the salt used in salt rooms can’t be confirmed, we can all agree that sitting in a still, quiet room, reading or listening to chill spa music, sounds like a relaxing way to spend an afternoon.
Is it worth $60? Well, that salty decision is up to you to decide.