Discover the Benefits of Dry Salt Therapy

Leo M. Tonkin, founder and CEO of SALT Chamber, discusses why spas should consider adding salt therapy to their offerings.

Dry salt therapy has become the “go-to” wellness modality for spas to develop a competitive advantage while improving the guest experience. Ideal for a new type of spa-goer focused on individualized programming and a healthy lifestyle, dry salt therapy cleanses the respiratory system, improves skin condition, and has numerous benefits including boosting the immune system and enhancing mental wellness.

From luxury resorts to small-town day spas, more than 2,000 outlets in North America provide dry salt therapy (also called halotherapy, “halo” is the Greek word for salt.). Salt rooms have become places to unplug, improve health, and gather in community. From private salt booths to elaborate group experiences, spas are adding dry salt therapy as a standalone service or as a relaxing touchless modality to begin or end a signature treatment. Affordable and easy to implement, flexible options are available based on space availability and client demand and operate as a revenue center or luxury wellness amenity.

Photo credit: Solaia Condominiums

Why Dry Salt Therapy?

Salt therapy is a natural touchless modality that cleanses the respiratory system, boosts immune function, reduces stress, improves skin, and enhances athletic performance and recovery. Dry salt therapy has been used for centuries to improve respiratory wellness and skin health. Recognition of the power of dry salt therapy dates to the mid-19th century, when a physician in Kraków, Poland, noted the respiratory health of workers in a nearby salt mine.

In 1976, the first “halogenerator” was developed to replicate the micron-sized particles inhaled in the salt mines. In the 70s, 80s, and 90s, scientific research began to measure the impact on lung functionality and lung volume recovery times. In 2012, SALT Chamber imported the first halogenerators from Europe, introducing dry salt therapy to North American spas and resorts, residential developments, fitness clubs, and senior living facilities.

Salt rooms and salt booths provide an enclosed space to inhale the micron-salt particles of 99.99 percent pure-grade sodium chloride (salt). The dry aerosol penetrates deep into the lungs to aid the respiratory system and is absorbed into the skin. In addition to supporting respiratory conditions such as COPD, asthma, and long-term COVID, dry salt therapy benefits acne, eczema, and psoriasis and has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. Competitive athletes have adopted dry salt therapy as an integral part of performance and recovery.

However, there are no respiratory benefits from the Himalayan salt decor. There are many unsubstantiated claims as well as false information stating that heating Himalayan salt releases negative ions and purifies the air. This has been scientifically proven false with facts provided by leading chemists, researchers, and institutions like Columbia University Medical Center as well as through class action lawsuits against Himalayan salt manufacturers and suppliers.

How to Offer Dry Salt Therapy

Dry salt therapy is a risk-free, evidence-based service that optimizes profitability for underutilized space. Adding dry salt therapy to your spa allows you to address your guests’ common wellness concerns, attract new customers, and cross-market with your current services. There are multiple ways to implement dry salt in your spa to fit your budget and space considerations.

Salt Rooms

A dedicated salt room is a destination as well as a service. Salt rooms give guests the full “get salted” experience and spas the ability to host multiple sessions and events with or without the halogenerator. Himalayan salt décor such as salt walls are common additions. Costs for a salt room start at $10,000 to $15,000 for the halogenerator equipment and modifications to the room and HVAC and increase based on decor and other build-out considerations.

Salt Booths

A salt booth is the answer if space is limited. Salt booths are completely self-contained units that require no build-out. Spas can install these “plug-and-play” units in as little as a 4'-by-4' space. It is an ideal pre- or post-treatment touchless service that requires minimal labor.

Photo credit: Spa at PGA National Resort

Salt Rooms on Steroids

Luxury resorts and residences are upping the game on salt rooms. Next-generation salt rooms have become experiential wellness hubs, creating innovative design features and integrating infrared light, sound therapy, vibro-acoustics, yoga, massage, meditation, and more.

The Spa at PGA National Resort (Palm Beach Gardens, FL) collaborated with SALT Chamber and V Starr, Venus Williams’ award-winning design firm, to develop two unique salt room concepts for private and group use.  “Our intention with the salt rooms was to take a contemporary approach and create sophisticated intimate spaces that will embrace Zen, relaxation, and balance, while complementing the innate beauty of the spa’s overall redesign,” says Holly Nixon of V Starr.

Auberge Beach Residences (Fort Lauderdale, FL), a luxury residence, has a spa with designated salt rooms for women and men off the locker rooms. “Our salt rooms have been hugely popular," says spa director Linda Higgs. "Residents of luxury buildings want tools for healthy living at their fingertips. This is truer than ever post-COVID.”