Salt Therapy Isn't New, So Why the Resurgence in the Trend?

Spa-goers at Âme Spa & Wellness Collective at the JW Marriott Turnberry (FL) can relax in the spa's salt room. // Photography: Salt Chamber

Salt therapy might be among today’s biggest spa and wellness trends, but it’s nowhere close to new. In fact, in the early 1840s, a Polish physician named Feliks Boczkowski noticed that salt mine workers did not experience the same respiratory or lung issues as other miners, and almost 100 years later, Karl Hermann Spannagel noticed that the health of his patients actually improved after they hid in the salt caves during WWII. Since then, salt therapy has continued to grow in popularity for its many benefits, and the Global Wellness Institute’s Hydrothermal Initiative even included it on its list of trends for 2019, predicting the use of salt in thermal cabins (halotherapy) to rise.

“Halotherapy has been around for years,” says Jennifer Dennis, inside sales manager at SaltWorks. “Although it is not new, there is a resurgence in the interest of dry salt therapy. People take part in spa treatments as a way to heal the mind and body. Halotherapy offers this in a very non-invasive way and is very accessible. People are becoming more interested in finding natural solutions to feel better, and salt rooms have a myriad of benefits that are desired by many.”

Salt therapy can be broken down into two categories: wet salt therapy and dry salt therapy. According to the Salt Therapy Association website, wet salt therapy includes saline solutions, nebulizers, salt baths, and salt scrubs, while dry salt therapy includes the use of dry salt in moisture- and humidityfree areas, such as salt rooms. In addition, salt therapy can be characterized as either speleotherapy (passive) or halotherapy (active). Speleotherapy utilizes the climate and salt air found in natural-occurring caves. Halotherapy is a dry-salt therapy that is provided in man-made environments. It requires the use of a halogenerator, which releases a dry-salt aerosol into the salt room. “Active salt rooms include a halogenerator, which emits micro-salt particles in the air that are inhaled and exposed to the skin,” says Philippe Therene, vice president of equipment sales at Universal Companies.

Today, there are not only spas with salt rooms but also stand-alone salt therapy centers. From improving the respiratory system to reducing stress and the effects of conditions like colds, bronchitis, sinusitis, asthma, psoriasis, and eczema, salt therapy is the natural wellness approach that many are embracing worldwide. “As the spa industry has been shifting the pendulum toward wellness the past several years, resort and destination spas, day spas, medical spas, and other wellness facilities have been adding salt to their menus,” says Leo Tonkin, founder and CEO of Salt Chamber. “Salt therapy provides a great wellness treatment and can become an additional profit center for any business, as it utilizes very little in terms of consumables and demands minimal labor and maintenance.”

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