November 23, 2010

Halo Air Salt Therapy

Growing up in a seaside town, I was familiar with the benefits of sea air.  Have a cold? Or a sinus infection?  A walk on the beach, regardless of the time of the year works wonders.  If you were close enough to be breathing in the sea air, tinged with salt, you were going to feel better.  Diagnosed with adult onset asthma after 9/11, I try to spend as much free time as possible close to a beach.  I find it soothes the lungs; they are less irritated.  My breathing is freer, deeper and for the most part all of my symptoms seem to disappear.

When I saw that Norma Kamali was going to have a presentation about Himalayan Sea Salt and its health benefits in her fascinating series of topics in her Wellness Cafe, I was intrigued. Included in the presentation was a segment about Halo/Air Salt Rooms in Chelsea. I had heard a bit about them, having seen the articles in Reuters, The New York Times, Glamour, Vanity Fair and several other magazines.  It helped that I had a friend in visiting who in addition to having asthma, had stage 2 COPD and we felt spending a few hours learning about ways to improve the health of our lungs would be well spent.

We learned that halotherapy (salt therapy) is a therapeutic use of dry aerosol salt particles has been around for centuries.  This is related to Speleotheraphy, (speloeos is cave in Greek), which is the prolonged exposure to the specific microclimate of salt caves, mines and grottos.  Speleotheraphy has been practiced in the salt mines of Europe for centuries.  Patients with asthma, chronic bronchitis, and other respiratory disease spend days or weeks breathing in the salt air and benefitting from the other aspects on the mine’s microclimate as well.

We also learned that salt is a natural antihistamine. Salt is vital for the clearance of mucus from the lungs. When you breathe in salt air, it decreases the inflammation of the respiratory tract and works as a “bronchial brush” for the airways.  In addition to helping people with respiratory problems, it helps those with allergies as it eliminates airborne pollen particles from airways.  It also helps those with skin problems.  Spending time in a salt cave can help clear up acne, eczema, psoriasis and it is even said cellulite.

Created by Ron Rofe’, Halo/Air (www.haloair.com) is bringing the salt caves of Europe to New York City. The rooms, which are salt, encrusted, make it similar to actually being in a salt cave. Since we had some free time the next day, we booked a session.  Appointments are pretty booked, so I felt fortunate to have gotten one!

You arrive at the pristine Chelsea location and are taken to a room covered in salt. Caked in it, inches of it all over the floor… the room looked as though it was a retreat from the world.   Sink into the elegant leather massage chairs, read, meditate, watch TV, listen to music, dim the lights and take a rest from the world.  We started watching television, but got lost in the tranquility of the experience and ended up napping. And napping for this type A, always ready, on the go, and never take a nap New Yorker doesn’t happen! Extremely relaxing experience!

We awoke when our session was over feeling relaxed, recharged and invigorated. Our skin was slightly flushed and radiant. Even though they say you need a series (10 to 14) to completely get the health benefits and see dramatic results, we immediately noticed our lungs were clearer and our breathing easier. The verdict? While I know that I cannot substitute the salt caves for my asthma regiment, it is nice to know that I have a natural treatment that I can use in conjunction with treatment.  Not to mention, the added benefit of just being able to close off the world and completely relax, means that I’ll be making a monthly visit.  And my friend’s thoughts? We will book a session whenever she is in town!

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