Salt of the Earth

Surrounded by the natural beauty of the pink himalayan salt blocks, salt spa visitors are encouraged to focus on their breathing as they embrace the benefits of the salt-infused air. 

Dry salt therapy, or halotherapy, is a practice that originated centuries ago in the natural salt mines of Eastern Europe. Dry salt therapy is thought to provide an array of health benefits, helping with stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as skin conditions, arthritis and asthma.

“People are seeking more natural and alternative ways to feel better and relieve pain,” says Maryann Corcoran, co-owner of the Corcova Salt Spa in Genesee County, Michigan. “They are tired of taking pills and getting little or no relief and often additional ailments due to the side eff ects from their medication.”

 

 

Royal Salt Cave & Spa. Photo by Rafal K Gdowski. 

“With medications you have to worry about side effects and short- or long-term effects on the body, but with salt therapy, there’s none of that. It’s simply a healing process that also throws relaxation into the mix,” adds Izabela Przybyla, founder and owner of the Royal Salt Cave & Spa in Frankfort, Illinois.

 

A man-made salt cave reproduces the climate of a natural salt mine. Surfaces are covered with layers of himalayan salt and saline aerosol is
dispersed into the room to create a space that feels authentic. 

“The salt cave is climate-con-trolled to recreate a micro-climate as if you were within a salt mine,” says Shannon Coppola, founder of Montauk Salt Cave in New York City. “Salt is super sensitive to heat and humidity. There is a very intricate climate-control system to ensure that the air is always moving and super clean to maximize the benefits.”

Chairs, whether recliners or loungers, are added for comfort and relaxation, while dim lighting is used to recreate a true cave-like experience.

One of the most well-known salt mines is the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland, which draws tourists from around the world. It was also the fi rst location to off er salt-related health treatments. In the 1830s, Dr. Feliks Boczkowsk began off ering salt baths when he began to notice the surprisingly good health of the local salt miners.

Mei Leung, a holistic healer at Montauk Salt Cave, uses Reiki and sound to help visitors feel calm and balanced. Photo by Mike Vitelli.

The historic Wieliczka Salt Mine began offering salt-related health treatments in Poland as early as 1830. Photo by Ryszard Tatomir. 

United States spa owners draw inspiration from Wieliczka Salt Mine, which has played a pivotal role in the rise of halotherapy. Cheryl Krouse and Jim Fittante, owners of the Samana Salt Spa in Lewiston, New York, traveled to Poland to gain a deeper understanding of the ancient form of wellness therapy. “We were able to see firsthand how the Wellness Center in the salt mine has been operating since the late 1800s,” explains Krouse.

Another notable salt mine in Eastern Europe is the Salt Mine Berchtesgaden, which is the oldest active salt mine in Germany. The mine attracts visitors, who are able to tour the mine and learn of its history while taking in views of the natural salt. “Enjoy the underground, starting with a train ride. Go down two long slides (which were used by mine workers in former times), take a raft ride over a mystic salt lake, and see traces of colored salt in the rocks,” says Peter Botzleiner-Reber, tourism manager for Salt Mine Berchtesgaden.

“I’ve known about salt therapy my whole life, since I’m originally from Poland. Salt caves have been popular in Europe for more than 70 years,” says Przybyla, who has seen the trend grow in the U.S. in recent years. “There’s no doubt in my mind that salt therapy is on the rise simply because it’s relaxing and beneficial to your health.”

Salt Mine Berchtesgaden is home to two long slides, which are surrounded by salt and were once used by mine workers. Photo by Georg Grainer Fotografie, courtesy of Salt Mine Berchtesgaden, Südwestdeutche Salzwerke AG. 

The salt used in halotherapy is antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antimicrobial, according to Shannon Coppola. To fully take advantage of its ben-efits, Coppola suggests a 30- to 60-minute session in a salt cave at least once a week — preferably two times a week.

While most salt therapy sessions are a solo experience, Montauk Salt Cave also offers guided sessions with experienced healers. The healers elevate the typical salt cave experience — whether it’s promoting peace and tranquility through the use of tarot cards and astrology, a meditative soundscape, or Reiki therapy.

Luxury developments and real estate properties are also experimenting with the benefits of halotherapy. “There has been an increase in awareness of the benefits of halotherapy and in turn a rise in demand for locations to off er it,” says Alison Howland, vice president of wellness programs and resourcing at Amrit Ocean Resort & Residences in Riviera Beach, Florida.

The luxury development will soon debut its inhalation halotherapy chamber, which will off er residents the opportunity to experience salt therapy from the comfort of their homes. “The concept of luxury is changing. No longer is standardized luxury acceptable. Personalized luxury is the new standard,” says Howland of the develop-ment’s decision to open the salt chamber.

For luxury spa owners, the choice to open a salt cave is often much more personal.

“My daughter was my biggest inspiration for opening this business,” says Przybyla. “She struggles with asthma and severe allergies, which tend to act up a lot seasonally. I wanted to help get her healthier in a natural way.”

Coppola echoes a similar message. “Ultimately, our inspiration for opening the spa was our son,” she says. Coppalo and her husband discovered salt therapy in 2014 when searching for a cure for their son’s respiratory issues. “We had tried everything under the sun — nebulizers, chambers, adenoidectomy, tonsillectomy, Flonase, Nasonex, and more. A friend suggested salt therapy. After one session, he slept through the night for the first time at 4 and a half years old,” says Coppola.

Whether it’s reducing stress or improving concentration, eating outdoors has proven to have many health-related benefits.

Photo courtesy of DooArchitecture

Private terraces with al fresco eating spaces not only offer a unique setting for entertaining and barbecuing, but also a relaxing, peaceful environment. Dilip Barot, founder and CEO of Creative Choice Group — the developers behind Amrit Ocean Resort & Residences, understands the importance of designing a development with outdoor space in mind.
“Some of the benefits (of spending time outdoors) are improvement in the ability to focus, mood elevation and you get to exercise more,” he explains. “Being out of doors can help one return to a natural state of balance with a simple deep breath of fresh air to feel a sense of renewal.”
While enjoying a meal outdoors can provide a natural mood boost, it can also fight chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
Barot also notes that spending time outdoors can lower the risk for seasonal affective disorder, which is attributed to a lack of sunlight creating feelings of sadness and depression.
“Amrit’s location and year-round warm, sunny climate contribute to a natural stress reducing mood enhancing experience,” he says. “With our South Florida sunshine producing melatonin, serotonin and Vitamin D in the body, stress is reduced and happiness naturally shines through.”
Keeping this information in mind, many developments are beginning to embrace outdoor dining. Here are just a few from the Sunshine State:

Photo courtesy of Amrit Ocean Resort & Residences

Located on the exclusive shores of Surprise Lake, The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Miami Beach offers a unique outdoor space with vast terraces and balconies to enjoy the outdoors at home. This waterfront property has a rooftop pool deck with spacious cabanas and poolside grille, lush meditation garden and deeded boat slips on a private waterway. This peaceful oasis also has a spa and state-of-the-art fitness center to enhance day-to-day living.

Photo courtesy of Prive at Island Estates

In Oceana Bal Harbour’s penthouse, the wrap-around terrace and rooftop deck boasts 9,950-square-feet of outdoor living space, including an elevated pool and sunset deck, a heated infinity pool, a summer kitchen and an elaborate dining area. The entire pool area is adorned with lush vertical gardens designed by famed landscape architect, Enzo Enea. Every one of Oceana Bal Harbour’s spacious homes and terraces are designed to offer al fresco dining experiences and breathtaking views; whether it’s the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Biscayne Bay and the Bal Harbour marina to the west, or Miami’s intoxicating city skyline to the south.

Photo courtesy of Brickell City Centre

Amrit Ocean Resort and Residences will introduce a new way of mindful living in Palm Beach, Florida with its enhanced lifestyle experiences and customized programs that will be focused around the “Five Pillars of Wellness,” which are nutrition, fitness, mindfulness, sleep and relaxation.
Upon entering the grounds through a private ramp, guests and residents will be brought to an elevated level where they will find a captivating water wall and seven acres of beautiful terrain.
With countless features, the property will be comprised of two towers, each offering indoor and outdoor living with modern cabinetry, state-of-the-art appliances, designer fixtures and large sliding glass doors that open to covered terraces with spectacular water views.

Photo courtesy of DooArchitecture

Prive at Island Estates feature expansive terraces ranging from 760 square-feet to 1,800 square-feet in size with outdoor summer kitchens and elaborate views of the azure intracoastal, Sunny Isles’ dotted skyline and beyond. Its penthouse terraces also include rooftop infinity pools, dining greenery spaces and full outdoor summer kitchens.

Photo courtesy of Ocean Bal Harbour

RISE, one of the two sleek, 43-story premier luxury condominium tower that sits atop of Brickell City Centre, allows residents to enjoy the fresh outdoors and tropical Miami weather with an expansive half-acre amenity deck including tropical gardens, barbecue grills, heated lap and social pools, outdoor fitness areas and children’s play area.

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