277 Glenferrie Road, Malvern VIC (one of several locations)
I had never heard of salt therapy before Salts of the Earth contacted me recently to generously invite me along for a session. Since I am always open to new experiences (especially in the wellness space), I jumped at the opportunity to give it a whirl. As usual, I have been burning the candle too aggressively lately so didn’t have time to read up on what it involved or the potential benefits before I arrived (so I turned up in an entirely inappropriate black dress that was very quickly covered in a white layer of salt). It just so happened that the salt therapy session was everything my body needed that particular day, so the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
What does a salt therapy look like?
Salt therapy (also known as Halotherapy) literally involves sitting in a room while the air is filled with pharmaceutical grade salt. The treatment room at the Malvern branch of Salts of the Earth has beautiful white curved walls and the floor is covered in white salt (not the same salt you inhale), so you almost feel like you’re walking onto the beach when you step inside. A serene fish tank acts as a window between the main room and the children’s room (so cute) and each is filled with chairs (so the experience isn’t a private one, which I found strange to begin with but got used to given that you’re really just sitting there doing nothing private at all). They give you a hairnet and shoe protectors for hygiene and allocate you a comfortable massage chair (woop!) in the room. Phones are only allowed if switched on silent (and are not recommended) and everything else is left in lockers outside. In short, while the experience isn’t exactly “hands on” like a massage would be, it is still designed to be super relaxing and zen – just what I needed!
How does it work?
As I learnt in my introductory brief, salt therapy is a natural and non-invasive therapy that helps relieve congestion, inflammation and allergies by cleaning the airways and skin. During the 45-minute session, a “Halogenerator” grinds up pharmaceutical grade salt into tiny particles that become airborne when pumped into the salt room through a pipe in one of the walls – it feels a little bit like a winter haze coming on, so the salt is quite visible in the air and you know when the treatment has started. The dry salt particles are then inhaled into the lungs and respiratory passages and the anti-inflammatory properties of salt help reduce swelling in the respiratory tract and loosen congestion to allow easier and improved breathing. Salt also has anti-inflammatory benefits for the skin, helping to reduce infections and irritations.
How did my session go?
I initially wasn’t quite sure how the whole sitting-in-a-chair-just-breathing-for-45-minutes thing was going to go down, but once I knew it was intended to be a relaxing and peaceful experience I was clearer on what I was supposed to do. Literally all you do is lie there and enjoy the massage chairs, almost like a bit of a meditation but with many incidental health benefits from just being in the room. I supposed you could do salt therapy while working, but Salts of the Earth have made their salt room a place of peace. So I snuggled into my massage chair and put my phone away – shock horror! I was told to expect a little bit of coughing and sniffing during the session, which was just a sign that things were being cleared out successfully. I did have a tingling feeling in my throat at the very beginning as my body adjusted to the salt in the air, and I coughed for a few minutes before I settled in to a nice deep breathing cycle. Having no expectations, I was pleasantly surprised to feel my breathing deepen almost straight after that. I had asthma as a child and occasionally find it hard to breathe deeply, especially when I’m tired, so I noticed the difference straight immediately.
How did I feel afterwards?
Once I had lost the need to cough, I dozed off pretty quickly and was asleep for the rest of the time. When I woke up, I could actually hear the loosened congestion straight away when I talked and was breathing noticeably deeper. I wouldn’t say I was sceptical beforehand, but I had no particular expectations so it was interesting to feel a difference so quickly. I suspect the real impact is seen only after multiple sessions (and when you actually have some kind of respiratory or skin disturbance), but I’m glad to have been able to see salt therapy’s potential. I also enjoyed a very good night’s sleep, which is something they had mentioned. The whole “group relaxation” thing is a strange new concept to get used to, but once you do it’s quite an enjoyable experience. For people with serious skin problems who may need to be more scantily clad, there is in fact a private room but reserved for legitimate need. There’s nothing intrusive about the shared room in any case – the seats have enough space between them, the lights are dimmed and you’re likely asleep anyway! Definitely worth a shot even just for the experience!
Read more about Salts of the Earth here.
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