Despite advances in modern medicine, there has been a boom in complementary and alternative therapies in recent years. Valued at $55.2 billion in 2018, the global market for this health segment is expected to reach in excess of $160 billion by 2025. These natural and holistic treatments, which include meditation, acupuncture, homeopathy, aromatherapy, and sound baths, can be applied to support physical and mental health.
Another emerging alternative therapy is salt therapy, also known as halotherapy. Popularized in Europe, this practice involves immersing oneself in a salt cave with walls adorned entirely with Himalayan salt and various other therapeutic elements. Salt particles are believed to help decrease inflammation. Breathing in the anti-bacterial microns in these caves, then, can potentially alleviate symptoms of allergies, cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and even provide an energy boost.
Below are five popular salt caves.
1. Louisville Salt Cave
Based in Louisville, Kentucky, the Louisville Salt Cave has been in operation since 2015. It is led by a team of four women including founder Nicole Bartlett as well as two other certified Reiki practitioners. Bartlett, who is also certified in Reiki I and II, is a proponent of holistic healing. She launched the business to provide Louisville residents with alternative preventative health options.
The salt cave itself was constructed with 5 tons of pink Himalayan salt crystals that are more than 250 million years old and contain in excess of 80 trace minerals. As many as six people can be in the cave at one time, but communication isn’t encouraged.
Instead, rest-inducing music is played and visitors are encouraged to practice mindfulness with deep-breathing exercises or meditation. They can even sleep. Individuals must be at least 10 years old to sign up for these sessions. Louisville Salt Cave, however, does offer a Kid’s Play program for children younger than 10.
2. Roslyn Salt Cave
Featured on LA Unscripted in January 2021, Roslyn Salt Cave in Los Angeles, California, offers 45-minute sessions in rooms filled with 5 tons of pink Himalayan salt. Visitors sit in a zero-gravity chair covered in a soft blanket for the duration of the session and are asked to do no more than simply focus on their breathing.
One of the unique features at Roslyn Salt Cave is its living Himalayan salt water cascade. This contributes to a higher concentration of salt air which, in turn, allows the body to more efficiently absorb saline for the purpose of strengthening the immune system. In addition to the salt bricks that make up the walls, the salt cave floor consists of large grains of salt.
Roslyn Salt Cave was also featured on George to the Rescue. In the episode, Wendy Shulman takes host George Oliphant on a tour of the facility as part of his research to rehabilitate the Lavender Room for COVID-19 front-line workers at Northwell Health’s North Shore University Hospital.
3. Indianapolis Salt Cave
The Indianapolis Salt Cave and Halotherapy Center was launched by Stephanie Patterson after she experienced the benefits of a salt cave while on a family trip several years ago. Now in business for more than three years, it offers not only halotherapy but also infrared sauna sessions as well as hand and foot detox, the latter of which purportedly alleviates joint pain and arthritis via heated salt blocks.
Like other facilities, the walls of the salt cave are decorated with pink Himalayan salt and visitors sit in zero-gravity chairs. There’s also a pair of water cascades which contribute to creating a calming and peaceful environment.
“You’re breathing those salt particles deep into your lungs and what they’re doing is they’re breaking up, drying up any gunk, any mucus that you have in your airways,” notes Patterson. “It’s also falling on any skin that you have exposed and killing bacteria that causes things like eczema, psoriasis—rosacea even.”
4. Salt Room LV
There are at least five halotherapy facilities in Nevada, one of which is Salt Room LV. This business is a little different in that it goes beyond normal halotherapy sessions to also offer maderotherapy, a message technique that incorporates wooden instruments, as well as Dead Sea salt glow body scrubs, facials, and even yoga and meditation classes.
5. Salt Mine in Ukraine
Outside of the US, a natural salt cave once part of a gypsum mine in Ivanhrad, Ukraine, is a key contributor to the Eastern European nation’s booming industrial tourism industry. The tunnels in the former mine are upwards of 6.5 meters high and between 7 and 12 meters wide. Another popular industrial tourism destination is the salt mine near Soledar.
Rather than spending 45-minute sessions in a manufactured salt cave, visitors to the salt mine’s “salt symphony” often spend weeks in the cave to glean the benefits of halotherapy. There are beds in the cave and visitors often spend time during the day watching movies, playing table tennis, or doing group exercise. There’s also a bar in the cave.