Salt may be intermittently banned from our plates, but that hasn't stopped the trace-mineral-rich compound, renowned for its antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties, from turning up in our spas. Though salt has long been popular in the form of scrubs, many spas are beginning to delve into salt therapy, also known as speleotherapy or halotherapy. Salt cures originally hail from Eastern Europe.
Salt mine workers noted benefits to their respiratory system and skin, encouraging sufferers to spend time in naturally occurring salt caves. Modern experts such as Dr. Alina V. Chervinskaya have attempted to simulate these conditions in a controlled environment. The resulting speleotherapy is gaining a devoted following throughout Asia, particularly in cities where pollution exacerbates respiratory issues.
Hong Kong's Inhalo Spa founders Caroline Goldsmith-Shamir and her husband Omri Shamir were impressed by the improvement to his asthma when he discovered the therapy in Israel. Inspired by their personal success with the treatment, they launched one of the top spas for speleotherapy in the world and the first of its kind in Hong Kong. Regular treatments reportedly relieve breathing difficulties, sinusitis, allergies and bronchial issues and improve skin problems like eczema and psoriasis.
One of Inhalo’s three salt-encrusted rooms is a Salt Playground where kids (from six-months-old) can play with toys and games on the sand-like salt floor during their 30-minute session. Adults get 50 minutes, and a higher concentration of salt in the air, in either the Himalayan Salt suite for couples or the Salt Chalet for groups of six. During each session, participants inhale approximately five milligrams of pure, man-made, dry sodium chloride aerosol. The tiny particles hold a negative ion charge and detoxify the airways, giving the lungs a spring cleaning. According to Goldsmith-Shamir, the treatment also softens skin, reduces stress and improves sleep. Participants can recline on a lounger, watch nature programs, book a head massage or simply close their eyes and breathe for 50 minutes of therapeutic relaxation.
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