Halotherapy, also known as salt therapy, has been around for more than 150 years. It dates back to the salt mines and caves of Eastern Europe, where a Polish physician named Feliks Boczowski noticed that salt miners had fewer respiratory issues than the general population, which he attributed to the frequent inhalation of salt particles. In the 1950s, Eastern European physicians began simulating conditions found inside salt caves to offer as a form of respiratory therapy to patients. These days, many wellness centers and spas in the U.S. are incorporating salt therapy into their practices as well.
“Salt therapy works on many levels,” says Diana Leone, owner of The Salt Studio in Pasadena. “At the purest form, healing with salt relies on its natural antimicrobial properties to purify, draw out moisture, and reduce inflammation. The fine particles of pure sodium chloride can be inhaled deep into the lungs and are also absorbed through the pores, helping to reduce the uncomfortable inflammation of asthma, allergies, and skin conditions, and to draw out extra moisture and pollutants from the lungs in a gentle way.”
On a daily basis we encounter invisible charged particles in the air, known as positive and negative ions. Positive ions are commonly formed by pollution, dust, high winds, and humidity, and have been demonstrated to have negative effects on the body when exposed to them in excess. Some of these effects include fatigue, asthma, depression, and irritability. Negative ions, on the other hand, are abundant in nature—particularly in forests, at the beach, and around waterfalls—and are reported to have a positive effect one one’s health, mood, and energy levels.
“Being in a salt room provides an environment that is rich in negative ions, which makes it extremely easy to relax and detoxify your body of the unnatural positive ions we all encounter every day,” Leone says. “As a result, we get a chance to return to our natural state, recharge, and emerge feeling more alert yet relaxed. Negative ions also boost serotonin, so we can feel lighter and happier.”
Leone offers 45-minute sessions in her salt room but points out that the research-based benefit is shown to be 20 minutes, so anything beyond that is solely for relaxation purposes. The walls are made of pure sea salt, and Himalayan salt lamps are located throughout as a secondary form of salt therapy. While the effects of salt lamps are not as strong, they do emit negative ions and make a great addition to one’s bedroom, office, or other living space, contributing to a negative-ion atmosphere and promoting relaxation.
“I have seen many good results among my clients who come in for regular salt therapy,” Leone says. “People come here to treat everything from psoriasis and chronic coughs to common colds and sinus infections. It’s great for children and pregnant women as well. I recommend coming in anywhere from twice a week to treat a symptom or condition, to once a month for maintenance. Whether it’s for regular use as a treatment or occasional use for relaxation, there is a way for everyone to incorporate salt therapy into their lives.”
Guide to Healing Crystals
“Crystals have been used throughout history as sources of healing power,” says Jennifer Maimone, owner of metaphysical store Dual Crossroads in South Pasadena. “Each crystal has its own associated properties to help balance the body and manifest one’s intentions. They can be worn as jewelry, carried around in a pouch, or displayed in one’s home or office.” Here, Maimone shares a guide to some of the most popular crystals and their benefits.
Helps treat physical ailments and emotional issues, relieves stress, prevents nightmares.
Protects against negative energy; prevents drainage of one’s energy.
Channels positive energy from the sun for manifesting goals; encourages happiness, good luck, prosperity, and creativity.
Used to cleanse and reenergize other crystals; counteracts negative energy.
Clears one’s aura, provides protection, and helps to overcome negative emotions.
Magnifies feelings of self-love and the unconditional love of others; helps heal one from grief, trauma, or a broken heart.