This spring, for the first time in years, Cindy McKeever of Bel Air didn’t take her normal over-the-counter allergy medications. McKeever believes that salt therapy sessions at Bel Air’s Salt Works Spa are the reason. She has been a regular ever since she and her husband, Jay, booked a spa evening with two other couples as a holiday get-together in December.
People use salt to cook, soak away pain, heal various ailments, preserve food and even, long ago, as currency. Salt therapy, says Salt Works Spa owner Lauren Moseley, employs a particular salt that can be inhaled. It brings an assortment of therapeutic returns for the respiratory system and skin as well as a general sense of well-being.
The 45-minute salt therapy sessions take place in a room fashioned to simulate natural Himalayan salt caves. Several inches of pink Himalayan salt cover the floor, surrounded by walls covered in salt blocks. The lighting is dimmed, zero gravity chairs recline and soft music fills the space. Since salt tends to draw moisture from the air and lower the temperature, light blankets are on hand.
The decor, however, simply sets the scene for what makes a salt room therapeutic, which is a device called a Halogenerator that continually releases salt into the air.
“It takes heated salt, grinds it and micronizes it. This salt is pure pharmaceutical-grade sodium chloride,” Moseley says. “It is absorbable by the body.”
Clinical studies in the United States are limited, but advocates of dry salt therapy say it absorbs allergens, toxins and foreign substances in the respiratory tract. This can reduce inflammation and open airway passages. Salt is also a natural exfoliator.
Some customers like Bridget Butterfield of Bel Air, a mother of four who works full-time, simply say that the salt room is a place of uninterrupted relaxation.
Salt therapy is one of a number of services available at Salt Works Spa. They include massage therapies, facials, waxing, body scrubs and wraps, a full spectrum infrared sauna and massage beds.
Jennifer Dempsey has done most of them. The Bel Air resident underwent a bone marrow transplant in November and happened to stop at Salt Works Spa while seeking donations to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. After Moseley gave her a spa tour, Dempsey says, “I was hooked.”
Ever since, she adds, “I try something else. Chemo and radiation aged me. I have done facials, body salt scrubs, flexology, and acupuncture and acupressure in the salt room. My favorite is yoga in the salt room.”
For Moseley, a former X-ray technician, cleanliness is paramount. “Although salt is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-viral, we still use hospital grade cleaners to clean surfaces.”
She is a member of the World Halotherapy Association, a professional organization that certifies facilities that offer salt therapy, and is in the process of obtaining certification.
Dempsey appreciates that. “I don’t go to a lot of places because of exposure to germs, but I feel comfortable here," she says.
Brenda Taylor, 64, travels from Darlington to Salt Works Spa regularly. She takes part in salt therapy and other spa offerings as a personal wellness routine, but has also noticed an improvement in her psoriasis.
She says that Moseley has created a warm and welcoming respite and takes the time to educate customers on every service.
“I have been to a number of spas in my life. Lauren is giving back to the community with her knowledge and care for other people. This has just been my safe haven," she says.
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Salt Works Spa is located at 201 Gateway Drive, Suite J & K in Bel Air. The spa hosts special events, ongoing wellness classes and group parties. 443-819-3398. saltworksspa.com