Who Tried It: Adeline Duff, Style & Beauty Intern.
Why I Tried It: I love being up on the latest health crazes, and a salt cave seemed too intriguing to pass up.
What I Tried: A 40-minute salt cave session at Breathe Easy in New York City.
Level of Difficulty: I would have said 0, but because of the slight aggravation of having to wash off my salt-covered belongings, I’m going with a 1.
I’ve been hearing a lot about salt caves in the past year or so, first from a friend who suffers from anxiety and stress told me that after only one session, she got the best, most worry-free sleep of her life; as a chronic insomnia sufferer for years, that sounded too good to be true. A salt cave is basically a room (there are also salt rooms, salt beds, salty yoga and more) with walls covered with, or made of Himalayan salt. The floors are covered in salt too, so it’s almost like you’re walking on sand — only slightly crunchier. Salt cave therapy claims to aid with various ailments: colds, insomnia, allergies, anxiety and basically any kind of breathing issue.
They can be found all over the country — in N.Y.C., Breathe Easy is one of the biggest names for this kind of thing, so I booked a room at their Seventh Avenue location and headed over.
At first I had trouble locating it, because this particular location is in a medical-style building with a doctor’s-office type waiting area. Once I was escorted to the room— well, I can’t really explain what happens next, so I’ll quote the website: “Micron-sized particles of natural salt are emitted from halogenation, which reduces inflammation and detoxifies the lungs and sinuses.” I felt the air getting saltier and saltier — you can literally taste it in your mouth. I sat back and felt the Himalayan salt being absorbed into my skin and lungs for about 45 minutes while pondering the universe (or more accurately, what I’d be having for dinner that night). The salt caves, while relaxing, don’t quite inspire that level of brain-tune-out that a spa does, so I did my best to get as zen as possible for a high-strung New Yorker.
As soon as the session ended, I learned one lesson very quickly: Don’t take your belongings in the room with you! My leather jacket and bag were covered with salt, but luckily it all came off easily with water. I noticed my skin and hair tasted like salt (yes, I did lick my skin and hair to see, let’s not judge) so I took a quick shower when I got home, which I followed with my usual dry-brushing and coconut oil-applying ritual. As I don’t suffer from any breathing issue, nor did I have a cold at the time, I was mainly looking to see if the salt therapy helped with my sleeping. I forewent my usual homeopathic sleeping remedies, slipped on my sleeping mask and actually drifted off into a comfortable slumber (a totally foreign experience), and the craziest part? This morning-hater woke up almost two hours earlier than I usually do. That meant I had time to apply a sheet mask, eye patches, meditate and (gasp!) I even had time to sit down and eat breakfast.
In the end I would (and probably will) keep going back to really get the maximum benefits that salt therapy claims to offer. It was definitely relaxing and it’s worth trying for the experience alone, regardless of whether you suffer from any of the ailments it’s meant to target. It was fun, and at $45, pretty affordable, plus I got a great nights sleep — I could be a seasoned (pun intended) pro at this!