Halotherapy Is The Wellness Trend That Takes You Inside A Gorgeous Salt Cave

by Caroline Burke
Getty Images/Anya Semenoff/Contributor

Even if you're the most adventurous seeker of new beauty trends, the latest wellness opportunity will probably blow your mind. Salt therapy, otherwise known as halotherapy, is all about healing the body, simply by way of breathing incredibly salty air. But for people who are wondering what salt therapy is and know nothing about it, you might be surprised by this one essential aspect of the experience: You are literally in the heart of a massive salt cavern, straight out of one of those mummy movies you watched growing up. You're surrounded by crystallized salt, and the only thing you have to do is sit there and enjoy the view (and the smell, I guess).

The benefits of salt therapy — especially for those with respiratory issues like asthma or chronic bronchitis — are pretty well-documented, with one such study from the Journal of Medicine and Life revealing that halotherapy can trigger anti-inflammatory mechanisms in the body that help open up your airways to improve your breathing. Plus, according to Five Wellbeing Studio + Spa, salt therapy may also have a hand in increasing serotonin production (i.e. it could improve your moods), as well.

But how good for you is salt therapy, really? To get to the bottom of this unique trend, Elite Daily spoke with Leo Tonkin, CEO and founder of Salt Chamber, a leading authority in all things halotherapy, who says the treatment is an excellent way to cleanse and detoxify your system.

"People are exposed on a daily basis to pollutants, airborne diseases, bacteria, allergens, and other irritating and harmful factors," Tonkin explains. "Halotherapy [can] invigorate the whole body with increased lung capacity and oxygen intake."

According to Healthline, there are technically two methods of halotherapy: the wet kind, which you've probably already heard of, and includes gargling salt water and/or using flotation tanks filled with salt water. The second method is the dry kind, which is the one that Tonkin is referencing, and involves going to a salt cavern to inhale dry salt particles.

Salt therapy has many restorative uses, but the respiratory benefits it provides are especially important.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 12 people in the United States have asthma, and that number is apparently growing every year — which might be why a wellness routine focused on respiratory health is becoming so popular in the first place.

While these respiratory benefits are substantial, Tonkin says, salt therapy can be great for just about anyone, even if you don't have any breathing issues that you're aware of. So how does this treatment work, exactly?

In regards to your respiratory system, Tonkin explains that dry salt particles have what are called "bactericide, mucokinetic, hydrophilic, and anti-inflammatory properties," and when you inhale them, it widens your airway passages, soothing and reducing any inflammation you might have in your respiratory tract.

"Dry salt particles are also known to accelerate the transportation of mucus, the elimination of residual tar, and foreign allergens," Tonkin adds. "A clean respiratory system naturally results in higher oxygen intake, increased energy, and an improved immune system."

In other words, the easier it is for you to breathe, the less your body has to work to make it happen. Simple enough, right?

Beyond the benefits for your respiratory system, salt therapy can also work miracles with your skin.

According to Tonkin, in addition to improving your skin’s microcirculation (aka the circulation of blood in your blood vessels), halotherapy also helps balance your skin’s pH levels and speeds up skin cells' regenerative processes. "Dry salt pulls out harmful toxins from the skin and replenishes the body with the moisture it may be lacking," he adds.

Now, I think it's time we acknowledge an obvious detail here, aside from the awesome health benefits of halotherapy: Getting a wellness treatment inside of a literal salt cave looks cool AF, and honestly, I'd go to one just for the sheer sake of the epic Instagram opportunities.

Although not all halotherapy treatments are done in organic salt caves, some of them are, and they look absolutely wild.

But where, exactly, do you find salt caverns like these? The good news is, a quick internet search for "salt therapy" will show you there are way more services and spas that offer the treatment than you might think (Tonkin's own company specializes in providing access to salt therapy products), and a single session at this salt cave in Montauk will run you $40.

Honestly, that's pretty affordable, if you ask me. And, again, need I mention the incredible 'gram opportunities that lie within these caves? I'm definitely sold.