One of the best things about a seaside vacation is the bracing salt air—writers have been pontificating about it for centuries. Now the wellness industry is trying to turn the curative powers of salt into its next big spa business. A new crop of salt therapy centers is popping up all over the country, where guests pay about a dollar a minute for the privilege of sitting in a room with air spiked with salt.

Proponents say inhaled sodium chloride boasts serious benefits to lung and skin health, facilitating deep breathing, ameliorating asthma symptoms, clearing up acne breakouts and soothing psoriasis flare-ups.

The key, according to Salt Studio of Pasadena, California, is that salt is a natural disinfectant with both anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. “Halotherapy,” as it’s officially called, is safe even for children, and has been around since ancient Roman days (it regained popularity, after a multi-century slump, in 19th-century Eastern Europe).

According to Prevention magazine, a Finnish study found that asthma sufferers experienced a 34% reduction in symptoms after two weeks of daily halotherapy. Devotees swear by it for nipping colds in the bud and minimizing the debilitating effects of hay fever.

But skeptics say research pickings are slim and consumer advocates warn against halotherapy centers, which lack ventilation systems that infuse dry salt into the air. Salt walls, lamps and floors may look pretty, but they can’t do much for your lungs, skin or immune system.

Want to know whether this new treatment is worth its salt? Guess you’ll just have to give it a try—and make sure to come back and give us the scoop.

 

Sources:

  1. Prevention Magazine: Dry Salt Air Therapy
  2. MindBodyGreen.com: I Sat in a Room Full of Salt in the Name of Beauty
  3. Salt Studio Pasadena