Two years ago, Carrie Wright could barely complete a thought. She was commuting up to three hours to and from work. She was a busy mom of young twins. Thinking through and implementing strategies as a marketing professional had become increasingly challenging. She was looking for a way to balance her life when she discovered halotherapy.
Halo is the Greek for salt, and halotherapy or salt therapy is one of the newest trends in wellness. Spas offering salt therapy and stand-alone salt therapy rooms have been popping up across the country in recent years.
Wright became such a devoted believer in the use of halotherapy to relax and de-stress that she wanted to share the benefits with others. This summer, she opened Intown Salt Room in Grant Park joining about a half-dozen salt rooms in the metro area that offer salt therapy.
“It was a personal ambition for me because I really just believed in the benefits of dry salt therapy and the relaxation around a salt room. Sitting in a room of Himalayan salt is very calming,” said Wright.
Modern salt therapy is derived from speleotherapy or cave therapy which evolved in the mid-1800’s when a Polish physician observed that salt miners seemed to experience health benefits from breathing in microfine particles of salt. It was a stark contrast to miners of coal or quartz who often experienced major respiratory damage.
Speleotherapy began to spread across Europe throughout the 20th century but not everyone had access to caves. The invention of the Halogenerator, a machine which crushes salt into fine particles and disperses it throughout the air brought the rise of halotherapy in the late-20th century.
The first time Wright visited a salt room, she was nervous. “I wondered what the salt in the air would look like. The first five to ten minutes I was trying to come off of my anxiousness,” she said. But by the end of the 45-minute session, she was mush.
Wright began visiting local salt rooms at least once a month. Over time she noticed the redness in her face began to subside and she was sleeping better. “It helped me find a change of scenery, relax and catch my breath,” Wright said.
Salt therapy is generally targeted to people with respiratory conditions such as asthma or allergies, individuals with skin conditions including eczema or psoriasis and anyone who is seeking to improve their general sense of wellness and health.
Some members of the medical community, however caution that research studying the benefits of salt therapy are inconclusive. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation, for example, concluded in 2016 that based on current research, salt therapy is not likely to make asthma better but it also isn’t likely to hurt most asthma sufferers. What everyone does agree on is using salt therapy to help to reduce stress and encourage relaxation.
Even though she was enjoying the benefits of salt therapy, traveling to salt rooms in Cobb County or Peachtree City made it hard to fit sessions into her schedule. Wright began researching the industry then she put together a business plan and secured financing to open a salt room in her own neighborhood. Wright knew she didn’t want to go into the spa business, so she came up with a model that would allow her to have a standalone salt room.
Intown Salt Room features a breathing room of Himalayan salt where guests sit for solo sessions breathing deeply as the Halogenerator clicks on and off dispersing salt into the air. There is also a meditation room which combines Himalayan salt with sound therapy for relaxation. Zero gravity Wave Loungers give your entire body a relaxing experience. Pricing for 30 minute sessions start at $40 for the breathing room and $25 for meditation with sound therapy.
Men, women and children experiencing everything from snoring to skin conditions have come to Intown Salt Room seeking relief, Wright said. While some are knowledgeable about salt therapy, many others have come hoping to learn more and find other ways to address their individual concerns rather than relying solely on medications, Wright said.
“It is another opportunity for individuals to incorporate different things into their routines and find that time to unplug. That is the most important thing,” Wright said. “I wanted the biggest message to be that you can find 30 minutes to relax and breathe.”
Intown Salt Room, 563 Memorial Dr SE UNIT CU, Atlanta, 678-974-7867, intownsaltroom.com