Last weekend, thanks to a Groupon offer, I tried out Bethesda Salt Cave, touted as the first and only salt cave in the mid-Atlantic state of Maryland. I opted for the special deal for two sessions and thankfully had a willing volunteer, my 12 year old son, who tagged along for the halotherapy experience.
The salt cave consists of chunks of imported Himalayan pink salt adorning the walls, with ground salt on the floor (think ‘beach’ but instead of sand you are walking on salt).
Paired with calm lighting and relaxing music, you are invited to chose a seat either in an anti-gravity lounge chair, or, lie down on comfortable cushions on the ground.
Halotherapy has been practiced in Poland since the mid-19th century. Its primary wellness claim is that salt inhalation can alleviate allergy and asthma symptoms. Stress relief which in turn can relieve hypertension is also cited as a health benefit. According to Bethesda Salt Cave, health benefits also include:
- Clear & dry out airway mucous & improve airflow;
- Provide anti-inflammatory & bactericidal effects;
- Reduce bronchial hyper responsiveness;
- Improve lung function; and
- Acts as an expectorant clearing unwanted inhaled particles from the lungs. [Source: Bethesda Salt Cave brochure.]
So how did the salt cave experience shape up? I confess that the outcome was the opposite of what I expected going in….my son, who is very extrovert and never stops talking, fell asleep cuddled up on the floor on the comfortable cushions and woke up completely refreshed and relaxed. In fact, he says that prior to his session, he had tension in his shoulder and minor pain in his finger, but after he woke up, both the tension and pain had completely dissipated.
As for myself, I was too intrigued by the salt cave itself and spent about 10 minutes of the 45 minute session snapping photos. The remaining time, I tried to relax, but my mind raced as I thought about the potential this therapy could have if I could calm my brain down enough to enjoy it! Definitely worth trying this again to see if I can relax. The salt cave also offers meditation and yoga sessions, so I will perhaps follow up with those now that I am familiar with the environment.