What if we told you there was a simple way to improve everything from your respiratory system to your skin to your sleep—and all you needed was some salt to reap the benefits? No, we don’t mean adding extra salt to your diet. Dry salt therapy, a.k.a. halotherapy, is a natural treatment that involves chilling in a room filled with pink Himalayan salt in an effort to get rid of symptoms associated with various health conditions.
As of right now, there aren’t any scientific studies proving the benefits of dry salt therapy. That being said, there is anecdotal evidence that it works. Amber Berger, co-founder of Salthaus Modern Salt Rooms in New York City, explains that dry salt therapy has been around for hundreds of years because so many people say it does wonders for them.
“It’s a natural detox for the body,” she says. “It reduces stress, anxiety, and skin conditions and boosts recovery and your immune system. It also improves sleep, offers headache relief, and enhances athletic performance,” Berger adds.
Salt is both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, which gives it its benefits. The salt will absorb impurities from your body as well as loosen mucus in your lungs. It will also improve your skin’s moisture barrier. Those with conditions including allergies, bronchitis, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea often find that their symptoms feel better after dry salt therapy. “My skin definitely looks better,” says Berger. “I’ve noticed less breakouts.”
Dry salt therapy is typically offered at spas or centers dedicated solely to the wellness treatment. Treatment rooms are filled with pink Himalayan salt, and the salt is also ground down and pumped into the air. At Salthaus, sessions last 45 minutes, although they also offer a 20 minute lunch hour session for those in a time crunch, says Berger. At most dry salt therapy locations, including Salthaus, you’ll lie on a reclining chair in a salt-filled room (along with other patrons) while you relax (that means no scrolling through Instagram!) and let the salt do its work.
At some salt therapy spas, you may have the option for a more private experience in a salt bed. For this version of dry salt therapy, it’s best to change into a bathing suit so that salt particles can land on your skin and improve skin conditions. You’ll be enclosed by a Plexiglass cover, so while a salt bed does offer a more concentrated treatment, it makes the experience a little claustrophobic.
Berger recommends sessions once or twice a week to maintain results. “If you have a condition, the more you come the better,” says Berger, adding that you should pay attention to how your body reacts to determine how often is right for you. Keep in mind that dry salt therapy isn’t cheap. At Salthaus, for example, sessions cost $40 a pop; at Fresh Coast Salt Therapy, located in Chicago’s REVITALAB, a single session costs $45.
Beyond the health benefits of dry salt therapy, Berger likes to describe it as “forced relaxation time.” She says, “We’re all so overly connected, it’s nice to take a moment to just be.” Customers often tell her they feel light, open, and airy after a session.