By Myleah Diehl, MS, NCC
A few weeks ago, I was presented the opportunity to de-stress in a Himalayan salt room with the School-Based team. Initially, I was unsure what to expect. Although I was familiar with Himalayan salt lamps and had used them in my therapy room, I really didn’t know what they did. Thus, a few members of the team went to SALTEFX in Harrisburg.
Upon arriving, we were greeted by the owner, who started by explaining the potential health benefits of the salt room. She elaborated that, while relaxing in the salt cave, customers inhale dry salt-enriched air into their lungs, which cleans them. This, in turn, promotes better breathing, healthier skin, good sleep, improved physical fitness, and overall wellness. Further, salt rooms also have been used to treat depression and anxiety. She added that, reportedly, salt rooms can help reduce aversive symptoms for up to 12 months. With this information, my interest had been piqued.
We entered the room to find a heated floor covered in tiny salt rocks. Several pillows were provided to lay our head upon while we covered ourselves in the salt rocks. The owner directed us to lay on the floor and cover ourselves in as many or few rocks as we preferred. Shortly thereafter, we received additional salt rocks to hold in our hands. Very quickly, I felt the rocks making my palms sweaty. Apparently, this was removing toxins from my body through my palms. Another sensation that I, along with many of the other team members, soon felt was a pulsating feeling in my feet and stomach. According to the owner, this sensation was occurring in body areas that are afflicted by pain or stress. Interestingly, some of the group members who reported knee injuries indicated that they felt the pulsating specifically in the painful areas. After some time, our session concluded and the owner let us know that we would likely continue to excrete toxins through the bottoms of our feet, and that our sandals may feel wet. I definitely felt this effect.
Truthfully, going into this experience, all of us were somewhat skeptical. While unaware of the plethora of benefits the salt room potentially can offer, at the least we were excited to get an hour of being unplugged (cellphones are not allowed in the room). The beginning of our time in the room was spent talking, catching up, venting to one another, and seeing what everyone was feeling. However, as time went on, things got quieter and quieter as we settled in and enjoyed the relaxation aspect of the experience.
Ultimately, the salt room was a very unique and relaxing experience that I would definitely do again if given the opportunity. I was particularly interested in their yoga events in the salt room, as the combined benefits of both would be amazing to experience, and I hope to be able to participate in the future. Overall, I enjoyed getting to talk with the team and share some quality, albeit different, time with one another to de-stress. In addition to the reported physical benefits, the opportunity to connect with everyone and chat about our different schools, but similar day-to-day stressors, was one of the best aspects of this experience. In the end, I was really appreciative of what this activity afforded me, even if I left a little “salty”.