Story by Heather Lowry | Photography by Michelle Jameson
Think you need less salt? Maybe not. There’s a new spa treatment that more homeopathic seekers are soaking up: halotherapy.
Clarkesville Salt Spa, owned by Scott and Linda Crossman, offers dry salt therapy for those who suffer from allergies, sinus infections, eczema, acne, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cystic fibrosis, plus other maladies.
The antimicrobial property of salt reportedly helps rid the body of toxins and relieve symptoms. Yet it’s important to remember, it is not a medical treatment, nor a cure.
But for those looking for additional support to help treat their afflictions, salt therapy offers a natural, affordable addition to medical treatment.
Halotherapy uses pharmaceutical grade crystalline sodium chloride manufactured under a stringent process. It’s intended for a variety of pharmaceutical applications, including preparation of saline solutions for dialysis and injection. The finely ground salt is dispersed through a halogenerator and breathed in so the salt gets deep into the lungs’ bronchi and alveoli while coating the skin.
“You can’t see the dusting or any of the salt that is in the air,” Scott Crossman said. “We keep the room in a negative pressure to help sweep the salt across.”
Scott keeps the humidity below 50 percent at all times and the temperature in the 70s.
“We have some clients that come in from Apple Mountain Resort when the pollen hits. We also have some cystic fibrosis clients we have helped immensely, and they almost don’t need their daytime inhalers.”
According to the Salt Therapy Association, salt has been used for healing and therapeutic qualities for thousands of years across the globe. But it has only recently gained popularity as a spa treatment. Salt therapy is said to support the immune system by thinning and reducing excess mucus while reducing airway inflammation. The body is better able to eliminate allergens and pollutants as the mucus thins and constriction in the bronchi is reduced.
“They are starting to find that using this in operating rooms helps cut down on infections, mostly for outpatient procedures. Salt therapy was discovered with mining of the Himalayan salts. And Europeans also flocked to the Black Sea for years to bathe in the salt.”
Scott knows first-hand the benefits of salt therapy. He says his wife found out about it on Facebook, so he started going to help with his COPD. During his treatments, he found it not only helped ease his symptoms for a time, it also helped his sleep apnea and snoring.
“I started to naturally breathe through my nose and sleep with my mouth closed. It helps a certain percentage of sleep apnea sufferers, mainly mouth breathers,” he said.
Scott says the salt helps to dry anything abnormal in your nose and airways. It also helps detoxify and open airways for better breathing. As for skin conditions, if you have oily skin, the salt helps to dry it leaving behind the body’s natural lubricants. So the other phenomenon is that if you have dry skin, the salt moisturizes it.
“That’s the weird thing about it. It helps with both dry and oily skin conditions.”
“That’s the weird thing about it. It helps with both dry and oily skin conditions,” he said.
The Crossmans wanted to help others discover the healing powers of salt, so in October of 2015, they opened Clarkesville Salt Spa on the downtown square. The spa offers 45-minute sessions for both adults and families. In addition to the salt put through the halogenerator, each of the two rooms available have pure Himalayan salt floors, much like a pebble beach.
Children who suffer from allergies, asthma, rosacea or dermatitis can have fun while obtaining the benefits of dry salt therapy. In the family room is a table and chairs for reading or coloring, as well as toys where the kids can play with the salt, comparable to playing in a sand box. They can also look out the open glass windows or explore the oceanic mural on the opposite wall. Parents can relax on the reclining chairs or play with the kids. The Himalayan salt pebbles are perfectly safe, Scott said. Kids inevitably try tasting the salt.
The adults-only room has six reclining chairs. The back wall comprises Himalayan salt panels illuminated by two shades of violet LED lights. Scott said the low light violet color is to promote balance and well-being. Soothing music is played to help mind and body relax.
For both rooms, the 45-minute sessions start at quarter past the hour. Patients enter the room and the generator is turned on, dispersing the salt throughout. An exhaust fan keeps the room in negative pressure with low humidity to help sweep the salt across the room. As you breathe in the salt, it enters your nasal passages and lungs and coats your skin.
The Crossmans are keeping this therapy affordable for everyone. One session is $30, with discounts for seniors. There is also the option to pay a monthly fee for unlimited visits.
It’s easy to make an appointment; not only can you walk-in until 5 p.m., you can use the Mind Body Connect app to schedule an appointment with one click, which guarantees you a spot. After 5 p.m., a session is by appointment only. The spa is also open on Saturdays.
The only thing you need to bring, Scott said, is a clean pair of socks. Cellphones are fine so long as they are set to silent.
For more information, you can call Clarkesville Salt Spa at 706-839-1436, or visit www.clarkesvillesaltspa.com.
Michelle Jameson contributed to this story