How Sitting In A Salt Room For 30 Minutes Changed The Way I Looked And Felt

Photo: AnikaNes / Shutterstock
woman lounging in salt room

It was Friday and I was exhausted. This was nothing new. Like many people throughout the world, I work more than one full-time job in order to make ends meet. I love the fast pace of my work life, but very often when the sun inches down beneath the horizon come Friday afternoon, I am usually totally shattered with fatigue. 

I have a couple of different ways of coping with this, but mainly what happens is that instead of going out with my friends, I stay home, go to bed relatively early, and sleep the next day as late as I can. It's a luxury and one I'm very appreciative to be able to take advantage of.

But last Friday, my usual method of getting recharged and relaxed was taken off the table. You see, after an hour break, I had to return back to work until 10 PM, which meant I'd be home by 11 PM at the earliest, so forget an early bedtime! I wouldn't even be eating dinner before midnight.

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This led me to a little bit of Googling in the vein of "quick places to nap in Manhattan." I didn't expect to find anything, and for the most part on this internet adventure, I didn't. But there was one notable exception: Breathe Salt Room.

You see, I'd read about salt rooms in the past, and this one was right across the street from my office, making it the perfect place to escape for an hour or so. 

Photo: Breathe Spa

So what's a salt room? A salt room is a small room usually found at a spa where the floors, walls, and ceiling are made of salt and where a large machine quietly fills the air in the room with salt. What is it supposed to do?

Well, according to Breathe's website, "Dry salt therapy, or halotherapy, is a holistic, drug-free, natural therapy using microparticles of salt to promote better breathing, healthier skin, sounder sleep, improved physical fitness and endurance, and overall wellness. Dry salt therapy also helps to alleviate symptoms of many respiratory and skin conditions."

Salt is an anti-inflammatory and while I don't know much about medicine, I do know that inflamed is the last thing a person wants to be. Plus, given my stress levels and my asthma, if this place could offer even a fraction of the benefits they promised it was worth giving a shot. Worst case scenario, I got to lay back in a lounge chair in a dimly lit room for 30 minutes, which is basically what I was hoping to do anyway. 

The salt room was located inside of a popular day spa in Manhattan. I made an appointment earlier in the afternoon and a sweet young woman with a terrible cold (legit, my sinuses ached for her) escorted me to the locker room where I left my purse, and then into the salt room itself.

Photo: Breathe Spa

It's weird to see a handful of strangers napping in a room made entirely out of pink sea salt, but by the time I'd slipped out of my shoes and taken up my spot in a chair, I was over it.

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It was just like the beach only instead of waves there was the gentle hum of the salt-dispersing machine, and instead of hundreds of people, there were, like, four other people present. 

Almost immediately I had a problem: I couldn't figure out how to get my reclining lounge chair to recline and lounge. Eventually, I figured I had to stop trying or risk getting yelled at by one of the other Salters. Thus, was I resigned to sitting upright, my feet quietly buried in the sand.

You can bring in music or a book or whatever you want during your time in the room. I neglected to do any of these things and so sat staring at all of the salt and concentrating on my breathing. I took a break in my fake-meditation practice when one of the functional lounge chairs was vacated and I scuttled across the salt (sharper than you'd think) and dove into the chair for the remainder of my time in the room.

When I was told that my half-hour was up, I was disappointed. It felt like I'd just paid $35 to sit in a pretty pink room with strangers, and while I'm happy to spend my money on ridiculous things, this was starting to feel like I'd crossed a line. 

Photo: Breathe Spa

But then something pretty spectacular happened: I started noticing little things. The redness that plagues my nose area was gone, my hair seemed shiny and voluminous, two things it very much never is. What's more, I felt re-energized, invigorated, and ready to face not just four more hours of work, but an entire weekend of hustling my buns to get stuff done.

When I signed out of the salt room, the woman behind the counter said, "I'll see you soon," and I definitely rolled my eyes (at least internally). But after a draining weekend was transformed into a centered walk in the proverbial park, you can bet I'll be back for another session of that good ol' salt.  

RELATED: This Crazy Thing Happens When You Eat Pink Himalayan Salt

Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman. Her work focuses on relationships, pop culture, and news. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr.