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Salt of the Earth Spa offers salty relaxation


September 18, 2019 | View PDF

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The warm and inviting main room at Salt of the Earth (4520 Broadway, Boulder) offers a relaxing atmosphere for salting therapy..

The health benefits of halotherapy were first observed nearly 200 years ago, but you had to be a Polish salt miner to get them. These days, all it takes to get your salty fix is a quick trip to North Boulder for a visit to Salt of the Earth spa, a "holistic relaxation and rejuvenation center" that promises relief for a variety of common ailments and illnesses.

"We get a lot of clients with allergies, sinus problems, and asthma," Salt of the Earth owner Pamela Martyna said. She opened her salting studio at 4520 Broadway in June, after being unable to find one in the area during an extended visit from Florida. "We also get a lot of people with skin issues. It's a natural detox, so even if you're healthy, you're out there breathing pollutants, and this can help."

Halotherapy at Salt of the Earth is a tranquil experience. Clients spend up to 45 minutes relaxing in one of two climate-controlled rooms, featuring soft lighting, warm colors, and pale salt crystals on the floor, on the walls, and billowing through the air. There is also an individual booth available for those who prefer a more intense session or some additional privacy.

Salting works when aerosolized salt particles are inhaled into the airways or settle on the skin. From there, the mineral's inherent "bactericide, mucokinetic, hydrophilic and anti-inflammatory properties" take over, according to the Salt Therapy Association, a professional organization that promotes halotherapy awareness and education.

In the lungs, this translates to less obstruction and thinner secretions, making it easier to breathe and expel excessive mucus.

No one knows this better than Martyna. By 2016, the semi-retired vocalist and realtor had just about given up on finding relief for her worsening asthma symptoms, when a friend suggested salt therapy. Martyna was skeptical at first, but liked the idea of a non-pharmaceutical intervention, and decided she had "nothing to lose." Three months later, Martyna was a convert to the full-time salt life.

"At the end of week two, I was wheezing in two-part harmony instead of three, and within four weeks, I wasn't wheezing at all," she said. "When I went in to see my doctor because my meds were expiring, my lungs were completely clear, and my doctor was completely amazed."

Those same natural properties also make salt an effective agent beyond the lungs, according to Martyna. In the upper respiratory system, halotherapy can ease sinus congestion and allergies, which helps prevent infections. Martyna has also noted reduced pain and swelling in her joints, which she attributes to salt's anti-inflammatory action.

On the skin, crystals absorb bacterial or other foreign matter, while simultaneously drawing moisture to the derma and promoting circulation. This can help ease outbreaks of acne, psoriasis, or eczema, or even help fight the effects of aging.

"I have sensitive skin and hormonal acne and I find that when I am salting regularly, it really helps relieve that irritation," Salt of the Earth general manager Tina Tran said. Tran is also a new convert, and salts at least two times per week. She said the process also provides more than just physical benefits.

"It's only 45 minutes, but as soon as I'm in the salt room, I'm usually in a meditative state, and five minutes in, I'll knock out and sleep for the whole session. But it will feel like I got several hours of sleep. It's very restorative."

Indeed, relieving stress and anxiety is another of the therapies' benefits, Martyna said, making it a good fit for competitive athletes, first responders, new or experienced moms, or anyone looking to clear their head, both literally and figuratively.

"We offer stressless chairs, from Denmark, and when you sit in them, you totally relax the body, and it goes into a sleep position," Martyna said. "When you sit in the main room in those stressless chairs, and just chill, you come out of there feeling totally relaxed. It's amazing."

Salting is safe for all ages, and Martyna encourages parents to bring even their youngest kids to the Beach room at the studio. Sessions start at $45, and 100% of all gratuities are donated to a local charitable organization, chosen by a randomly selected client. Since opening four months ago, Salt of the Earth has donated $100 each to the Mountain Flower Goat Charity, the Treasure House of Hope, and SPAN Boulder.

Jocelyn Rowley

The "beach room" at Salt of the Earth offers a playful setting for kids and groups.

To date, halotherapy has not gotten much attention from the mainstream medical or scientific community. It is largely regarded as an "alternative" treatment, and none of Martyna or the STA's claims have been evaluated by the FDA. Most medical references to the practice suggests its results are largely temporary or due to the placebo effect. However, Martyna thinks the tide may be changing.

"The Salt Therapy Association is studying it, and there's a lot of good information getting out because of them. Which is good because sometimes even a doctor may be able to help a patient with an alternative treatment if the traditional one isn't working for them. Like it wasn't for me. Now, I've found my way, fortunately."

To learn more about salting, visit the Salt Therapy Association at salttherapyassociation.org. To find out more about Salt of the Earth or to book a session, visit their website saltoftheearththerapy.com.


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