Hidden in a concrete jungle in Bondi Junction, next to a busy Westfield car park entrance, lies a sanctuary which boasts many health benefits.
Salt Rooms is a licensed Salt Therapy Clinic. Salt Therapy is used as a natural and drug-free alternative to assist the body to get rid of toxins. It involves spending time in the microclimate found inside salt mines and caves. Salt mines and caves are natural deposits that were formed as a result of the evaporation of ancient lakes and seas.
It is said that Salt Therapy can benefit people who suffer from respiratory conditions including asthma, hayfever and snoring, as well as skin ailments such as eczema and ACNE. There are also claims that Salt Therapy can boost the immune system, increase lung capacity and stamina in athletes, and relieve jet lag.
Background & History Salt Therapy is a relatively new form of therapy in Australia. However, Salt Therapy is a common and medically recognised practice across Eastern Europe and Russia since the early 19th Century. The story goes that Felix Boczkowski, a Polish doctor at the Wieliczka salt mine, observed that the presence of dry salt particles in the salt mine had healing qualities. He noticed that the miners did not suffer from the respiratory conditions that were common at the time.
Salt Rooms understand that the majority of us aren't multi-millionaires who can jet over to visit the salt caves of Eastern Europe at a whim. So the clinic aims to recreate these natural salt caves right here in Sydney so Sydneysiders can also reap the health benefits.
Opened in 2010, Salt Rooms was the first clinic of its kind to open in Australia. Since then, many clinics have started to pop-up in Sydney and cities around Australia.
The Experience When I first set out to experience the Salt Rooms, I had no idea what to expect. I don't have asthma or allergies but thought it would be a new experience and if it improved my skin and general health – what did I have to lose?
The building's exterior looked pretty ordinary and the lane way looked a little shady. But like the saying goes "Don't judge a book by its cover."
Salt Rooms Australia: the building's exterior from the foot path
Salt Rooms is a professional set-up and I was warmly welcomed by the receptionist. Step one involved putting on a sexy pair of shoe covers and packing away my belongings into a locker. I then entered the Salt Rooms.
My sexy shoe covers...it's important to wear them to prevent contaminating the floor salts
There are two Salt Rooms on the premises – dubbed the "Adult room" and "Kids' play room." To recreate the microclimate inside a salt cave, the rooms are built using blocks of salt rock mined from deep underground. The temperature and humidity levels inside the rooms are controlled. A machine gently blows micoscopic salt particles into the rooms. I was assured that the salt particles in the air weren't the same as the table salt found in the local supermarket, but consisted of 'pharmaceutical salt' imported from Germany and certified as safe for inhaling.
The salt room walls are made up of these blocks of salt rock
The room features three leather recliner chairs divided by glass partitions – creating individualised 'pods'. Each 'pod' has a Himalayan salt lamp (which adds to the ambience of the room), a small table and a reading lamp (for practicality's sake). For added comfort, a super soft blanket is available for you to snuggle in. This room is carpeted by a layer of salt – making the floor look like it's been covered by snow.
Inside the Adult Room: The recliners are sooo comfortable
A session in the room lasts for about 45 minutes. During this time, the lights in the room are dimmed and each person is encouraged to relax in their own 'pod.' Soft music is played in the background. You may want to bring your own earphones and I-Pod if you are not a fan of elevator-style music.
The time spent in the Salt Room is a really great chance to have some quality "me" time, put your feet up, draw, write, read (or if you must…play Candy Crush) and really relax. Apparently it is common for people to fall asleep during the session. I could really see why. It was so comfortable in the recliners I was close to taking a nap myself.
If you wish to share the Salt Rooms experience with others, Salt Rooms allow up to three people in the room during a session. I have booked a session with two friends and enjoyed chatting away the whole time.
Kids' Play Room
Out of curiosity, I asked to have a look at the Kids' Play Room. Inside, there was a shelf filled with toys, puzzles, games and books. And instead of a sand pit, there was a salt pit.
During a salt therapy session, children need to be accompanied by an adult. On the plus side, the accompanying adult enters free of charge.
Inside the Kids' Play Room: Looks like a lot of fun
I was told that the Salt Room also offers massages and that there was currently a special offer for July 2013: a one hour massage for $59 (regular price $80).
In terms of health benefits, Salt Therapy is not designed to be a miracle cure but a complementary therapy. The specialists at Salt Rooms consult with individuals to create a treatment plan suitable for the specific condition.
I would like to make it clear that I am not a doctor or medical practitioner of any kind, so I would recommend that if you are considering Salt Therapy in treating a current ailment, that you do your research and consult a doctor beforehand.
In terms of experiencing the Salt Rooms as a unique form of relaxation, I have enjoyed both my visits. I have found them truly relaxing and a great 'time-out' from the busy chaos of day-to-day life.
As one of 5 children growing up in the 60/70's, with asthma and eczema, we spent a lot of time at the beach and had a salt pool installed at home. No brainer that salt is a great cure for for some people. Great article and always good to hear of new options! The beach is free!
We do live in the 'lucky country' !!