The use of salt therapy has evolved from the ancient caves of Eastern and Central Europe and Asia to right here in WNY. In ancient Greece, Hippocrates, the father of medicine, frequently made use of salt in his medical treatments. Much later in the mid-1800s, Polish health official, Dr. Felix Boczkowski, noticed salt mine workers never became ill with any lung diseases like the coal miners and their black lungs did. In fact he noticed, that the miners in salt caves actually improved in health. Today you can visit one of the caves in Poland where the workers worked and the doctor made his observations. Sitting 1,000 feet underground, the Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of the largest tourist attractions in Europe. The world's largest salt mine, Sifto, located in Goderich, Canada is known to be as deep as the CN Tower is tall. The 2nd largest is Khwera salt mine in Pakistan where Himalayan pink salt is derived from ancient sea salt deposits. The salt deposits here are believed to be the purest form of salt available. Himalayan pink salt was originally formed from marine fossil deposits over 250 million years ago during the Jurassic era. "Monks in the Himalayas have had a tradition of taking sick to these natural healing environments." Kim owner of the Tranquil Healing Center and salt cave, right here in Amherst, NY told me. She continued, "If you are sick, the best place to be, is in a salt room."
Clinical Uses and Health Benefits. Since going to use theses caves on the regular is not practical, over time innovators have figured out how to simulate the experience. Salt therapy, also called halotherapy derived from the Greek word - halo, meaning "salt," has many uses and benefits. It is a complementary treatment that reproduces the natural microclimate of a salt cave by dispersing saline aerosol in a high concentration in a room whose surfaces are covered with layers of salt. Wellness centers like the Tranquil Healing Center have created these atmospheres using halogenerators, which produce a solution of sodium chloride. The sodium helps maintain fluid in blood cells and open up communication between the brain, nerves and muscles. The chloride is essential to our digestive system and helps in preserving the acid-base balance in our body. It also plays an important role in absorbing potassium and helping the blood to carry carbon dioxide from respiring tissues to the lungs. Statistics have shown that salt therapy has helped manage ailments such as eczema, psoriasis, sinus congestion, allergies, and chronic respiratory issues, like asthma and COPD. It is anti-inflammatory, fungal, bacterial, and viral. Halotherapy also boosts brain health and helps balance moods, energy levels, and sleep patterns. Halotherapy is a whole-body healing modality for your skin and nervous and respiratory systems. There are no known negative side effects. One may, however, experience the release of built-up toxins, which is a good sign that the therapy is working. Long-term exposure will improve the quality of life.
Tranquil Healing Himalayan Salt Cave in Amherst, NY. This impressive 300-square-foot man-made cave is constantly set at a comfortable 70º degrees. The walls are lined with large salt crystals and local limestone rocks while loose, smaller pieces of salt, similar to sand, cover the floor. An electric fireplace stands strong surrounded by glowing salt rocks and there is a flowing waterfall off to the corner. Adding to the ambiance is the astonishingly mesmerizing night sky on the ceiling with stars fading in and out. The hypnotic scene was carefully handmade, composed with strategically placed constellations and a crescent moon. The only sounds are those of the waterfall and the halogenerator opposite it. The halogenerator creates white noise as salt particles and negative ions of salt blow out in a fine powder, detoxifying the air. There are zero gravity chairs with cozy blankets for extra comfort, so all you have to do is sit, breathe, and relax. This is a calm, peaceful space -- some people fall asleep -- so when attending, be courteous to others. Wear comfortable clothing and keep in mind that you want your pores directly exposed for maximum benefits. Staff will supply surgical booties to go over your feet, Reiki master Dena Gutowski at Tranquil Healing explained, "Salt absorbs moisture because it is an ionic compound with strong attractive forces. It absorbs both liquid and vapor in the air, so to walk barefoot would cause the salt to become wet." Also, to fully immerse yourself in the experience leave electronics outside the room. The concentration of salt in the room is super high and salt is corrosive, possibly causing damages to devices.
The Tranquil Healing center was opened this past May by owner Kim Wollschlarger, a certified LMT, EMT and volunteer firefighter, who has spent the past five years putting her passion into opening this natural healing center. She currently has a dream team of holistic practitioners including three massage therapists, two yoga instructors, two Reiki masters, and a registered dietitian. Within the next fews weeks, chiropractic and IV Treatments will also be among her growing services. Most of the services can be covered under No Fault Insurance, Flexfit Card from Independent Health and the Wellness Card from BCBS. "This is a community center for sharing a variety of accessible natural healing treatments," says Kim. Salt Cave sessions run $30 per person for 45 minutes, but check groupon deals before you book! You can schedule one with a friend, join in with others or, depending on availability, request to be alone at no extra cost. The salt cave is just one part of this amazing facility -- there's much more to explore. In addition to the center's services, she promotes several other local small businesses, such as artist Corey Bley and the plant-based products from Dandelions and Dreams. Also check out Kim's own, handmade deliciously-smelling soap. Check out Tranquil Healing at the Salty Health Expo Saturday, August 4th 10:00am-5:00pm.