Talking About Spas and Salons

Should You Take A Trip To A Salt Spa?

by Colleen Sanders

Salt spa therapy is an increasingly popular approach to trying to treat an array of ailments. In particular, some individuals who suffer from respiratory issues and skin diseases have chosen to use it. You may be wondering, however, what it is and whether it might be right for you.

The What

In most instances, a client goes to a facility that has been set up in a salt cave. The core idea is that the salt in the environment does two things. First, it serves to provide a relatively dry environment. Second, it discourages the growth of bacteria, fungi, and mold in the environment, reducing irritants and allergens.

If you've ever known anyone who moved to the desert Southwest because they have breathing problems, the idea of going to a dry environment should be familiar. The second part, the part about discouraging irritants, is closely linked to the first part. What someone at a salt spa hopes to accomplish is giving their body a chance to bounce back from being constantly attacked by numerous environmental factors that can adversely influence health. In other words, it's a retreat from all the stuff that irritates your body every day.

Who Uses It?

As you might imagine, salt therapy is an option that appeals to some people who have allergies. Those with other respiratory disorders, particularly COPD with difficulty coughing up mucus, may also consider it.  Those with skin conditions like acne, psoriasis, and eczema are candidates. It may be possible to treat inflammation by this method, too.

How It Works

The most understood version is the passive version. In a temperature-regulated environment, such as a salt cave, the combination of salinity and cool air produces optimal air quality. Ventilation is used to ensure air circulation, a common issue in caves. In addition to having antimicrobial effects, the salt also absorbs water from the air. Essentially, it's a naturally-occurring sterile setting.

Some folks advocate for a more active process that involves heating the salt. The idea here is that negative ionization can offset other forms of ionization that people are exposed to. If you've ever seen a heated salt lamp, that's the idea at work.


The available research indicates that most of the benefits from a salt spa arise from the healthy and relaxing environment it provides. If you plan to visit a spa, inquire about measures they take to maintain the sterile environment, such as ventilation, temperature control, and dehumidification.