By Donna Gehrke-White
Salt might be healthy after all.
Despite skepticism among some doctors, more businesses are opening to promote salt as therapy for eczema, psoriasis, allergies, asthma and other respiratory conditions.
Recently Salt This Way opened one of the largest salt therapy centers in the nation in Wilton Manors, Fla., offering yoga classes, massages, breathing lessons and individual sessions in rooms where walls and floors are covered with Himalayan salt.
Shortly the latest Salt Suite is scheduled to open in Fort Lauderdale. A fourth location is planned for Palm Beach Gardens.
And Equine Salt Spa in Wellington, Fla., caters to horses.
“It’s heating; it’s extremely relaxing,” said Jessica Helmer, who along with her husband, Elliot, started the first two Sea Suites and have sold franchises for the two others. “When you relax, you heal.”
“It’s one of the top trends, it’s not a fad,” said Leo Tonkin, CEO of Salt Chamber in Boca Raton, which has provided salt and equipment for more than 130 providers of salt therapy centers across the nation in three years.
In 2013, the first full year of operation, his company recorded $750,000 in sales, Tonkin said. Last year, sales rose to more than $1.2 million, he said.
A single 45-minute session at Salt This Way runs $38.
Suzie Hollis said she started Salt this Way after the salt therapy helped her after a devastating work accident punctured her lung and severed her left arm. She also was later diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and emphysema.
“I felt clear relief after one treatment,” she said. “It’s helped me tremendously.”
Salt therapy also has helped lessen the red patches from bouts of psoriasis, an autoimmune disease, said Susan Day of Fort Lauderdale, who recently has started going to Salt this Way for treatments. Her outbreaks aren’t as large, and some are barely visible, Day said. “It’s much, much better,” she said.