It seems we’ve been labouring through an endless Winter this 2014. Especially in Calgary, this means even colder, dryer weather than we’re used to, which can come with a lot of problems, especially for sensitive little ones. This month I had the chance to check out Calgary’s ONLY Halotherapy/Speleotherapy Centre — “Salt Crystal” to see what they can offer to families struggling with these side effects of Winter (or this really miserable Spring).
Halotherapy essentially boils down to what we can call ‘Salt Air Therapy’ — a practice that might seem counterproductive given that some of us associate salt with dryness. However, Salt Crystal caves and the Dead Sea have been popular destinations for naturopathic and holistic healing for centuries, and even many of our coastal Canadian friends can attest to the difference that air quality can make in daily living. Saline sprays, salt scrubs and other treatment methods aim to mimic the benefits of sodium and magnesium-rich settings, promising better breathing and healthier skin. Given what seems to be a hesitancy in North America towards natural remedies, however, I went to Salt Crystal prepared to take any and all information with… well… a grain of salt.
Here is what I learned:
- Our Bodies Need Salt : Sodium Ions are necessary to keep our bodies at optimal health — they help with nutrient uptake, maintaining fluid in our blood cells, and transmitting information in our muscles and nerves. However, the human body does not produce it’s own salt, so we need to get it from our environment.
- Diets that are high in salt can result in High Blood Pressure and Hypertension, which can result in Cardiac complications. So eating salt can be a tricky thing to balance, and we should always monitor our sodium intake. Salt Air Therapy targets the Respiratory system though, not our stomachs, hearts, or kidneys, and delivers a dose that is much lower than our daily recommended allowance. It goes right to where the sodium is most needed and effective.
- Salt Therapy is 100% natural, safe and drug-free. It can be used as a complimentary therapy adjunct to most regimens, or as stand-alone treatment for maintaining health. It is NOT, however, a replacement for medical treatment. There is also a list of Contraindications for Salt Therapy. Learning this was a turning point for me, as I am very wary of any treatment options that claim to be effective for every ailment, disorder, or disease, always and without fail. Knowing that Salt Therapy just won’t work for some people helped me understand the people it might work for.
And the people it might work for are a substantial number of individuals I can think of that suffer from the following conditions: Asthma, Allergies, and other Respiratory conditions (Iike a sensitivity to melting snow-mold), Eczema, Psoriasis and other skin ailments (dry Chinook winds agitate these), and Sinus and Bronchial infections. There are also a number of baby and child-specific conditions such as Croup that often see improvement with halotherapy.
On top of the possible benefits of Halotherapy, I also just generally enjoyed my visit to Salt Crystal. Tatiana, the Owner/Operator, was kind, pleasant, and both patient and generous in her answers to my many questions (and my skepticism). The centre was clean (the micro climate of a salt room is apparently three times cleaner than a sterile surgery room in a hospital), bright, and relaxing. My Salt Therapy session left me feeling both rested and energized, and I absolutely fell in love with the fact that this is a company that has taken the time to care for our Little Ones. They have dedicated an entire room (The “Salt Castle”) specifically for family use, and the “Royal Salt Room” can be privately booked for families.
If you are looking for something to end your Winter blues (and possibly clear up a few complaints to boot), I HIGHLY recommend checking out Salt Crystal in the Varsity/Dalhousie area, just off Crowchild and 53rd.
Resources and More Information:
- Salt Crystal — Salt Air Therapy in Calgary
- Why do we need Salt? Royal Society of Chemistry
- Healthy Lifestyle — Mayo Clinic