I recently spent a month with my family in my hometown region of Long Island, New York. It was an enjoyable but extremely busy season of life, so when a family member recommended I visit a local salt cave, I was intrigued. I hadn’t previously heard of salt cave therapy, also known as halotherapy, but I was told it’s relaxing and rejuvenating. Best of all, many people with chronic illnesses use it to improve certain symptoms.
I’ve been a journalist for over 10 years, so, of course my curious side got the best of me and I had to check it out and ask a bunch of questions. So, I ventured to the nearest salt cave by where I was staying, called Port Salt Cave in Port Washington, New York. There, I met the owner, Sue, who had a wealth of information to share with me. She worked in the medical device and pharmaceutical industry for 27 years, mostly related to respiratory conditions.
The history of salt cave therapy stretches far back to many areas throughout Eastern Europe. In terms of health, these salt cave miners seemed to thrive. Their skin was observed to be in excellent condition and they rarely had respiratory problems and other illnesses.
Sue shared how some people with chronic illness also saw energizing and revitalizing benefits after using the salt cave. Since fatigue is a daily issue for me, I couldn’t wait to try it. Additionally, I’ve had asthma and allergies since I was born, so I hoped the salt cave could help me improve in numerous areas.
This particular salt cave was made up of 10 tons of salt, all mined and shipped from Poland. The cave is kept at 67 degrees. Once my husband and I entered, we reclined on zero-gravity chairs with super soft blankets. Inside the cave were water cascades that have iodine in them, which I was told help support the thyroid gland.
Most of my time during the first session was spent taking in the beauty of the salt cave. I also reflected on all of the reasons Sue said people use salt cave therapy for, such as respiratory issues, skin conditions, depression, anxiety, inflammation, and immunity problems. Because a lot of these symptoms overlap with lupus, I was excited. But my skepticism hit me, and I started to think about all of the alternative therapies I have tried for lupus. Some worked and some failed miserably.
This one, however, hit it out of the park!
About an hour after my first session, my husband and I noticed a jump in my energy level. This must be a fluke, I thought. So, I tried the salt cave three more times, each time providing the same burst of energy. Additionally, I noticed that about 15 minutes into each session, I was breathing more deeply and had less resistance when taking in a deep breath — something unusual since I have asthma. I also noticed a decrease in my anxiety and stress levels.
Because fatigue is such a constant, crushing symptom for me, I would love to see the benefits of regular salt cave use. Unfortunately, now that I am back home, I don’t have a local salt cave nearby — yet. But every time I am back in Long Island, I will make it a point to visit multiple times.
I shared my excitement about the increased energy levels with Sue, who told me how people with so many other autoimmune conditions experience the same phenomenon. I thanked her for taking the time to answers all of my questions beforehand. I think many of us with lupus have some reservations about different treatments. Perhaps it is due to nerves or negative past experiences with various treatment options. Regardless, extra information about a treatment is a plus!
If you live near a salt cave, I highly recommend it. I can say without hesitation that halotherapy helps me with my lupus fatigue. Be sure to discuss it first with your doctor.
Been to a salt cave? I’d love to read about the experience in the comments section!
Note: Lupus News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lupus News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to lupus.