LAUDERDALE ó 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.
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.
the latest Salt Suite is scheduled to open in Fort Lauderdale.
A fourth location is planned for Palm Beach Gardens.
Equine Salt Spa in Wellington, Fla., caters to horses.
heating; itís 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."
one of the top trends ó itís 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.
45-minute session at Salt This Way runs $38.
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.
felt clear relief after one treatment," she said.
"Itís helped me tremendously."
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 arenít as large, and some are
barely visible, Day said. "Itís much, much
better," she said.
Daniel Layish, an Orlando pulmonologist, wrote in the July
issue of Florida MD that his cystic fibrosis patients have
benefited from the salt treatments. A follow-up clinical study
"confirmed that this therapy was well-tolerated and the
patients derived symptomatic benefit in terms of their sinus
complaints," he wrote.
is a medical adviser for Salt Room Orlando and also sits on
the board of the Salt Therapy Association, which promotes the
practice known as halotherapy.
Norman H. Edelman, senior scientific adviser for the American
Lung Association, said he still hasnít seen studies that
show permanent benefits from the salt treatment.
Over-the-counter medicines can drain mucus just like a session
in a salt therapy room, Edelman said.
breezes, he added in an email, "are good for people with
allergies as they carry few allergens or irritants."
South Florida doctors said they couldnít comment about salt
therapy because they didnít know much about it. For example,
two allergy specialists from Cleveland Clinic in Weston, Fla.,
said they "donít know anything about salt therapy or
its efficacy to comment intelligently about it," hospital
spokeswoman Arlene Allen-Mitchell said in an email. Doctors
from Broward Health also declined to be interviewed about the
clinical research into halotherapy has been done outside the
U.S., although a 2006 study reported in the New England
Journal of Medicine found that, in short-term trials, the
therapy improved lung function in people with cystic fibrosis.
an online index of scientific research, shows 24 entries about
halotherapy, nearly all of them published in Russia. One
English-language review, published in Allergy and Asthma
Proceedings, the journal of allergy, asthma and immunologies
societies, refers to halotheraphy as an "unproven
therapy is not well-known in the U.S., acknowledged Tonkin of
Salt Chamber. He said his company helped start the Salt
Therapy Association to help educate about salt treatments,
which have long been used in Israel, Russia, Poland and other
parts of Europe to help relieve allergies, respiratory
problems and other ailments.
of support among American doctors is hurting salt therapy in
the U.S., said Tsipi Kop, an Israeli who installed a salt
therapy room in Pilates & Wellness in Weston Town Center,
in Weston, Fla. ó only to close it for lack of business.
Iíll open it if things go better," Kop said.