Sunday, August 20, 2017

Salt Spray Your Cares Away

May 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

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There’s something about the ocean that relaxes us. It may be the vastness, it can be the solitude, or it could be the salt. Actually, all of those are relaxing, and two out of three of these calming conditions are available in a salt cave… along with additional health-giving benefits.

A visit to a salt cave involves an excursion into halotherapy — an approach to using salt vapor to relieve the symptoms of disorders and complaints such as inflammation, skin conditions, respiratory limitations, joint aches, digestive troubles, anxiety, insomnia, and lethargy.

That easing of symptoms and upbeat feeling comes from the exposure to the negatively charged ions emitted by the salt lining the walls, floor, and blown into the air during the average 45-minute stay in a salt cave or establishment offering halotherapy.

Marcy Bishop-GuzmanAccording to Marcy Bishop-Guzman, RN, co-owner of Port Jeff Salt Cave, (www.portjeffersonsaltcave.com) those who enter her Himalayan salt room often sense the mineral’s magic as well as its beauty. Patrons remain dressed (no shoes), turn off electronics, sink into zero gravity chairs, and tuck blankets around themselves. “Some say, ‘Wow!’ and others fall asleep almost instantly,” says Bishop-Guzman.

Being in a salt cave results in multiple outcomes for most. The experience starts with “breathing the cleanest air — it’s concentrated ocean air” explains Bishop-Guzman. The respiratory system may drain, breathing may feel less strained, twinges and aches may ease, and skin may feel more comfortable. Those emerging from a salt cave may feel less burdened and more buoyant, just as they would after a weeklong beach vacation. That feeling, along with a boost in immunity, may last days after the salt cave stopover.

“Salt isn’t going to cure anything but a ham,” cautions Bishop-Guzman. “If you have an illness or disease, it will still be there after visiting a salt cave. But it promotes tremendous well-being.”

Anyone with health impediments or concerns should discuss halotherapy with a medical professional.

When chatting with Bishop-Guzman, I wondered why salt would have such a calming effect on the skin and boost breathing — isn’t salt dehydrating? She referred me to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine about cystic fibrosis patients who inhaled salt and had an increased ability to clear mucus from their lungs. She also explained how an abundance of salt outside the body triggers salt’s “pulling power,” giving it the ability to draw moisture inside.

Bishop-Guzman also offers a salt bed (it resembles a sunning booth without the rays). Those wanting a more intense detoxification or skin-calming effect lay inside the chamber for about 20 minutes and have salt sprayed along their swimsuit-clad body. I’m told that treatment in the salt bed may result in a rejuvenated feeling and a lessening of fine wrinkles. (Duly noted.) Salt Bed Salt Cave Port Jefferson

No matter what drags you down, self-care should be part of your regime. Self-care is our willingness to pay attention to our own needs so we can withstand the stresses and demands placed upon us by family, work, and life.

If you can’t always get to your vessel and leave daily irritants behind, a salt cave is an appealing alternative for loosening life’s grip. Bishop-Guzman admits, “There’s no substitute for the ocean,” but notes, “drawing toxins out and releasing endorphins from the top of head to the feet is a big boost.”

At Bishop-Guzman’s invitation, I visited her salt cave. I enjoyed the feel of the salt pebbles under my sock-clad feet and was entranced as I gazed up towards the twinkling ceiling lights. I settled into a comfy chair, snuggled inside a blanket, and listened as Bishop-Guzman led us through a peaceful guided meditation. After the 45 minutes ended (much too soon) I felt both refreshed and revitalized.

I also paid a visit to the Montauk Salt Cave West. While similar in appearance and price, the experience was more introspective here — the only sound is that of lapping waves. Close your eyes and you’ll swear you’re at the shoreline.

As boaters, we already appreciate salt water’s appeal, though our opportunities are never plentiful enough (thanks, life). Dining by the water is pleasant, but for an invigorating, no-calorie way to boost boating’s benefits, a tranquil salt cave can float our boat.

“Boaters tend to be water-loving people,” Bishop-Guzman says. “When you can’t be on the water, the salt cave gives you the same feel-good effect.”

Happy young couple on blue ocean background.

By Lita Smith-Mines

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