A Hidden Healer
Did you know that Niagara Falls has its own man-made salt cave? Amidst the many popular new-age holistic medicines and healing procedures, the healing benefits of natural salt is gaining more and more recognition as people turn to Halotherapy or Speleotherapy (therapeutic exposure to salt air) for a natural cure to common respiratory illnesses.
The history behind the salt stems back to 14th-century Poland, where the salt was mined for use and trade: In the central city of Wieliczka, many large salt mines were developed, utilizing traditional methods of mining as a means of preserving the salt’s chemical characteristics. In 1843, a physician at a Polish salt mine in Wieliczka, Dr. Feliks Boczkowski, found that none of the workers suffered from respiratory problems or lung diseases. The idea that these salt miners worked with their hands and were constantly inhaling the salt, influenced successors to build upon the idea of a salt spa. This led to more modern use in Germany by Dr. Karl Hermann Spannagel, who had noticed improved health in his patients. The salt therapy practice started to become more widely used across Europe, including Slovakia, Ukraine, Hungary, Poland and the UK.
Today, there are salt spas and caves across North America, and we finally have one in our very own city of Niagara Falls. Owner and proprietor of Healing Salt Cave, Wojtek Chalcarz stands by the beneficial effects of his salt cave, noting, “I can claim (that) this really works as far as getting rid of allergy symptoms.” After 17 years of suffering from allergies, for the past three years he is free from its symptoms during the allergy season May- June and ragweed season. “It is a drug free treatment at Healing Salt Cave that works,” he says. He relates, “lots of people come in with sinus or respiratory problems, but people also come in for stress relief because being inside the salt cave is a very unique experience – it’s very relaxing, and the environment inside the salt cave is very pure, very clean, and 250 million year old Himalayan and Klodawa Salt gives you a lot of good energy.”
With a background in interior design, Wojtek designed and built the cave himself.
The microclimate within the salt cave is created by using 12 tons of salt, saltwater cascades which contain special water with natural iodine, bromine, magnesium and calcium, (specially imported from Rabka – Poland), and a SALSANO Halogenerator. This environment has been proven beneficial to the respiratory system and skin. The Halogenerator, which is a certified medical instrument, crushes salt grains into small particles 1-5 microns, creating dry salt aerosol that penetrates and cleanses the airways. This process aids the body’s healing by alleviating bronchial inflammation, removing pathogen agents, and speeding up mucociliary transport. Halotherapy can help victims of asthma, bronchitis, sinus infections, pneumonia, and can even be applied to allergy issues and skin problems, like psoriasis or eczema. According to lab tests, pink salt has more than 84 minerals, and those minerals work to rejuvenate the skin. It can also help with clearing up acne.
A typical session in the Healing Salt Cave lasts 45 minutes; no special clothes or preparations are needed; however, the cave tends to be 16-18 degrees (simulating an authentic salt cave), so one might consider dressing warmly. There is also a kids’ area to keep the young ones entertained; up to the age of 8, kids can enjoy the benefits of the salt cave for free with a paying adult.
The operation and maintenance of the salt cave is of primary importance to Wojtek; in response to how he went about building the cave, he responded: “Building the salt cave is a very specific process – you have to consider all the ventilation and heating systems separately, and you have to have a UV light to kill bacteria.”
For dry aerosol dosage and number of treatments, Wojtek provides information based on published clinical reports from Europe. This knowledge can help maximize the healing potential for whichever ailment you are addressing, whether it’s a respiratory-related issue or simply stress-related. Stress relief is imperative to living healthy; the salt cave is a perfect (and healthy!) escape from your fast-paced life; Wojtek asserts, “When people walk in, they feel totally removed from daily life because of the environment I created. The spectrum of light from the salt lamps (orange, pink, and yellow) provides relaxation as well.”
The Healing Salt Cave carries and sells the handcrafted salt lamps, as well as other salt products like bath salts, massage salt stones, and gourmet salt for culinary use.
Wojtek is currently amidst building a second salt cave located in Brantford at the new Grand Wellness Centre. It will be the second Cave of its kind under supervision of Salt Caves Canada Inc,. For future endeavours, hopes to organize two to three-week natural-healing vacations to Europe; these vacations will include holistic treatments, as well as dietary and exercise plans that will help promote healthy living. In an age of prescription medication and antibiotics, it’s refreshing to see all-natural solutions to health issues, big and small.
WHAT IS HALOTHERAPY?
Simply, it refers to therapy that uses salt in the healing process. There are several different forms of it including: saline solution inhalations, dry salt aerosol inhalations, irrigation and lavage, saline and brine baths. The practice originated in Poland.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Halotherapy can help with conditions such as: skin disorders, allergies, fatigue and stress, sleep disorders, sinus and ear infections, colds and flus, asthma, cystic fibrosis, sore throats and more.
When going to a salt cave, make sure to do your research first. There are certain conditions that must exist in order for it to be an effective experience.
More information can be found at healingsaltcaves.com and saltcavescanada.com