LATEST TREND IN WELLNESSMay 14, 2016 06:10PM ● By Deborah Burstyn
Do you feel a cold coming on? Or have a cough you can’t get rid of? Then head over to Walnut Creek’s SaltSpa where an old-fashioned health treatment has been made new again. Rather than ingesting salt, spa patrons relax in rooms made of it, breathing in misty vapors in hopes of clearing their lungs and purifying their skin. It's a treatment known as halotherapy after the Greek word halo, meaning salt.
The only one of its kind in the East Bay, SaltSpa opened a little over a year ago in a shopping center on Newell Avenue. “Salt has been around for a long time,” says owner Elizabeth Tejada. “We forget how healing it is. Plus it’s non-invasive and drug free.” Salt has been used as a wellness remedy throughout Europe and the Middle East for thousands of years. It is reported to draw out fluid and reduce pressure on the sinuses and lungs due to its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Although medical evidence is scant, many find relief from lung-related issues, such as asthma, in Tejada’s salt rooms, hand-built for her by an Estonian specialist. “Throughout most of Europe, salt spa treatments are covered by health insurance. Here it does not even have FDA approval,” notes Tejada.
That doesn’t seem to stop area residents of all ages from coming to the SaltSpa. Ray Post, a Lafayette retired contractor, says he suffered from poor sleep and an irritated feeling in his lungs. “I came in for a one-hour treatment and had the best sleep I’ve had in a long time,” says Post, who plans to make SaltSpa part of his weekly health regimen. Roy Erny of Orinda was diagnosed with interstitial lung disease in July. “It’s been a crazy six months,” says Erny, a sales representative for Snap-On tools. He visits SaltSpa four to five times a week. “I quit coming for a month and had to go back on oxygen,” he said. “I feel better when I come here. It opens something up.”
While medical professionals remain skeptical, the walls of Tejada’s reception area are lined with testimonials from grateful clients who claim the spa has helped them with everything from gout to arthritis. Others are in good health but like to meditate in the quiet of the caves. Tugging on booties over your shoes is all that’s required. You don’t take off your clothes. No one scrubs or rubs you. You simply recline in a salt room and breathe. 1538 Newell Ave., WC, saltspawalnutcreek