Food Column: Exploring the benefits of a local ?salt cave?
Last week I found myself in an unusual place. I was sitting in the only halotherapy room in Wisconsin that is located right here in Rhinelander. It’s at Stress Recess which is owned and operated by my friend, Char.
It was by fortuitous chance that Char called me last week to come check out this room. While these upcoming months are some of my favorites, they also bring the dreaded plugged up head, drippy nose, watery eyes and ever present Kleenex. And truthfully, I was feeling the first telltale signs of allergies coming on when my friend called.
Char, who is a licensed massage therapist, opened this room not so long ago for clients who struggle with such ailments as asthma, allergies, arthritis, COPD, cystic fibrosis, emphysema, eczema, and sinus infections. Immunity boosting is also on its list of benefits.
This type of therapy has an interesting and fairly long history. It was first noted in a book written in 1843 by Dr. Felix Boczkowski who was a physician at the Wieliczka salt mine in Poland. While there he noticed a remarkably low incidence of skin and respiratory conditions in the salt miners.
Then during WWII, Dr. Karl Hermann Spannagel noticed health improvements with patients that hid in salt caves in Germany to escape heavy bombing. Coughing among this group was minimal and those with respiratory discomforts breathed easier. In fact, even to this day, those same caves are used for medical treatments for people who suffer with breathing and skin ailments.
By the 1990s it was determined that why this therapy seemed to work was the micro climate of the salt caves which included salt laden air, stable humidity and air temperature. With this knowledge halo generators were developed which blow traces of dry salt into enclosed rooms that replicate the micro climate of natural salt mines and caves.
And that’s what Char has created. She’s put hours of research and resources into this unusual halo therapy room, even painting the walls to resemble a salt cave. The chairs are very comfy and the atmosphere is soothing and relaxing. All you have to do is sit back and breathe.
Before I visited Char I also did some research on what types of food would help me through the allergy season. I read an interesting article about consuming raw honey made by bees in the same area where an allergy sufferer lives. Supposedly this honey has traces of the pollen of the plants the bees visited and when consumed by humans it can help in reducing allergic reactions to local flora. Hanson’s honey, produced right here in Rhinelander, fits that bill for me.
Black tea is also good for allergy sufferers (hot or cold) as well as onions, tomatoes, parsley, broccoli, apples and all citrus fruits. These are healthy menu items anyway, so adding a few more to my diet won’t hurt at all.
So did my halotherapy session work? Char admits that many people come away from their first session seemingly unfazed and for awhile that’s what I thought would be the case for me. But a few hours after leaving the “salt cave” I felt a distinct and welcome loosening of my plugged up head. Even my ears popped revealing the fact that my Jeep radio was turned up quite loud. I was impressed.
Char offers these sessions not only for adults but children as well. In fact, she is running a special this spring. She also has salt lamps that cast a soothing glow into a room and help with ion exchanging within a home environment. There are even salt slabs, that are used for cooking, which I am going to further explore.
My friend shared a recipe with me that I’m going to make a lot during this allergy season. I’m glad to know though, that there are alternative ways to sooth a nagging allergy condition because once the warm and welcome weather of spring finally does arrive, I don’t want to miss being out reveling in it one minute.
For more information about halotherapy call Char at 715-369-7222 or visit her website at stressrecess.massagetherapy.com.
Berry Honey Pops
2 cups berries such as blueberries, strawberries or raspberries
1 cup almond milk
2 Tbs. raw honey
Place all ingredients in a blender and mix thoroughly. Pour into ice cream bar molds and freeze. (This can also be consumed as is without freezing.)