Claims about the mystical, magical and healing properties of salt have circulated since ancient times.
Salt preserves food, but does it also contribute to the healing of skin problems, breathing difficulties and muscular aches?
Area residents now may test those salty claims at The Salt Grotto, 4329 Lynx Paw Drive, recently opened by owner Susanne Murray.
The Salt Grotto’s two rooms provide a tranquil environment with low lights, New Age music and cool, salty air.
In years past, halotherapy, that is, salt therapy, could be experienced only in underground salt mines, particularly in Eastern Europe.
Technology brings it above ground at The Salt Grotto. Halogenerators pump ionized, microscopic particles of pharmaceutical-grade salt into treatment rooms to create a negatively charged, dry aerosol.
Last year Murray, suffering from bronchitis, visited The Salt Room at The Villages.
“I felt fabulous afterward,” said Murray. “I went again the next day. It’s something I believe in.”
Murray said that when the salty air is inhaled, it loosens mucus, helps open airways and reduces inflammation; when it contacts skin, it speeds the healing process.
“Halotherapy is a part of preventive care that aims to support lung and skin hygiene,” said Murray. It’s not for those with acute or contagious diseases.
Although salt has drying properties that might destroy bacteria, Murray also uses ultraviolet lights to clean the air between sessions and all the rooms are vented.
Group halotherapy is administered in a room with six zero-gravity, sling-back chairs and lasts 45 minutes.
Fifteen-minute sessions for one person in a salt-therapy bed in a private room also are available.
Murray removes chairs from the group room so children might receive halotherapy while playing with toys on a floor covered with several inches of Himalayan pink salt. A parent or guardian may accompany the child for free.
Prices range from $20 per child session or $45 per adult session to $250 for a month of unlimited sessions. There is a first-time discount, and gift certificates are available.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.
For an appointment or more information call (813) 324-8976 or visit www.thesaltgrotto.com.