I'm leaning back on a zero-gravity chair, eyes closed, in an air-conditioned room full of salt. The space reminds me of an ice-cream freezer in a convenience store — without the sub-zero temperatures — where ice particles form on every surface (except in this case, it's salt). It feels strangely calming and I feel the stresses of my day melt away to the whirring of salt particles in the air. I attempt to breathe deeply throughout the entire process.
Welcome to your salt therapy session, or halotherapy, where salt vapour is used to treat respiratory ailments, skin irritations, and to combat mental lethargy. Needless to say, when I first heard of salt therapy, my interest was piqued — how is what I drizzle on my French fries (and of which I'm told isn't good for me) going to be beneficial to my health?
The team at Breathya was quick to answer that — passionate about what they do, they opened Singapore's only salt haven at Parkway Centre just under a year ago and have all the facts at their fingertips. Salt therapy started out in the mid 18th Century, where it was discovered that people who worked in the salt mines of Poland had a remarkably low rate of respiratory illnesses. A clinic was later placed within one of these salt mines to allow natural healing for these ailments. At Breathya, the salt used is of a pure, high-grade pharmaceutical quality, and is ground and dispersed using a state-of-the-art halogenerator.
After a quick consultation with Breathya's founder, Krishna Bagaria, I'm told to remove my shoes and slip on little paper booties. Think of it as a shower cap for your feet, used primarily for hygiene purposes and so salt particles don't wedge in between your toes. Light-coloured clothing is advised as the salt particles in the air will inevitably fall on what you're wearing and show up more visibly on darker apparel. I step into the room and gingerly make my way to the zero-gravity chair — in my opinion, the best investment ever because you feel almost weightless in it, like you're floating in the sky. Each session is about an hour long, and you're encouraged to take the time to relax, take a timeout from your phone, and let the benefits of salt therapy envelop you.
Personally, I've always had a bit of a sinus issue. Bagaria assured me that salt therapy would help clear up my nasal track to help me sleep better at night. Salt therapy helps to widen the lung airways, which also helps people with asthma and respiratory conditions breathe better. I started getting a blocked nose halfway through the session, which is normal for people with sinus, as Bagaria explained that it's the start of a process to widen the airways passages for accelerated mucus release by the time I hit the sack.
Salt therapy also kills bacteria and fungi to improve skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. The particles which land on your skin balances the pH levels, induce regenerative processes, and stimulate cell growth and microcirculation. In addition, it alleviates hay fever, promotes better sleep, increases energy, and eliminates snoring. If you have children suffering from these conditions, do note that salt therapy is super safe for kids — there's even a television and play area in the salt room to prevent children from getting bored during the sessions.
I remember going to bed that night to the best sleep I've had in awhile — a good eight hours of snooze time, sneeze-free, and breathing better than usual. Would I do it again? Without a doubt, after observing the immediate benefits it had on my existing sinus condition. That life-changing chair and quiet, stress-free conditions make for great icing on the cake, too.