The Salt Room Helps Relieve Respiratory Ailments amid a Soothing Ambiance

By Jeff Louderback

Comfortably reclined in a zero gravity chair in a dimly lit room with salt blocks on the wall, salt on the floor and the soft harmony of gentle music emanating from the speakers, guests at The Centerville Salt Room Halotherapy and Massage are treated to an experience that combines elements of the beach and a spa.

Halotherapy is also called salt therapy. “Halo” is the Greek word for salt. Halotherapy reproduces the naturally occurring environments of salt mines found in Poland, Russia and other European countries.

Respiratory health emerged as a widely explored subject in 2020. One of the benefits of halotherapy is a strengthened immune system, which is valuable amid the winter cold and flu season.

The Salt Room’s founder and owner, Licensed Massage Therapist Benjamin Pfeiffer, is passionate about the benefits of halotherapy. He created Dayton’s first and only halotherapy clinic in 2011, located at 65 S. Main Street in uptown Centerville.

“I graduated from the Dayton School of Medical Massage in the fall of 2010, gained my license and worked at a clinic for six months, before getting the entrepreneurial drive to open my own place,” Ben said. “I believe in the profound healing and restorative effects of massage therapy; and I wanted to complement that with halotherapy, which truly helps breathing problems from the inside out.”

Halotherapy was first officially recognized as a therapy in 1843, by Polish physician Dr. Felikz Boczowski, who noticed the absence of respiratory problems in salt mine workers.

There are typically two types of manmade salt rooms, or salt caves, created to mimic the microclimate of salt mines. Some have walls composed of Himalayan salt bricks and floors covered in salt. Others also feature a halogenerator, a machine that blows tiny particles of pharmaceutical grade salt into the air.

The Salt Room has a sanctuary with salt brick walls, a salt floor and a halogenerator. Zero gravity chairs are nestled in the room, as are massage tables.

Advocates for halotherapy describe that the practice can help with respiratory conditions, like sinus infections, allergies and asthma, among other ailments.

“Salt is a natural antiseptic and disinfectant, so halotherapy is very effective in treating and preventing many respiratory illnesses,” Ben said. “There is also evidence that halotherapy helps treat some skin disorders, like eczema, psoriasis and rosacea, as long as the skin is exposed during the session.”

Dr. Mukesh Prasad, associate professor of clinical otolaryngology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, is a believer in halotherapy.

“The use of salt rooms makes sense, with the number of patients who come home feeling better after spending time near the ocean or on a beach, even for a short time,” he said. “I have seen success experienced by many patients who have tried the salt rooms as we treat them for sinus infections.”

Relaxation and stress relief, Ben explained, are other benefits of salt room visits.

“The moment you walk in, you can feel the positive, healing energy. Breathing in air with that amount of salt makes you feel like you’re high in the mountains and clears your respiratory channels,” Ben said. “Since the chairs are comfortable and the atmosphere is calming, many people fall asleep.”

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