On a rainy afternoon in Manhattan, the Montauk Salt Cave was a welcome retreat. Dashing out of the cab, out of a downpour that dampened the city, with wet shoes and pants, dripping umbrella, the orange glow of the salt lamps in the lobby was just the thing. The appointment was not for another 15 minutes or so, which allowed time to quiet the mind from the hustling and bustling afternoon.
When it was time, staffers escorted the small group of us, five or so, down a corridor and into a spacious room where reclining chairs encircled a glowing electric fire pit. The orange Himalayan lamps were laced about the room and the walls glowed orange as well –we were totally immersed in salt — however, the ceiling was black like the night with twinkling star-like lights. Would roasting marshmallows be far behind? We took a seat, stretched out, covered ourselves with a blanket and prepared for a warm and soothing treatment.
Though the first Montauk Salt Cave opened in 2015, its story is century’s old. According to the Salt Therapy Association, the inhalation of salt was effective for treating respiratory illnesses and is considered a “neti pot for your lungs.” Shannon Coppola, Founder and CEO of the three Montauk Salt Cave centers in Huntington, Montauk, and its newest, on 10th Street in Manhattan, calls the sites “a place to heal.” She has firsthand knowledge of the salt therapy’s healing potential. In 2014, the therapy was instrumental in easing the respiratory and sinus illnesses of her five-year-old son, Oliver. She had been frustrated with the host of doctors and medications, including having his adenoid removed, but it was the salt treatment, suggested by a friend, that enabled her son to sleep through the night. His almost constant coughing has quieted.
The only salt caves, however, were located across the river in Jersey, and since the Coppolas were Montauk residents, she opened her own salt cave, not only for her son, but for others to find comfort from this holistic treatment.
So what is the salt therapy? Also known as “halotherapy,” it is an alternative treatment that can ease asthma, allergies, anxiety, inflammation, skin issues, and even the common cold. The salt is naturally anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and antimicrobial. The body is immersed into the salt cave, while at the same time, receive a sense of peace and serenity – all while just breathing naturally. The salt air is made up of salt particles, 84 trace elements and minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, iodine, bromine, copper, selenium, and iron. These particles help to clear all pollens, viruses, pollutants and toxins of the lungs and nasal passageways.
Back in our salt therapy session, the 45 minutes comes to a close. The calming music quiets, the staff member opens the door slowly, and whispers that we have a minute or two to ready ourselves for entry back into the world. Entering the lobby, we put on our shoes, and are sorry the quiet tranquility is over. But the sun has come out, and we’re feeling rejuvenated. What more can we ask?
montauksaltcave.com. $25 for first intro session, $40 per session. Packages available. Groupon discounts as well.
Photos by MJ Hanley-Goff