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Halotherapy Healing

By Lauren Barnes Experiencing Peru’s Salty Sanctuary John Hugues bought his wife a salt lamp after hearing it could be used as a natural home-remedy for respiratory diseases. Sleeping next to the salt lamp helped with her allergies, COPD and asthma, but Jessica Gamble really noticed the healing properties of Himalayan salt when she visited a cave spa in Vermont. Halotherapy, or using salt as alternative medicine, kills harmful bacteria. This is not a new concept. The idea dates back to the 1800s when Polish salt miners noticed respiratory benefits after spending days in the caves. Since then, people have…

By Lauren Barnes

(DoNorth/Lauren Barnes)

Experiencing Peru’s Salty Sanctuary

John Hugues bought his wife a salt lamp after hearing it could be used as a natural home-remedy for respiratory diseases. Sleeping next to the salt lamp helped with her allergies, COPD and asthma, but Jessica Gamble really noticed the healing properties of Himalayan salt when she visited a cave spa in Vermont.
Halotherapy, or using salt as alternative medicine, kills harmful bacteria. This is not a new concept. The idea dates back to the 1800s when Polish salt miners noticed respiratory benefits after spending days in the caves. Since then, people have built imitation salt caves all over the world to help patients with everything from migraines to cystic fibrosis and emphysema.
For Gamble, “It helped with my cough, and I wasn’t as short of breath. The more I went, the more I noticed a difference. It’s not a cure, but it definitely helps
The trips to Vermont, although rewarding, were a challenge. “Two hours both ways was too much,” Gamble says.
Hugues felt his wife deserved to continue her weekly salt treatments, but without the four-hour commute, so the couple began researching how to bring the salt caves to the North Country.
After about a year of research, they decided to open their own cave in their hometown of Peru. The Adirondack Breathe Easy Salt Cave opened in July of 2018.
Since then, Gamble’s health has been better than ever.
“I go in twice a day every day,” Gamble says, “and it helps tremendously. I can walk twice the distance as before without having to rest, and I also do not need my rescue inhaler as much.”
The Adirondack Breathe Easy Salt Cave was made with 20,000 pounds of pure salt imported from the Himalayas. The cave is maintained at 68 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit to mimic the original salt caves.
In the cave, the air smells and tastes salty. “It’s kinda like spending a week at the ocean,” Gamble says, “but it’s fresh, clean air.”
The cave shines with a fiery-pink glow. A pink brick road leads to a sandbox of crystals. Zero-gravity chairs line the sides and a salt-brick fireplace illuminates the back wall.
The ceiling is finished with an imitation skylight adorned with twinkling LED lights that are shaped like the Orion Constellation. The skylight was one of Hugues’ personal tributes to his wife. “He knows I love the stars,” Gamble says.
When the client session begins, the doors shut and the lights dim, creating a veil of darkness. Lights shine through the salt, creating a campfire glow. Quietly, sounds of thunderstorms and instrumental tunes play in the background. Then a generator kicks on, saturating the air with a salty mist designed to penetrate the respiratory tract and sinus area.
The cave is not just for adults—children are welcome too. In fact, children often respond better to salt treatments than adults. Hugues and Gamble offer special children’s session. Chairs are replaced with beach toys and buckets and shovels invite the kids to play in the salt.

Gamble smiled as she recalled a mother of a child suffering with ADHD. The mother worried her son would not enjoy sitting in the cave for 45 minutes and thought he might lose interest quickly. Instead, the result was quite the opposite. Her child was calm in the cave, and the pair has returned a few times since.
“I don’t think we’ve come across anybody who hasn’t had some sort of good experience,” Gamble says.
Some come out of curiosity, and find relief in relaxation. Others notice that a few sessions in the cave help ease their depression and anxiety. No matter what they come for, most find something in the Adirondack Breathe Easy Salt Cave and a few report following up with a pleasantly deep restorative sleep.
To skeptics, Gamble has one piece of advice: “Before you knock it or don’t believe it, I just suggest that you come in, try it and experience it for yourself.

Issue: Winter/Spring 2019

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