HAPPINESS IS SALT!
The Healing Benefits of SALT in Santa Barbara
By Bonnie Carroll –
I have always loved the beautiful pink hue of Himalayan salt, as well as its fine cooking properties, but recently I visited SALT, located at 740 State Street in Santa Barbara, California, where a totally new experience of the benefits of ancient salt is in process. This wonderful venue gives new meaning to the term ‘salt of the earth” in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara.
Owners Pamela McCaskey and her partner Kelly Egan have created a surreal visual Salt Cave environment comprised completely of Himalayan salt where guests are surrounded from ceiling to floor by the beautiful and healthful pink stuff, held together with rich wood and metal netting. The floors, walls and ceilings of the salt cave, as well as waiting areas are filled with the visually pleasing and sensually relaxing pink salt brought from an area in Pakistan that has been a source for this salt for over 250 million years.
Guests enter Salt off a busy main street in downtown Santa Barbara with no clue as they walk down the stairs to SALT they are on a magical journey into a special respite of relaxation and escape from the outside noise and chaos in process above the beautiful Salt Cave. In minutes visitors happily find themselves in a serene pink vortex of salt and sweet peaceful vibrations.
The forty-five minute cave session offers relaxing music and soft lighting in a quiet zone where guest breath air containing micro-particles of salt as they snuggle under a blanket on a comfy zero gravity chair. Classes begin on the hour.
Salt offers a charming gift shop where visitors can purchase a bevy of products for cooking, bath and pampering, as well as cookbooks and health information on the benefits of salt. The waiting room, where guests relax before scrub, massage, sound therapy, yoga, Pilates and more, is a comfy salt filled respite with lighted candles, salt lamps and yoga tea selections to sip while you wait.
The private and quite massage rooms, for single or couples, are clean and attractive with private showers. The salt scrub and massage is wonderful, and leaves your skin feeling like silk. The therapists at Salt are excellent and very accommodating to the personal comfort needs of patrons. Either prior to or after your treatments you can revel in the healthful atmosphere of the Salt Cave. This is an amazing room completely made of salt (ceiling, walls, floors) with soft lighting and comfortable lounge chairs to settle into before salt filled air is funneled into the room, along with relaxing music.
SALT Meditation & Yoga Room
During my visit at the SALT Cave I was in the cave with guests ranging in age from early twenties to late seventies. This ancient form of sensible relaxation is being enjoyed by all ages, and I can certainly testify to the calming effects of forty-five minutes in the Salt Cave. It is such an easy way to breath in salt infused air, find your quiet place and revel in it for an hour; truly a bargain experience for the twenty-five dollar per hour fee.
The welcoming space is also used for yoga, Pilates and special event programs, and has become popular for group gatherings to enjoy the optimum health venue combined with social activities. I was told that group special events with yoga and refreshing beverages are welcomed.
The what and why of salt has been researched nearly to death, but many who have tried it and found it to be true believe the benefits of this ancient salt can create an electrolyte balance, increase hydration, regulate water content both inside and outside of cells, balance pH (alkaline/acidity) and help reduce acid reflux, prevent muscle cramping, aid in proper metabolism functioning, strengthen bones, lower blood pressure, help the intestines absorb nutrients, prevent goiters, improve circulation, and dissolve and eliminate sediment to remove toxins.
Pink Salt In The Kitchen
For cooking or curing with pink salt cooks may use pre-ground salt or grinders as they would with any other salt. Cooking with Salt Slabs using them as serving platters is trendy, and the slabs will impart an enhanced salt taste and mineral content to the food. Chilled salt slabs can be attractively decorated with fruits, sushi, vegetables or cheese for serving. Frozen slabs are great for presenting cold desserts or sorbets, and heated slabs are ideal to sear vegetables, shrimp, fish fillets or thinly sliced beef. The dense salt blocks conduct heat beautifully with nearly perfect heat distribution.
These salt slabs are used by many of the finest hotel chefs in California, including the chef at the Monterey Plaza Hotel, to enhance seafood recipes and provide a beautiful visual presentation. Himalayan salt is naturally anti-microbial, and requires minimal cleaning time. There are countless books on the history of pink salt, but also some great cookbooks to assist you in creating healthy daily recipes including The Story of Salt written by Mark Kulansky and illustrated by S.D. Schindler.
Some Established Benefits of Pink Salt:
- Our bodies require salt and water daily. Water is the detox tool, but salt allows the transfer of toxins from healthy cells to the bloodstream and then helps remove them from the system. The pink salt is considered more effective and efficient than traditional salt in this process.
- Pink salt is considered a great aid in lowering blood pressure dramatically, and stimulating better circulation at the same time. This salt can be used in small doses to modulate both these body functions, and is quickly and easily absorbed into the bloodstream.
- Himalayan salt is regarded as the cleanest, purest and “mineral dense” version available on the planet. It can provide your body with 84 needed minerals and other bio compounds. It is only found in the Himalayan mountain range in its pure form.
- The decrease of electrolytes and salt in the body can cause feelings of exhaustion and loss of clarity, but the easy absorption of salt into the bloodstream allows quick and easy restoration. Salt Block Cooking: 70 Recipes for Grilling, Chilling, Searing and Serving on Himalayan Salt Blocks by Mark Bitterman is ideal for home chefs.
- Another amazing benefit found in pink salt is success in eliminating sinus and respiratory conditions. When mixed with water it helps clear up sinus problems and respiratory conditions. Pink crystals emit negative ions that allow it to solve sinus issues without compromising the respiratory system.
- Salt is also renowned for improving sleep by users due to the relaxation of muscles it promotes, providing healthier and regular sleep patterns. Overnight replenishment to the body is known to be very restorative to body and mind.
- Additionally, acidity and alkaline levels that are out of whack play havoc on the body and a pink salt bath can create balance in these areas. The ancients used these salt baths each week to insure good health.
For additional information on the benefits of Himalayan salt visit www.saltcavesb.com