I woke up Saturday morning with a pounding headache. No, it wasn't a hangover—I am unfortunately very prone to headaches. They happen too frequently, and thanks to my very thorough research (aka WebMD), I have a sneaking suspicion they might be sinus headaches. When one hits me, I usually just lie in bed with my eyes closed and listen to the Hamilton soundtrack until it goes away. (My parents taught me at an early age to never grab an Advil and to fight through the pain.) But that morning, I forced myself out of bed and made my way to Breathe Salt Room for a session of dry-salt therapy.
Dry-salt therapy is a natural and holistic treatment that claims to clear out the toxins in your respiratory system using salt, which is known for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Most places that offer this treatment, like Breathe Salt Room, say that one session can alleviate symptoms of allergies, colds, asthma, stress, and snoring. It's similar to when you sit in a sauna at a spa, except instead of sitting in a room as you breathe in hot air with only a towel on, you are breathing salt-infused air in a room completely made up of salt minerals while still clothed.
I first stumbled upon the Breathe Salt Rooms pop-up at the Saks Wellery a few weeks ago when getting a manicure at Dear Sundays with a friend. It was the first time we both had spent any time on the second floor, and we were surprised to find so many wellness gems in one place. We briefly spoke with one of the sales associates and learned that these neon glowing, salt-filled booths are miniature versions of the salt rooms at the main location on Park Avenue. There, it holds communal sessions, and you can choose from different options like a salt bed or a yoga class in salt rooms. She urged us to take a brochure and come back if we were interested. Headache-ridden and feeling a cold coming, thanks to NYFW, there couldn't be a better time to try it out.
I arrived at Saks early in the morning to avoid a wait. The floor was relatively empty, and I was the first and only person in the Breathe Salt Room section. I asked the woman working the pop-up what I needed to do to sign up for a session, and she explained that for $25, I could sit in a salt booth for 10 minutes. During that time, salt-infused air would fill it up through a vent above my head; I could even take my phone in with me to help pass the time. The only thing I had to do was breathe normally.
I pulled off my shoes and took a seat on the bench inside. As the attendant closed the door, calming classical music began to play loudly, and I felt air coming in through the vent. It didn't make the booth colder; temperature-wise, it was fine. I ended up people-watching rather than scrolling through my Instagram feed. (A lot of people stopped by to ask questions about the salt booths, and I can only assume it was because they saw me inside one—there was a lot of pointing in my direction.)
I felt surprisingly comfortable as people stared, something I attribute to the air that was filling the booth. My breathing felt a lot lighter, and I didn't feel as anxious or stressed out as I normally do. The time passed so quickly, I was a little sad that it was over.
As I stepped out, I realized whatever congestion I felt earlier was pretty much gone. But best of all, my headache had subsided, and I haven't had another one since. I left that day with a new appreciation for the healing power of salt.
Next up, read up on the simple activity you can do to be happier.