By Paul Lonardo
Saltitude is a unique business that combines the practice of meditation with the benefits of halotherapy, a term that comes from the Greek word “halo” which means salt.
This salt therapy takes place in a 300 sq ft man made “salt cave.” If you’ve never seen or heard about them, you will be amazed. Striking pink salt crystals stud the walls all around you, and as you sit or lie back in your chair, you look up at a replica of a star-filled night sky above. It is comfortably warm inside the peaceful and relaxing atmosphere.
Sound new age? It’s actually Old World. According to the Saltitude website, their uniquely designed and hand-crafted, natural pink Himalayan salt cave is modeled after the European caves that have been in existence for hundreds of years. The unrefined rock salt is derived from evaporated ancient lakes and seas and is sourced from deep underground caverns. Salt Therapy is becoming more widely recognized in the United States as a 100% natural, holistic, drug free supplement or alternative to some common treatments.
It is no gimmick. The health benefits of halotherapy (and meditation) to heart, mind, soul and body are many, as any search of salt therapy will reveal. How it works is simple, and the way the owners of Saltitude explains it is that the breathing in of salt naturally opens up your lungs, and as a result it can alleviate problems associated with breathing, particularly symptoms of allergies. Also, many skin-related ailments can be eased because salt is absorbed through the skin. Stress, anxiety, sleep, snoring are other issues that salt has shown to help.
At Saltitude, the cave uses a Halo-generator, a device that grinds and gently disperses pharmaceutical grade salt particles into the air. The halo-generator produces a dry salt aerosol concentration allowing for effortless absorption.
A typical 45-minute session begins with a guided meditation, a time when you get into a relaxed state with meditative binaural beat music. The rest of the time you spend relaxing, meditating and breathing in the salt air. After the session is complete, there is a gathering room outside the cave where you can enjoy some refreshments, coffee, tea and snacks. There are books and mindful activities available so you do not feel rushed after your cave experience. You might be so relaxed that you need a moment to adjust before going out into the real world again.
The salt cave can accommodate one to nine people comfortably, and it can be reserved for private parties and for special classes and treatments, including yoga, reiki, reflexology, and all different kinds of related therapies. The owners are proud of the personal attention they can provide for their customers, so if there is something they don’t offer that people want, they will do their best to get it and have it available for everyone. For example, in the past few months, Saltitude has begun offering massages in the cave through a Rhode Island company with licensed practitioners.
Saltitude is a family business, owned by PJ and Steve Johnson and their daughter Casey and her husband Brandt McGuire, though you are likely to find mother and daughter running the day to day operations of this amazing little hidden wellness center. This is a new business, opened a year and a half ago. What started out as a dream, required a lot of work to bring to fruition.
As a family, they have always done a lot of meditating over the years, and for just as long they have been talking about opening up their own studio someday. However, with their busy lives, working long hours every week, it just seemed like a dream.
Then, on Valentines Day in 2016, PJ and Steve went on a road trip and visited a salt cave on the New York border. They instantly fell in love with the entire concept of the cave and how it made them feel, and the experience inspired them to seriously look into establishing their own studio incorporating meditation when they returned home to Lincoln. It was something the entire family wanted to make a go of, and they were prepared to take a risk and make sacrifices to do something they always wanted to do. PJ quit her job where she worked for twenty years and they sold their house so they could invest in the business. PJ’s daughter, Casey, who was pregnant at the time, also took a tremendous risk, quitting her job to devote to establishing and running the new family business.
They spent more than a year researching everything that they needed to establish and successfully run the business they had in mind. Having been working as an office manager for twenty years, PJ knew how to run a business. Now she would be running a business she loved. Casey also had a useful background, having gone to school for business management and having worked in human resources.
“Casey is our media and marketing genius, among other things” PJ says. “We’d be lost without her.”
Saltitude opened its doors in March 2018, not knowing what to expect, but they haven’t looked back.
“We hoped people would be interested, because it is so different and there’s nothing like it here,” Casey says. “But we always had the idea that we would be holistic and wellness-centered, and apparently everyone needs a little wellness right now because there was such a huge response, and we do so many wellness events every week and they are very well attended. So, the response has been great.”
There are specials and pricing packages to take advantage of, and gift cards are available in any denomination as well as unique and mindful gifts for the difficult-to-buy for person, on your holiday shopping list, so check out Saltitude online or come in and see for yourself. It is the only “salt cave” in Rhode Island.
Visit Saltitude at 204 Front Street in Lincoln or online at www.saltitude.net.