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Hide and Seek

By Lauren Keating

As we move into a post-pandemic world, the concern for children's health has become increasingly significant. The rise in susceptibility to illness, from recurring respiratory problems to the latest super-strains of viruses, has resulted in an endless cycle of visits to pediatricians and reliance on pharmaceutical treatments. In this situation, salt room therapy is a holistic alternative that parents can explore to ease their children's symptoms and promote their overall well-being.
    “There are so many kids nowadays that are so sick—chronic asthma, chronic allergies,” said Jenny Wolfson, owner of The Salt Suite located in Voorhees, NJ. “Salt room therapy is going to boost their immune system. It’s going to help clear their airways for any allergens. It’s going to clear their airways for any infection. It’s going to open up their nasal passages.” 
    Halotherapy, also known as salt therapy, is the wellness practice of using minerals to promote respiratory and skin health by flushing out pollens, toxins, bacteria, and pollutants. 
    The Salt Therapy Association claims that it can help alleviate symptoms associated with various health conditions including the common cold, asthma, bronchitis, COPD, cystic fibrosis, ear infections, sinusitis, allergies, eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, skin aging, and dermatitis. 

Salt therapy has wet and dry options. Wet options include saline spray, salt water gargling, and salt baths. Dry salt therapy involves inhaling salt minerals in a salt cave or room that uses halogenerators to release grounded salt into the air. Dry salt therapy is more effective because of the absence of moisture, and concentration of the salt—plus it is less invasive. 
    “Dry salt can attach better to the wet mucus and kind of thin it out so your body naturally gets it out versus wet salt,” Wolfson, a certified halotherarpist said. 


Salt Room Therapy

A lot of kids like the sensory feel. They like the texture.,” Wolfson said,

“It's soothing and calming. It de-stresses and grounds them.” 

The salt particles penetrate the lungs to reach the cilia, which help defend against infection and move mucus.

They also destroy bacteria and aid in sinus drainage. 
   Wolfson said that it serves as a form of cell therapy for skin conditions, where the salt can push the toxins out of T-cells, healing and rejuvenating them. Instead of treating these conditions with topical creams, salt therapy can help to heal from underneath the skin. 
   In a study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the use of halotherapy with a halogenerator had a positive effect among children with mild asthma. 
   While many high-end spas and gyms feature salt rooms, these are typically quiet spaces for adults and not geared for kids. With the slogan of “changing lives one breath at a time,” The Salt Suite caters to the pediatric population with its salt room that is specifically for families with kids. 

“Children need [salt room therapy] too just as we do,” Wolfson, who previously was an educator before owning the south NJ-based franchise said. Speaking from her experience seeing kids commonly sick in the classroom, she is proud to share halotherapy with the community of parents in the area who are looking for a remedy when it seems like nothing else is working. 
  In the children’s salt room, the smell of salt lingers in the air. This is thanks to the halogenerator that forces millions of microns of concentrated, pharmaceutical-grade sodium chloride 
into the air. After spending the length of a session in the room, that faint taste of salt remains on the tongue. The room is a big sandbox—similar to being at the beach—where kids can play with toys made available. 
  “It's a space for them to run around. And—if they're not playing with the toys—a space to dig and put it on top of their hand and explore that,” Wolfson said. “I have kids that make snow angels in there, or they bury their siblings out.” 
  A salt room is a complete sensory experience. This makes it ideal for those with autism or those with sensory sensitivities. “A lot of kids like the sensory feel. They like the texture.,” Wolfson said, “It's soothing and calming. It de-stresses and grounds them.” 

A session lasts 45 minutes, and results can be seen with regular sessions of two to three times a week for the first month. If you want to take less allergy medicine, fewer inhalers, less topical creams, it's something you've had for a while, you're going to have to do it regularly, to not only get a jump start on what you've already had but eliminate all those other products,” Wolfson said. 
  At least one adult is required to be in the room with their child, allowing them to also get the benefits of the therapy without having to go for their own session (although the spa-like peacefulness of the adult room is well worth it). 
  There are limited studies that link the effectiveness of halotherapy to health benefits, but it’s it being a natural alternative with no side effects—besides maybe needing an extra glass of water and feeling thirsty. 
   For “COVID kids” who may be lacking immunity, halotherapy is one of the best ways to clear lungs and prevent colds and the flu—all in a drug-free, safe, and fun atmosphere. 

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