When Lakeway local, Jack Cramer, starts to have allergy flare ups, he hits the salt cave.
He’s the owner and operator of the newest wellness center of its kind to open in the Lake Travis area, Austin Salt Cave, but the science behind salt caves goes back 200 years.
It was during the 19th century that Polish academics noticed that salt miners weren’t having the same negative health effects from being in the mines that other earth-dwelling professions seemed to have in large numbers.
As it turned out, not only were they healthier than miners of other minerals, but they were healthier than the general public, as well.
Science was starting to show the benefits of applying salt in a therapeutic way, and by the 1960s “Halotherapy” was a wellness technique that was catching on as a way to help alleviate the symptoms of asthma, skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, and even general allergies.
An idea is born — bring a salt cave to Lake Travis
Cramer’s first experience with Halotherapy came eight years ago on a family trip to Williamsburg, Virginia. While researching the nearest tourist attractions, they came across a salt spa that promised to treat skin conditions and allergies. Jack had been having some problems with asthma and allergies and his dad had psoriasis — two conditions that salt can help.
They tried a local salt cave the next day and had almost immediate benefits — both lung and skin problems started to get better. His passion for homeopathic healing with salt was born, and after graduating from the University of Texas in 2013, started his plans for opening a salt cave in Austin.
When the hunt for real estate space started, it was a bit of a chaotic process. Spaces in downtown Austin were priced high and much sought after. The search was on for the perfect, serene spot for Austin’s largest salt spa.
“We just drove up and down 620 to look at a space to lease, and we wanted to be close to home.”
A lifelong resident of the Austin and Lake Travis area, Cramer is happy with the community’s reception since the Austin Salt Cave opened in Lakeway on March 29th, 2016.
“We’re kind of busier than I had anticipated,” he relates as we lounge about in the expertly-decorated front lobby.
It’s a passion that he hopes to share with you, whether you’re having flare ups due to those infamous Austin allergies or even if you feel like you might be coming down with a cold.
“Salt has been used in medicine for a millennia, and we’re just now figuring out how it works and its benefits,” he mentions as he assists a customer into the relaxing room for a 45-minute session to relieve a worsening lung condition and allergies.
A first-timers guide to salt caves
It’s not uncommon to fall asleep in the darkened salt room once a session has commenced. You don’t take your cell phone or any electronic inside (salt can break phones and tablets), but once the music starts, it’s easy to turn off your mind and let the Halogenerator do the work.
On the other side of the salt cave is the feed mouth for the Halogenerator, a machine that takes finely ground salt and disperses it into the room for its therapeutic effects.
Cramer was kind of a connoisseur when it came to salt caves; having frequented them for so many years and getting a chance to try the different kinds of spas all around the country. He used these experiences to design the Austin Salt Cave.
Anti-gravity chairs line the salt-filled room. Large, relaxing 30-pound salt lamps are by the walls, helping to relax your mind and soothe your body as you take in microscopic aerosol salt.
You can wear your normal clothes, but if you’re coming in for a skin condition it’s helpful to have that area of the skin exposed during your session. Clothing is required but a tank top and shorts seems to be the best outfit for taking in the salt.
The list of ailments and symptoms that salt can help treat is long. The benefits can take as little as one session. Some people use regular salt therapy to heal issues like chronic skin conditions, so the Austin Salt Cave offers package deals as a great way to save some money.
Monday – Sunday
8am – 8pm