Salt Chalet in Scottsdale offers salt therapy for clients

Salt Chalet RoomThe Arizona Republic
by Kasia Michalik – March 22, 2011

Two white rooms equipped with reclining chairs take up just a small portion of a homeopathic clinic in Scottsdale.
But they are no ordinary rooms. Their walls are covered with eight to 10 layers of salt from the Dead Sea. The floors likewise are covered with salt, which looks like white sand.
Those entering the rooms must remove their shoes and replace them with blue slippers. Once the doors close, a Halogenerator engages and begins distributing the tiny salt particles throughout the room as the surrounding colors are changed and soft music plays.
The Salt Chalet, which opened in September, operates Arizona’s first therapeutic rooms using salt from the Dead Sea, which has higher concentrations of beneficial minerals than other sea salts.
Proponents claim that inhaling the salt can provide relief from a host of respiratory ailments.
“When the particles are dispersed into the air, people can feel them on their lips, nose and throat,” said Pavel Gershkovich, spa director at Salt Chalet. “Once it gets in the lungs and sinuses, it kills bacteria and reduces inflammation in the lungs and sinuses.”
The Halogenerator creates an ideal aerosol microclimate, similar to natural salt caves, while the light therapy provides a calming environment, Gershkovich said.
“Forty-five minutes and people feel energized and relaxed,” Gershkovich said
Gershkovich found an interest in salt therapy after reading an article about the first salt room in Israel. According to Salt Chalet staffers, a Polish doctor determined that miners were experiencing respiratory health benefits in the mid-19th century while working in salt caves. Since then, the practice of breathing the salt’s benefits has been common in Europe.
“I flew to Israel at the time, but nobody wanted to talk to me,” he said .Eight months after his return from Israel, he read another article about a salt room opening in the Los Angeles area. He contacted the operators, who assisted him in learning about the rooms.
Gershkovich himself had been an asthma sufferer, so he was interested in knowing whether the salt rooms could help.
“I wanted to cure myself first and then help others,” he said. “I used to take asthma medicine two to three times a day and now I use it three to four times a week.”
Amy Achen, who has had asthma for 10 years, decided it was time to try something new. “My husband started doing research and found the salt lamps and salt rooms,” Achen said.
The first time Achen went to the Salt Chalet she noticed a change. “My ears started draining, they started popping, my sinuses started clearing,” she said. “You start coughing and expelling mucus from your lungs. I swear it works.”
She went for 12 sessions, visiting three times a week. So convinced, she purchased an annual package for her family of four.
Treatment prices begin at $55 for one session, with the cost per session declining if larger packages are purchased, such as $600 for 15 sessions. Further discounts are available with family packages. “We try and go twice a week,” she said.
Gershkovich said the treatment can help with a host of respiratory ailments.
“Lungs have a big connection with the rest of the body,” Gershkovich said. “If you have constant mucus dripping, the whole body is contaminated, but when your sinuses and lungs are free of mucus, your body feels better, cleaner.”
Infants have been taken into the salt room.
“Parents go in for free because they have to hold their child,” Gershkovich said. “And for little ones, it is half the price because they only go in for 25-30 minutes.”
Dr. Abram Ber, a homeopathic physician whose clinic includes the salt spa, said he has referred patients to the treatments.
“My wife was the first patient to try out the salt room,” Ber said. “After seven, eight treatments, it reversed her bronchitis. She does the treatments every time she gets bronchitis.”
Gershkovich said more than 600 people have tried the spa, which he hopes will continue to grow, “naturally cleansing the Valley.”

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