Best of all, it’s 100 per cent drug-free. By Dawn Chen
As someone who’s suffered from on-and-off sinus problems since I was a kid, I was definitely intrigued when I heard about halotherapy, which is also colloquially referred to as salt therapy. I first came across the treatment four to five years ago, but there weren’t any centres offering it at that time. Recently, Breathya opened at Marine Parade, and they’re currently the first halotherapy centre in Singapore.
Halotherapy is mainly used to treat two groups of problems: respiratory ailments and skin conditions. Salt is a naturally antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial ingredient. Breathing in the micro-crystals of salt is supposed to help open up your lungs and airways to loosen mucus, reduce inflammation and improve breathing. The salt particles act as anti-histamines and help to alleviate asthma, bronchitis, sinus problems and chronic upper respiratory conditions.
Skincare wise, the salt particles are supposed to help balance pH levels and boost reparative and regenerative processes in the skin. It is recommended for those suffering from acne, eczema and psoriasis.
At Breathya, there are two salt rooms where the walls and floor are covered with Himalayan salt crystals, and a generator disperses micro particles of pharmaceutical salt into the air. According to the staff, the salt therapy rooms are safe for children and expecting mothers as it is completely natural and drug-free.
Before heading into the salt rooms, you have to remove all your footwear and put on disposable socks and a shower cap. You’ll then be led to the salt rooms where you can relax on one of the chairs to breathe in the salt-infused air. Prior to Breathya, my only experience with salt rooms are the ones in the Virgin Active gyms. I went into the salt room fully expecting it to be nice and warm, but realised very quickly that this was quite a different set-up. At Breathya, the salt rooms are temperature- and- humidity-controlled to optimise the efficacy of the treatment. In short, the room is quite cold and dry. I settled into a chair and could almost immediately ‘taste’ the saltiness of the air. Once you breathe in the salt-infused air, the saltiness lingers at the back of your throat.
Just five minutes into the treatment, I could feel my nose get slightly tingly. It was a similar feeling to breathing in medicated oil where your airways clear up, just without the prickliness of mentholated products. Soothing background music was played throughout the 30 minutes we were in the salt rooms, and it felt like the perfect place to take a quick nap. By the end of the session, my nose was a lot clearer, and I felt rested and calm. The only downside? My lips felt pretty dry and my dark grey top and black skirt were peppered with salt particles.
That night, I also slept relatively better. The salty taste at the back of my throat lasted well into the next day as well, but the benefit of clear airways was gone – my morning sinus had returned. Perhaps our short trial wasn’t quite long enough. You can expect to see improvements to your condition after going for three to five sessions.
I’m glad my curiosity about salt therapy was finally satisfied. While it is an effective treatment for clearing your airways, I’m not sure how long-term the benefits are. Give Breathya a try if you’re a chronic sufferer of respiratory or skin ailments. As a 100 per cent natural, drug-free option, you have nothing to lose. The sessions are also relaxing, but remember to bring along a jacket as it gets chilly in the salt room.
A single session of halotherapy for adults starts from $110 and lasts one hour. It is best to wear loose-fitting, light-coloured clothes as the salt crystals will stick to your outfit and leave whitish streaks. Visit www.breathya.com for more information.