Salt Room Therapy Is NYC's Latest Wellness Obsession

Salt Room at Modrn Sanctuary
Salt Room at Modrn Sanctuary | © Esme Benjamin / Culture Trip

Historically the narrative around salt has been “less is better,” but the health properties of mineral-rich Himalayan pink salt have flipped the script—so much so that New Yorkers are flocking to purpose-built salt rooms for yoga, relaxation, and occasionally even business meetings with wellness benefits.

It looks like a giant salt grinder exploded at Modrn Sanctuary, a luxury wellness center in NoMad, Manhattan. The floor is covered in pale pink granules, like sand-dunes on a beach at sunset, and the walls are lined with marbled rosy bricks. A machine called a halo generator seasons the air with particles of 200-million-year-old salt, mined from the foothills of the Himalayas.

The owner of this unusual place, Alexandra Janelli, is a hypnotist by trade who auspiciously opened the center on election day, 2016. A salt room was a logical addition to the roster of services on offer at Modrn Sanctuary, thanks to its many reputed health benefits, including relief from skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis; respiratory issues like colds, bronchitis, asthma, and sinus infections; and the promise of speedier healing for minor cuts thanks to its antibacterial, antiviral, and antiseptic properties.

But this is New York. Why simply relax and savor the ambient vibe when you could be multitasking? Occasionally, Janelli explains, clients have been known to schedule business meetings in the salt room, so they can squeeze self-care into their schedule without dropping the ball at work. “There are a lot of different people doing a lot of different things in the room, and while it was originally intended for health and wellness, I’ve noticed it’s taken on its own energy as a community space. The energy is off the hook.”
Salt cave slumbers today 9:30am @montauksaltcave #mtk where we basically do this 💆🏼 you know you wanna so just do it ••• also no nyc salt this week next round is 11/9 + 11/10 #saltcave #magic #healing #gong
A post shared by Gong Girl (@jenfrasher) on Oct 29, 2017 at 5:14am PDT
There are three salt studios in New York City, and all of them play host to wellness classes of various types. Downtown in the East Village, Jennifer Frasher teaches Kundalini yoga classes in the pastel pink cavern of the Montauk Salt Cave. Originally attracted to the room’s aesthetic (“It was a wow factor. It seemed really magical”), she quickly realized the reputed respiratory benefits of Himalayan salt pair perfectly with yoga, thanks to its emphasis on deep, smooth inhales and exhales. “We did one session and it felt amazing. People instantly relax,” she explains. “And the more you breathe the more benefits you get, so it makes so much sense to do yoga in this room.”

I can taste the stuff at the back of my throat and feel it settling like a very fine dust on my skin, working its invisible magic.

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