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Feeling Salty…and Relaxed
Chances are, you don’t give much thought to salt. After all, it’s an everyday ingredient that we use to top buttered popcorn, add to fish and chicken dishes, and even to decorate the surface of fine chocolates. But did you know that salt is a new lure for spa customers?
In ancient times, salt was a highly valued commodity used as a method of trade and currency. In fact, the word “salary” was derived from the word “salt” and since the beginning of time, NaCl (as it’s referred to in scientific communities and high school biology class) has remained an essential element in the diet of humans, animals and plants.
And now, following in the footsteps of Asia and Central Europe, Americans are spending millions of dollars each year on halotherapy, also known as salt therapy.
“Exposure to salt is good for your upper respiratory system, and skin conditions like Rosacea and Eczema,” explains Diane Brann, owner of LaCURA Salt Spa on Anastasia Boulevard, which opened in early May. “It’s anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial and penetrates your lungs to help your whole body.”
Brann, who moved to St. Augustine in 2015 from North Carolina, has been researching the benefits of salt therapy since she visited a salt spa in Asheville about eight years ago. She became instantly hooked and started visiting different spas around the country to learn more.
LaCURA Salt Spa offers a range of services from yoga to infrared sauna to massage therapy and, of course, salt therapy. Walking into the spa, you are immediately greeted by a sweet smell. It doesn’t quite remind you of a day on the beach, but you’re aware of an unfamiliar substance.
“There are layers of salt dust everywhere,” Brann says with a little laugh. “If you lick your fingers, you can taste it.”
The spa’s designated salt chamber has thousands of pounds of pharmaceutical-grade salt on the ground and six zero gravity chairs. The air is thick, the lights are dim and it’s a bit strange to say, but a room full of sodium chloride is oddly relaxing.
“We have to keep everything with a low humidity and relatively cool,” says Brann. “Our generator crushes salt and blows it into the room. We have one man who comes in regularly to help with his bronchial asthma. It also helps with symptoms of allergies and colds.”
LaCURA isn’t alone in the local salt spa trend. Salt Spa St. Augustine on Cordova Street is also readying for a grand opening and, according to their website, will offer a Himalayan salt cave, salt therapy float tanks, salt bed therapy and massage therapy.
“Almost every day, we have new people coming in asking about what we do and what we offer,” says Brann. “I’ve been researching and reading about the benefits for a long time, and it’s been exciting to finally open my own spa.”
LaCURA Salt Spa
804 Anastasia Blvd.
Salt Spa St. Augustine
28 Cordova St.