EUREKA! We have found an urban oasis and we are in love. Introducing Salthaus: a modern salt room in the heart of Manhattan. Intended for both adults and children, Salthaus has created a serene haven and escape from the frenetic pace of New York City. In addition to alleviating stress and anxiety, the salt rooms boast numerous health benefits. We sat down with co-founder Amber Berger to further educate ourselves on modern salt rooms and to hear the story behind this ingenious wellness experience.
Food + Mood NYC: Can you explain what a salt room is?
Amber Berger: A salt room is a place where people can gather to experience the power of salt. At Salthaus, in addition to sitting in the salt room, we provide salt therapy, also known as halotherapy. Salt therapy is where you sit and breathe dry salty air that is infused into a room, created by a machine called a halogenerator, to recharge your body and mind. You do not need to change your clothing; shoes off, socks on. Salt Therapy recreates the experience of natural salt caves used in Eastern Europe for more than 150 years.
F+M NYC: What inspired you to start Salthaus?
AB: After healing myself from an autoimmune disease at a young age, I wanted to pay it forward and empower others to take charge of their health to feel their best but I wasn’t sure which avenue of my holistic journey I wanted to share. On a trip home to visit my family in Florida my husband, who at the time had a nagging winter cough, and I decided to check out salt therapy and I was blown away when it was cleared up. Being able to see first hand the power of salt was incredible. I fell in love with the treatment since it was 100% natural and could be made available to all ages. I feel there is a big opportunity to spread awareness of this incredible therapy and create a space for people to unwind and detox together.
F+M NYC: What are the physical and emotional benefits of halotherapy and how often do you recommend using it?
AB: There are a wide range of benefits of halotherapy: reduces stress and anxiety, strengthens immunity, improves sleep, headache relief, boosts athletic recovery, enhances athletic performance and improves skin conditions. Everyone’s needs and bodies are different so I recommend starting with once a week and building up to more depending on your specific condition. We suggest you unplug during your session in order to get the profound mental benefits of disconnecting while receiving the physical benefits of salt therapy.
F+M NYC: A big part of your mission involves breathwork. Why?
AB: I am fascinated by the power of breath and the many benefits of getting more oxygen to your body. At Salthaus we provide guided breathwork in the salt rooms for our members to enjoy and to help them relax. We also work with groups to practice breathing exercises. We were born engaging our diaphragm muscle for breathing but around age 5 our breath shifts up into our chest. This shift leads us to only using approximately 20% of our lung capacity and I believe links back to many issues we face today from anxiety, ADHD to digestive problems. Did you know you can only live 3-4 minutes without breathing? It is something I believe we take for granted daily. My journey to focus on the breath started in response to sleep issues and I have learned quickly now how to use it as a stress management tool as well. It is amazing how quickly breath can help you control your own body whether it be from flight to fight or from rest to digest. At Salthaus we love to help people feel better and how to connect to their breath to harness it as a tool for overall well being no matter their age.
F+M NYC: Besides Salthaus, how do you take care of yourself on and off the plate?
AB: I am a huge advocate for self care. The older I get the more I need to make sure to take care of myself in order to be there for my family. This was not always the case but after having my second child I saw I needed to shift my priorities. It’s not always easy and it is a big commitment from both my end as well as my family. However, once you incorporate it into your life, it becomes second nature where you put yourself on the top of the to do list rather than the bottom. I love being efficient so I opt for small moments of self care on a daily basis from oil pulling in the morning to dry brushing before I shower. I love showing my kids the importance of self care and already see them responding with interest and they love joining me in my daily self care rituals.