Relax and rejuvenate at The Salt Cave and Spa

Photos by Suzanne Stewart The halo therapy room, or salt cave, at The Salt Cave and Spa in White Sulphur Springs, may glow like it is on fire, but the room is slightly chilled due to the salt in the air. The room is sandblasted with Himalayan salt and the floor is covered in loose rock salt. Visitors take a seat in one of the reclining chairs, snuggle up under a blanket and simply inhale and exhale while listening to soothing music.
Photos by Suzanne Stewart
The halo therapy room, or salt cave, at The Salt Cave and Spa in White Sulphur Springs, may glow like it is on fire, but the room is slightly chilled due to the salt in the air. The room is sandblasted with Himalayan salt and the floor is covered in loose rock salt. Visitors take a seat in one of the reclining chairs, snuggle up under a blanket and simply inhale and exhale while listening to soothing music.

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

While The Salt Cave and Spa in White Sulphur Springs has typical spa treatments, it also has a unique treatment inspired by European salt mines – a salt cave.

Owners Marius and Adriana Grecu are world travelers who chose to bring the salt cave experience to the mountains of West Virginia. The couple was introduced to salt rooms and caves through their travels and research into their son’s health issues.

“Our son kind of helped us get on his path of self-awareness and healing, and alternative therapies,” Marius said. “He was in the hospital when he was young. A lot of more fundamental questions about life came up and that’s how we started doing more research, and finding answers to questions that sometimes you cannot find readily.”

The salt cave treatment is called halo therapy. The room is built like a cave with salt sandblasted into every nook and cranny. Special salt grinders are hidden in the ceiling and grind down the Himalayan salt so guests have both the interior and exterior benefits of the salt therapy.

“The way it works – we have 16,000 pounds of Himalayan salt that creates a micro-climate,” Marius said. “It’s like being at the oceanside or by waterfalls after thunderstorms. The air is ionized so it is packed with negative ions. In forty-five minutes, you get the equivalent of being at the oceanside for three days.”

Inhaling the microscopic salt during a halo therapy session is beneficial for many common health conditions.

“The salt generator – what it does is it pulverizes salt so you inhale those micro-sized salt particles and you benefit from the anti-inflammatory properties of the salt so if you have sinus congestion, bronchitis, asthma, all of those conditions could benefit from the halo therapy.”

While the salt cave is only half of the spa, the entire space draws inspiration from historic caves. The Grecu’s are both artists and they painted the walls with realistic prehistoric cave drawings.

The design of the business, which is built into a mountainside, is a way to bring nature into the climate and to create a relaxing and unique atmos- phere.

“A salt room is really meant to imitate or replicate the salt mines,” Marius said. “When we visited many salt rooms throughout the United States and Europe, we noticed that they were all beautiful on the inside when you’re in them – they all felt great. The positive effects, the benefits were there, but it felt somewhat awkward feeling like you were in a cave but knowing you were in a strip mall.

“That is the reason why we tried to take that experience a little bit further and make it more authentic,” he continued. “That’s why we went with the theme of a cave.”

Drawn into the business to improve their health, the Grecu’s have noticed a difference in their overall well-being.

“I used to get colds and flu every year like most people,” Marius said. “Usually it takes a good four or five days before it goes away and now when I get a cold, it only takes two days. I had one day when I felt pretty miserable and the next day it was like nothing happened, which was quite unexpected because I’m used to dragging for about a week.”

At first, the Grecu’s planned to have only the salt cave, but soon realized that a series of alternative therapies to the spa would give guests more options to improve their health.

Services include biomat treatment, massages, aromatherapy, facials, reflexology, Reiki, yoga and the ion foot detox/cleanse.

On a recent trip to the spa, my colleague and I had the ion foot detox cleanse followed by a session in the salt cave.

The detox is a 30 minute footbath with electrolysis of the water to pull toxins out of the body. As you place your feet in the water, the therapist adds salt to the water and adds a control unit which delivers current into the array. As the current and salt generate positive and negative ions, it neutralizes charged particles in the body and pulls those particles out through the skin.

At the beginning of the session, the water is clear with just a hint of salt particles. After 30 minutes, the water is dingy and can have tints of red, green, brown or black, depending on the types of toxins that are in the body.

The therapist has a chart and is able to decipher which part of the body is ailing by looking at the color of the water. Although it is not a diagnosis, visitors can take the results to a doctor for further tests.

Every part of the Salt Cave and Spa experience is geared toward better health, including a visit to the bathroom to wash your hands.

Being located in White Sulphur Springs, the spa has natural sulphur water – a fact the spa does not hide nor try to filter out.

“We’re very fortunate to have sulphur water,” Marius said. “Sulphur is needed. It is one of the elements that the body doesn’t naturally produce. It needs to be taken from your diet. Most vegetables have sulphur, but if you don’t have a good variety in your diet and you lack sulphur, it leads to a chain reaction because every cell in our body contains sulphur or needs sulphur. It’s very beneficial.”

Although the water has a strong and unpleasant odor, it is clean and is healthy to use.

“That is why it has always been used for baths because you submerge your body in sulphur water – the skin is the biggest organ in your body so it absorbs through the skin,” Marius said. “It helps with the joints and sometimes with the kidneys.”
For more information and details regarding the treatments offered at the spa, visit www.thesaltcaveandspa.com

Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at sastewart@pocahontastimes.com

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