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SpaFinder Releases 2011 Global Spa Trends to Watch Report With Exclusive Commentary From SpaFinder President Susie Ellis

Posted: December 3, 2010

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Spas are finding stylish new ways to recreate the natural salt cave microclimate, infusing salt and negative ions into the air. Some examples have encrusted, stalactite-drenched grottoes (comprised of tons of imported Himalayan salt crystals). With decreased need of a therapist’s involvement, the treatments are attractive to spas from a cost side. Bottom line is that salty is sweet for spas and consumers in the coming year.

For a healthy dose of salt, see: 1,000-plus traditional Eastern European salt caves/spas; CastaDiva Resort (Lake Como, Italy); and Salt Therapy Health & Wellness Center (Ontario, Canada). For the salt caves trend ... Is there any way spas can offer the benefits of this trend without going to the expense of building on a salt cave? If there is a way to incorporate the salt caves trend into treatments somehow, what's a good way to market it?

Susie Ellis:  The building of a salt cave room or facility, of course, works best for larger spas, and resorts/hotels that have the space and resources to install these often dramatic spaces. Also, there are dedicated salt therapy centers, such as Halo in New York City. But there are other ways to bring elements of the salt experience and its benefits into a small spa. Very inexpensive are salt pipes, (under $50), which are small, personal salt inhalers that allow clients to breathe tiny salt particles into their mouths and out of their noses to get the benefits into their respiratory system. People can use them for 15-20 minutes a day, and they are marketed as mini, portable salt rooms. They've gotten some big press lately (featured on shows such as Dr. Oz) as a great, affordable, natural therapy that's noninvasive, natural and drug-free. A spa could have people use them during or in the post-treatment relaxation time, and could bring in a nurse to demonstrate them and their benefits. They could even be sold in the spa store.

There are also salt lamps available online or through salt therapy centers for purchase. They seem to run around $100 and are typically made from the same crystals used to build the more grand salt rooms. The makers of salt lamps point out that the air around the lamp is allergen free, and the lamps release salt and negative ions (neutralizing negativity). Spas could certainly use these in treatment rooms and around the spa, educating clients about how they work and the benefits; after all, improved breathing seems logically a great fit with a relaxing massage.