What are 2,200 pounds of loose pink Himalayan salt imported from Pakistan doing on the floor of a storefront in Hellertown?
That’s a good question for The Sweetness of Salt owner Jillian Rossi, who says she’s been getting her fair share of inquiries about the halotherapy center she’s about to open at 45 W. Water Street in the borough’s Water Street Plaza. The commercial unit formerly housed Sacred Space, in which various local practitioners of healing arts offered classes.
Halotherapy is the use of salt for therapeutic purposes; something that has been done in natural salt caves in Eastern Europe for many centuries. Believers in halotherapy credit it with everything from lessening psoriasis symptoms to improving lung function.
It’s a relatively new type of healing treatment for many Americans, and that’s why Rossi said so many people are curious about the salt cave she will officially open during a Hellertown-Lower Saucon Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 10.
The approximately 50 percent of people she meets who are familiar with halotherapy are universally excited about having a business specializing it in closer to home, since most devotees currently travel as far as Philadelphia for salt therapy sessions, she explained.
“As far as this area, we believe we’re number one,” Rossi said of The Sweetness of Salt.
A Bethlehem Township native, she said she was drawn to Hellertown by the sense of community in the Saucon Valley. As evidence of that, she cited the fact that everyone from borough officials to chamber representatives has already made her feel welcome.
When The Sweetness of Salt welcomes its first customers in April, they will each have the opportunity to enjoy a 45-minute session in the salt cave for $35. The room is equipped with zero-gravity loungers, and each patron will be given a blanket, since the temperature is kept at a constant 68 degrees. Soft, soothing music will add to the ambience.
Shoes must be removed before entering the darkened chamber, but socks are required when walking across the salt-covered floor. Other COVID-19 safety precautions including mask-wearing will be followed according to state guidelines.
“Most people just want to feel the salt under their feet,” Rossi said of the cave.
Salt particles will also infuse the air inside it, and the cave will eventually be used for everything from hosting yoga classes to massage therapy to crystal healing workshops.
“We have some great contractors that we’ll be bringing in here,” confirmed Rossi, who is a reiki master as well as a certified spiritual counselor. “I have quite a few friends in the same circle who do similar things.”
Almost any therapeutic service can be enhanced if it is offered inside the halotherapy room, she said, noting, “we’re going to make it the most relaxing experience possible.”
Rossi said halotherapy benefits brain function because the salt used in it releases negative ions, which proponents believe have the power to help improve mental acuity.
Unfortunately salt has gotten a bad rap over the years due to its frequent association with poor dietary choices related to hypertension, but the irony of that stigma, Rossi said, is that halotherapy is believed by practitioners to help lower blood pressure.
“The more people that know about it, the better,” she said.
The Sweetness of Salt takes its name from Rossi’s catchphrase for the business: “Who knew salt could be so sweet?” It will be open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The business also sells pink Himalayan salt for culinary and other uses.