We write extensively about sauna bathing and its numerous health benefits, ranging from improved circulation to detoxification. But did you know, incorporating Himalayan salt into this practice can add an extra layer of wellness? Himalayan salt is renowned for its purity, mineral content, and potential health benefits. It’s really gained in popularity recently and we’re going to cover why that is and how it works.
Why Salt? The Effect and Mechanism
Salt, in its various forms, has been utilized for centuries in health and wellness practices. When heated, salt releases negative ions, which are believed to purify the air, reduce stress, and promote overall well-being. Himalayan salt, in particular, contains 84 different trace minerals, including calcium, potassium, and magnesium, which are absorbed through the skin during a sauna session. 84 minerals!?
Research has shown that these minerals contained in Himalayan salt can have various health benefits. Studies have shown that the minerals in Himalayan salt can help balance the body’s pH levels, reduce muscle cramps, and improve hydration. The heat from the sauna enhances the absorption of these minerals, making the combination of Himalayan salt and sauna bathing particularly potent.
The effect that a salt sauna has on the respiratory system is one of its most famous advantages. Himalayan Salt has a large negative ionic charge, but the lining of our airways has a tiny positive charge (interesting, huh?). The negative ions from salt are helpful because they are able to travel deep into the lungs and then be absorbed into the bloodstream due to the attraction between these opposing electrical charges. The exchange has several advantages, one of which is that it reduces inflammation in the lungs' airways. Salt saunas are beneficial for those with colds, the flu, and occasionally even Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma because they assist in getting rid of extra mucus. Natural salts, like sea salt, also have a cleaning and cleansing effect that is beneficial to health.
Besides being ingested via the respiratory system, our bodies also absorb salt through the skin. A sauna's heat broadens the skin pores, making it possible for your body to take in some of those 84 minerals present in salt. Lots of adults with acne find halotherapy (just a fancy word for breathing in salt as a therapeutic health approach) - either in a salt sauna or at home - beneficial in managing their condition. It’s no silver bullet, but rather part of a full treatment plan; regular salt saunas users often experience lessened instances of skin eruptions.
Concerning skin wellness, routinely using salt saunas has demonstrably been effective in alleviating Eczema symptoms too. Sessions in a salt sauna enhance blood circulation within the skin and like the lungs’ lining, can help reduce inflammation along with redness, swelling, itching and dryness. Even though it doesn't replace proper medical treatment, halotherapy can noticeably decrease both frequency and intensity of Eczema outbreaks.
Does it Need to be Himalayan Salt?
While Himalayan salt is often preferred for its purity and mineral content, other types of salt can also be used in a sauna bath. However, it is important to ensure that the salt is pure and free from additives. Sea salt and Epsom salt are other popular choices, each offering its own set of benefits. Sea salt, for instance, is rich in magnesium, which can help reduce inflammation and improve muscle function.
Must it be Pink Himalayan Salt?
The pink color of Himalayan salt is due to the presence of iron oxide, but the color does not significantly impact the salt’s health benefits. The benefits are derived from the salt’s overall mineral content and purity. Whether pink, white, or any other color, what matters most is the quality of the salt and ensuring it is free from contaminants.
Using Salt in Your Sauna Bath
Incorporating Himalayan salt into your sauna bath can be done in several ways. Salt blocks or lamps can be placed inside the sauna to release negative ions and create a calming ambiance. For a more direct application, salt scrubs can be used on the skin to exfoliate and absorb the minerals. Additionally, adding salt to a bowl of water and gently splashing it onto the sauna rocks can create a burst of steam enriched with minerals.
It is important to start slowly and pay attention to how your body responds, as the combination of salt and heat can be intense. Ensure proper hydration before and after your sauna session to enhance the benefits and prevent dehydration.
Using Salt Beyond the Sauna Bath
Beyond the sauna, Himalayan salt has various applications in health and wellness. It can be used in cooking to add minerals to your diet, as a bath soak for relaxation, or in lamps to purify indoor air. The versatility of Himalayan salt makes it a valuable addition to any wellness routine, providing benefits both inside and outside the sauna.
Embracing the practice of using Himalayan salt in your sauna bath can elevate your wellness journey, providing a unique combination of heat, minerals, and negative ions. With its myriad of health benefits and versatility, Himalayan salt stands out as a natural and effective way to enhance your sauna experience. By understanding the science behind it and how to properly use it, you can unlock a world of wellness possibilities.
Looking to spice up your sauna bath (get it!?) with some Himalayan salt? Check out our LED-lit Himalayan Salt panels here.