By Kym Gable


MCMURRAY (KDKA) — It’s the holiday season, but it’s also flu season, and a growing number of people seeking natural solutions for stress, fatigue, respiratory issues and pain are saying, “‘Tis the season for salt!”

Salt therapy, or halotherapy, is a growing trend. It’s an alternative treatment that involves breathing salty air. Many claim it can alleviate a variety of symptoms and conditions.

One local salt cave in McMurray, Washington County, is getting a lot of calls from individuals and families who want to experience halotherapy during the holiday season.

Salt Of The Earth, on Valleybrook Road, has been open for almost a year now. Owner Lisa Mascara says the concept is simple.

“It’s 100% Himalayan salt. You just come in, lie back and you breathe,” Mascara said.

The cave is constructed of 32,000 pounds of authentic Himalayan salt, from the floor, to the wall, to the ceiling.

KDKA’s Kym Gable joined a recent session with a group of clients. Sessions are 45 minutes long, and you recline in a zero-gravity chair while relaxing music plays.

Mascara says the natural anti-bacterial, anti-fungal salt cleanses your respiratory system and reduces inflammation.

Eleni Dire is a young, expectant mother and she said the salt cave worked wonders on her swelling from the pregnancy.

“At first, I was like, ‘Okay, I’ll try it.’ I have had no swelling since I’ve been in [the cave] from pregnancy. My face typically usually is really clear right after I leave. I wake up the next morning, my acne is gone. Sinuses, from pregnancy, or the allergies, are gone the next morning too. Even actually as soon as you leave,” said Dire.

Helen Fisfis is Eleni’s grandmother.

“After you leave the salt cave, that [pain] all goes away, and even the joints don’t hurt. Stooping over and the knees, the pain seems to go away. It truly works,” said Fisfis

Jennifer Poland says it’s been life-changing for her.

“I’ve been suffering from a chronic illness for two years and I’ve had a shortness of breath. And I can tell you, it’s terrible not being able to breathe. It was amazing. I haven’t been able to breathe that well for years,” she said.

Salt Of The Earth also has a private room for different types of massages and treatments. The owners also offer a variety of workshops and group classes. And the Chakra Boutique sells all things salt, including those popular salt lamps that many people have in their homes.

Though proprietors of salt caves cannot make any medical claims regarding cures, Mascara says many of her clients appreciate the results from their sessions.

“Relaxes, stress-free. It just makes for a better holiday,” said Mascara.

Dire added, “I’m a firm believer… now I’m kind of hooked!”

For more information on the Salt Of The Earth Himalayan Salt Cave and Chakra Boutique, visit: www.saltoftheearthpgh.com.

The Pittsburgh area’s first salt cave, Peace, Love and Zen Wellness Center in East Liberty, opened back in 2013.