The countless health benefits associated with both infrared sauna use and salt cave therapy have probably drawn you to the conclusion that an in-house Himalayan salt wall sauna is the ultimate health vessel. While we may be a *bit* biased, we agree! To go a step further, this combination is enhanced with the color light therapy in the ceiling which creates a light bath infused with all of the life-affirming benefits of salt.
What do you really need to know about owning a sauna with salt walls?
We all know the feeling of arriving at the beach, breathing in fresh salt air, and the calm that subsequently settles over the body. We also all know that salt air corrodes bicycles, vehicles, and pretty much anything that it comes into contact with quickly.
These are examples of some questions you may be having if you are considering purchasing an in house sauna with salt walls:
- Is salt water corrosion something that would affect the integrity of a sauna with salt walls?
- What is all the hype around including salt walls in a sauna?
- Are the purported health benefits of salt air worth the potential damage to the sauna itself?
- Is the inclusion of salt walls in your sauna a fad that will fade out, or is there real lasting benefit to including salt in your sauna?
How Do Salt Walls Physically Fit Into Your Sauna?
Himalayan salt walls will cover a relatively small percentage of the total square footage of wall space in your sauna. The rest of the wall space is dedicated to the infrared heaters (including both carbon and ceramic) or doors, and windows. This means that while there is enough salt to have a positive effect on health, the salt walls will not cover the majority of the total wall surface.
The salt wall panel is very similar to that of a picture in a frame, and is therefore separate from the rest of the cabin structure, but still attached to the wall; not the wall itself. This ensures that if you ever need to replace any of your salt bricks, it can be done so easily. The Himalayan salt is formatted in the same shape as a typical brick, but usually somewhat thinner. The coloration of the salt ranges from a robust orange to pink, and appears very similar to the brilliant colors of the setting sun.
Some sauna units come with the salt walls on the bench riser or just above the wall heaters closer to the ceiling, and none interfere with the placement of the carbon and ceramic infrared heaters.
Salt has been used for centuries to heal various conditions, and continues to be a powerful healing tool, particularly for pulmonary tract issues, skin infections, and it is of course a necessary mineral element for all human health. When salt is used therapeutically it is generally referred to as halotherapy.
What Is Halotherapy?
The use of salt for therapeutic purposes is generally referred to as halotherapy (HP), derived from speleotherapy in salt mines. This therapy was popularized by the health of salt miners in eastern Europe. Generally, mining is considered to be a potentially hazardous and dangerous occupation; however, it was remarkable that workers in the salt mines were demonstrating superior respiratory health when compared to other civilians. With some investigation, it was found that the particles that these miners were inhaling were actually beneficial to their health. Interestingly, it was the salt miners in Poland during the 19th century that brought into focus the health benefits of salt exposure in confined spaces, such as salt mines and caves.
Once inhaled, salt particles cause the mucus within the lungs to thin and liquify, thereby dislodging potentially harmful pathogens and bacteria within the pulmonary tract. This process allows for easier expulsion of allergens and other airborne disturbances to the lungs. (1)
The calming effect of fresh sea air is not just in your imagination, but rather has quantifiable effects on human health.
The national institute of health performed a study on 15 individuals, all of whom suffered conditions ranging from bronchial asthma to allergies. The study involved recreating a salt cave and having the participants sit inside for a regulated number of sessions – clinically significant results were observed in the participants. The study went on to conclude that spending time in spaces with a high concentration of salt particles is highly beneficial to overall health. (2) The article’s conclusion is quoted below:
“The assessment of results achieved in the investigated patients with bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive bronchopneumopathy, after a specific halotherapy treatment, indicates the triggering of an anti-inflammatory (including anti-allergic mechanisms) mechanism and a decreasing trend of the inflammatory process.” (2)
So, does having salt in your sauna recreate similar health benefits? It appears that the similarities between the enclosed space of a sauna couple with the radiant heat of infrared light creates a very similar effect as that of a salt cave. Additionally, the heat from the sauna helps to release the salt particles off of the individual Himalayan salt bricks.
Potential Health Benefits of Having Salt In Your Sauna
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder)
- Chronic Bronchitis
- Hay Fever
- Sleep & Snoring
Infrared saunas that come with salt walls are essentially recreating the experience of a salt cave on a smaller scale. The heat from the infrared panels affects the salt in such a way as to release the negatively charged ions in salt particles inside the chamber of the sauna. While this will not have as intense of an effect as a salt generator, the effects are still substantial enough to improve overall health.
What Is the Correlation Between EMFs and Salt Walls In Your Sauna
Salt is negatively charged which gives it the unique capacity to bind positively charged particles to it. This effect that salt has on positively charged emissions from electrical devices neutralizes some of the harmful effects from electromagnetic fields. At saunas.org we aim to keep the levels of EMF emissions as low as technology permits, nevertheless by virtue of using an electrical appliance, some EMFs will still be present. The incorporation of salt walls into your sauna will likely improve the overall experiential effect of EMFs on the human body.
Do Salt Walls In Your Sauna Affect Respiratory Function?
Most individuals will notice an improvement in their pulmonary function with continued use of a sauna with salt walls, however the effects will not be as noticeable as those from a salt generator.
Is it easy to clean salt?
You will need to clean the salt off the lower ledge of your salt wall. You may find white snow like salt particles in your sauna. Primarily, these will accumulate on the wood that supports the salt walls. This can be cleaned using a small brush and a dust pan, and simply ‘dusting’ the salt off of the ledge into the dust pan. You will then want to wipe down the wood with a damp cloth. About once a month you will want to run a vacuum (with a small attachment at the suction point) along the back velvet that covers the carbon heaters, and anywhere else in your sauna where you find an accumulation of salt.
Does the salt corrode over time?
Yes, the salt blocks themselves will corrode over time as salt is a natural substance that is subject to degradation as part of its natural life cycle. The time frame over which this occurs is a question of years, rather than months. Slowly the blocks evaporate as the salt is released. Replacement salt blocks, should you require them, are available.
Can you over expose yourself to salt in a sauna?
At this time, it is not known if over exposure to salt can negatively affect human health. Given that the salt walls are in a sauna, you will not be spending more than 30-60 minutes a day in your sauna maximum, so this amount of exposure to the salt will likely not have a negative effect on your health.
What are the long term effects of using salt on the sauna structure itself?
Unlike the salt air coming off the ocean, the salt air in your infrared sauna is not high in humidity, and will therefore not produce the same results that ocean air has on things such as bicycles, vehicles, hinges, and a host of appliances. So, you need not worry about the effect that the salt has on the structure of your sauna in the long run because the infrared heat is not humid. It is for this reason that salt walls are not included in the wetter traditional saunas or steam saunas. The dry heat of infrared light allows for the safe inclusion of salt into your sauna therapy without risking damage to the sauna structure itself.
Himalayan Salt Wall Infrared Saunas Are a Beautiful Marriage of Both Heat and Salt Therapy
If you are choosing to invest in a sauna and are looking for the ultimate health vessel, then it makes sense to include himalayan salt walls in your sauna. While saunas with Himalayan salt walls do not produce the same benefits to pulmonary health as a salt generator, they do appear to have positive benefits.
The salt walls of your sauna can easily be kept clean and will not erode the integrity of your sauna as infrared heat is dry unlike the humid ocean air. It makes good sense to dive into all the benefits of a sauna with Himalayan salt walls, color light therapy for a full health immersion!