If you find yourself in need of a relaxing beach vacation, there aren't many things that can replace that experience beyond actually spending a week at the shore... unless you've ever tried salt therapy, like the treatments you'll find at the Asheville Salt Cave. Basically, the idea is to sit in a cave filled with salt and to take in all of the ions and other goodness from the natural mineral: kind of like breathing in salty ocean air, but on steriods. In fact, they claim that a 45 minute session in their caves in equivalent to 4 days at the beach... which is definitely more doable than a vacation!

Here's basically how salt therapy works, in their words:

The secret of salt therapy is simple. By naturally recreating the micro climate of a salt mine, the air in our therapeutic salt cave is intensely saturated with negative ions and when heated to 64 degrees the salt rock crystals in the cave release 84 trace elements and minerals which are essential to our bodies. By breathing in these elements, the body gets in balance and begins to heal itself. Our salt cave will leave you with a newly discovered energy accomplished without medications, through the natural healing process of salt therapy.

And if you think they're just using plain ol' Morton's in their caves, then think again! The salt they use is from 250 million year old, 500 meter deep Polish caves-- which means no bacteria, no toxins, and no pollutants. And, while you're basking in the salty goodness of their caves, you'll be treated to a little bit of light, sound, and meditation therapy at the same time-- there are even calming waterfalls in the caves, which boast 9-foot ceiling

It's supposed to be all-around good for you, and can help with asthma and other respiratory ailments like congestion, skin problems, allergies, arthritis, depression, digestive complaints, ear infections, migraines, hay fever, poor concentration, sleep disorders, snoring, stress, frequent viral infections, weakened immune systems, among other ailments. There are several different ways to experience all these salt caves have to offer: from massages with aromatheraputic salt scrubs and hot salt stones to gong sound baths and healing concerts to reike and yoga sessions in the caves. They even welcome kids-- it's like a sandbox of salt-- or you can come on your own for a private relaxation session!

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Header via Facebook/Asheville Salt Cave