Health & Relaxation: A Visit to Austin Salt Cave

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The Himalayan salt therapy room at Austin Salt Cave

When I walked into Austin Salt Cave to try halotherapy (salt therapy) for the first time, I was greeted with the warm smile and calm demeanor of Jack Cramer, the owner. I’d never tried halotherapy before,so I was unsure of the procedure, but Jack directed me toward a secure locker for my belongings and shoes. He said I could leave my socks on, but I’m a barefoot girl at heart, so I stowed them with the rest of my stuff. (Jack provides disposable booties for those who prefer not to remove shoes.)

I entered the salt therapy room. It was dimly lit with a soft glow coming from the pink Himalayan salt lamps lining the walls. There were also blocks of Himalayan salt around the room and granulated salt crystals covering the floor, like sparkling gravel, under the chairs. The chairs look pretty basic, but sit down, lean back and…wow; they’re perfect. Add a soft fleece blanket if you’re chilly, and that, coupled with the soothing music, equals instant relaxation.

Jack took a few moments to explain the room and the history of halotherapy. Back in the 1840’s, people noticed that salt miners seemed a good deal healthier than other miners. Dr. Feliks Boczkowski found their lungs were in superior condition, so he opened a spa inside one of the salt mines. People spending time in the salt mines (which were at one point used as bomb shelters) noticed significant improvements in their respiratory issues.

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Jack Cramer (owner) & his brother, Colton

To simulate the salt mine environment, Jack pipes salt into the air of the therapy room, while patrons relax in comfort. While I couldn’t detect the salt in the air, it did feel delightfully clean and crisp. On his way out of the room, before our 45-minute session, Jack even provided a book light to a regular attendee who liked to read during her therapy.

Once the door was closed, I admit I felt a minor panic; how was I going to just lie here for a full 45-minutes?

It turns out, it wasn’t a problem. I fell into a supremely relaxed state — not quite asleep, yet not awake either. When Jack opened the door, I couldn’t believe time was already up. I felt calm, and my sinuses, often stuffy from seasonal allergies, were completely clear. In visiting with one of the regular clients, I found she attends salt therapy sessions at Austin Salt Cave up to five times per week and no longer experiences her normal allergy-induced sinus headaches.

I left Austin Salt Cave feeling clear-headed, relaxed, centered and refreshed. And as I drove home up Ranch Road 620, I realized that, in the moment, nothing could ruffle my feathers, not even traffic.

The Austin Salt Cave is your one stop shop for anything salt related, from salt therapy and salt lamps, to edibles salts and salt cooking tiles. Open 7 days/week and conveniently located in Lakeway right behind The Grove. AustinSaltCave.com, 512-838-6545.

Reprinted from Neighbors of Lakeway Magazine, February 2018, Best Version Media.

 

New Year, Same Great You

I’m going to talk about New Year’s resolutions. I know…yawn. There are probably thousands of articles bopping around the internet right now on the topic. But, I feel the need to express my alternative view of goal-making. This is not about “new year, new you,” which is a terribly overused title. What’s wrong with the old you? “New you” implies that the old you isn’t worth keeping around.

Sure, there may be some things you’d like to focus on, and January 1 is as good a time as any to take stock and plan ahead. I shied away from resolutions for…well, my whole life, because it all seemed like too much pressure. But last year, I realized there were some aspects of life I wanted to focus on: simplicity and listening to my intuition.

Taking stock now, I see that I accomplished the goal of focusing on those things. My life is simpler; I keep it in mind when accepting/declining new responsibilities, but I haven’t totally got a handle on it (I may never). That’s okay; the point is to be mindful about it.

This year, my focus is nurturing my relationships with my family — making time for Jason and me to connect, play with the kids, hang out with my parents and sister. I don’t have a set number of hours, but I know if I keep it at the top of my mind by writing about it, meditating on it, at the end of the year, I’ll feel good about it. I don’t want to make some brand new, unreal version of myself; I want make my life more satisfying and enrich the lives of the people around me.

If you want to make your focus being more active or eating more intuitively (one of my last year’s goals) go ahead. It’s all about mindset. You have to ask yourself, “Am I doing this because it’s what I’m ‘supposed’ to do or because it’ll improve my quality of life in a way that I want.

That last bit, “in a way that I want,” is important. You are under no obligation to make the choices society say are healthy. You want to eat cake and donuts for breakfast? Good for you. You want to smoke, spend a bunch of money or drink a whole bottle of wine? Fine. The point is to not kid yourself; don’t spend your energy rationalizing your behavior. Just decide to do them or not do them.  We all know what the possible consequences of these behaviors are, and sometimes we choose to do them anyway. That doesn’t make us bad people; it makes us humans who like to enjoy life.

I am not talking about addiction here, which generally tends to make people miserable; I’m talking about the choice to binge on cookies on a Friday night or spend 11 hours watching Star Wars movies. It may your stomach feel terrible and give you a tendency to reverse your sentences like Yoda the day after, but maybe it’s worth it to you every now and then. Or maybe it’s not. Either way is okay.

So when you make your resolutions or goals or whatever you like to call them, don’t make them for other people and don’t be too rigid about them. Think about what would truly make you feel more satisfied with your life — just one or two things, not a whole list of 10 — and focus on that. Or don’t make any resolutions. Maybe you’re fine with everything how it is in the moment. If so, cheers to you.