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Montauk Salt Cave

Halotherapy Treatment Comes To The East End 

Fortunately my sinuses were not clogged, but I felt them clear anyway as I breathed in the mineral-saturated air at the Montauk Salt Cave. Known for their health benefits, salt chambers are popping up all over the country. And “if it’s ‘groovy,’ it ends up in Montauk,” says realtor Lois Moore in Corcoran’s Montauk office.

More than trendy, the salt cave is a godsend for those who suffer respiratory ailments (including colds, allergies and bronchitis) and other conditions such as psoriasis and eczema, according to owner Shannon Coppola. Several clients who frequented the cave this winter were able to stop using their prescription meds. One asthma sufferer, who also used a salt air inhaler available at the facility, “got through the winter without being hospitalized or using her rescue inhaler.” A man with COPD also avoided the hospital, a relative miracle. Lisa Cotter, who works the front desk, has stopped having migraines.

Coppola and her husband imported three tons of pink Himalayan salt from Nepal and built the igloo-like room with salt bricks, strewing the floor with salt crystals. They were aided in the construction by Margaret Smiechowski, who hails from Poland where salt caves have been used therapeutically for eons. “In Poland there are even churches built in underground salt caves,” says Smiechowski, whose specialty is recreating the microclimate of a real cave.

I was led barefoot into the cave where I reclined on a zero-gravity lounge chair (used for its flotation qualities), which was poised before a “fireplace” salt sculpture lit by a pair of salt lamps, giving the room a warm glow. As I relaxed to the sound of crashing waves, a “halogenerator,” spewed out millions of micron-size salt particles, which I ingested in deep breaths.

Himalayan salt, mined by hand from caves that formed 250 million years ago, is said to contain the 84 trace minerals and elements that are found in the human body, and is “anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and anti-microbial,” says Coppola. “It clears pollens, viruses and toxins.” She ought to know. From the time her son was born he suffered intense allergies and reflux, and “never slept or napped, ever.” That is, until his first salt cave session at age four. Coppola remembers the date well: December 13 2014, the first time he slept through the night. Now six, he is so symptom-free that the family was able to adopt a dog this year, an aged Weimeraner made famous by its previous owner, Phil Berg, in his book Travels with Uma.

But the skeptic in me wanted to know: Couldn’t I just walk on the beach for the same affects? “One 45-minute session is equal to being at the beach, sitting in front of the surf, for five days,” says Coppola. The halogenerator produces particles that are “more concentrated.”

The room is also used for classes such as kundalini meditation and massage and has proved so popular that she is building a second one in Huntington.