A Doctor’s Take on Salt Caves

Pulse readers have been clamoring about salt caves ever since contributor Rachel Kalina wrote about four local favorites in December. Salt caves, or rooms comprised of solid bricks made from Himalayan salt, are said to help people relax and breathe easier. But is the hype right?

Related Content: Get Relaxed at 5 Long Island Salt Caves

The literature review is still limited on the emerging trend. But one 2014 article based on a questionnaire of 303 southern Polish citizens revealed that the majority of them found it helped improve relaxation and lessened symptoms of depression.

Though salt caves may help with mind and body restoration, don’t expect your doctor to tell you to overload on salty burritos (sorry!). When it comes to eating, medicine still has a minimalistic mindset regarding salt. Unlike the calming effects of a salt cave, a diet full of salty or processed foods can instead lead to hypertension, heart failure, kidney disease and sensations of feeling bloated over time.

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 mg a day for most adults. As a basis of comparison, ¼ teaspoon of salt= 575 mg sodium while a full teaspoon equals 2,300 mg sodium (the recommended daily intake of sodium!).  There is generally no such thing as “too little sodium” since vital organs need as little as 500 mg daily to function properly. The recommended intake of up to 2,300 mg of sodium can be satisfied by a regular healthy diet. Eating less than that is usually preferred in those who suffer from heart disease.

But salt cave regulars needn’t worry too much on how much sodium they ingest during the week. Even though the skin is a huge mineral absorber the method of salt intake is the key difference here! A diet that is full of processed and salty foods is the most direct and speedy way to get massive amounts of salt into your vessels, unlike Long Island salt cave regulars who spend a few hours weekly basking in salt caves.

dr. uruj kamal

dr. uruj kamal

Dr. Uruj Kamal is a third year resident in Psychiatry at Baystate Medical Center-University of Massachusetts Medical School. A Stony Brook native, she enjoys combining her knowledge of mental health with healthy living. Dr. Kamal has a special interest in outpatient adult psychiatry.