Salt therapy and all of its purported benefits are soon coming to Riverhead.
Peconic River Salt, an offshoot of the Southampton-based wellness non-profit Joshua’s Place, is expected to open on East Main Street Friday. There you will find a salt cave — a room lined with Himalayan salt blocks and covered in a floor of salt — and two rooms containing a float pod filled with salt water.
“You sit, you breathe, you meditate,” spa manager Jacqueline Fox said of the salt cave. “It’s bliss. It’s harmony with yourself.”
The twin pods each contain 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt dissolved in water, which allows the participants to freely float in the small pool. The lid may be closed for total sensory deprivation or kept open for those who are claustrophobic.
Fox noted that she first tried float therapy while pregnant and living in Munich, Germany and that she enjoyed the experience.
“Zero gravity when you are pregnant? It’s heaven,” she said. “I call it being in the hands of God.”
The water is heated to 98.6 degrees. Customers are allowed an hour in the room and are asked to shower before and after the therapy.
The organization claims that a salt lounge session can boost the immune system, ease respiratory ailments, reduce stress and induce a sense of calm and well-being. And it says the pods offer pain relief, deep relaxation and improved sleep among their benefits.
There aren’t many well-known scientific reports proving the benefits of salt therapy, although a 2006 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that cystic fibrosis patients benefited from inhaling saline.
According to a 2016 Time Magazine article, preliminary data from the Laureate Institute for Brain Research in Tulsa, Okla., shows that a float session can turn off the amygdala — the part of the brain responsible for the fight-or-flight response. Some researchers, like Laureate Institute director Justin Feinstein, think it might be a shortcut to experiencing the benefits of meditation.
Salt therapy, also known as halotherapy, is becoming more popular with wellness-minded Long Islanders. Montauk Salt Cave opened in 2015 and Port Jeff Salt Cave opened a year later. The Float Place opened a Patchogue location featuring float rooms late last year.
At Peconic River Salt, a 45-minute salt therapy session costs $45 and one hour in the pod is $85. Classes and other spa services will also be available.
Peconic River Salt is located at 125 E. Main Street, Riverhead. For more information call (631) 369-7258 or visit peconicriversalt.org.