I have always loved the beautiful pink hue of Himalayan salt, as well as its fine cooking properties, but recently I visited SALT, located at 740 State Street in Santa Barbara, California, where a totally new experience of the benefits of ancient salt is in process. This wonderful venue gives new meaning to the term ‘salt of the earth” in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara.

Owners Pamela McCaskey and her partner Kelly Egan have created a surreal visual Salt Cave environment comprised completely of Himalayan salt where guests are surrounded from ceiling to floor by the beautiful and healthful pink stuff, held together with rich wood and metal netting. The floors, walls and ceilings of the salt cave, and waiting areas are filled with the visually pleasing and sensually relaxing pink salt.

Healthy Pink Salt

Healthy Pink Salt

Guests enter Salt off a busy main street in downtown Santa Barbara with no clue as they walk down the stairs to SALT they are on a magical journey into a special respite of relaxation and escape from the outside noise and chaos in process above the beautiful Salt Cave. In minutes visitors happily find themselves in a serene pink vortex of salt and sweet peaceful vibrations.

Salt offers a charming gift shop where visitors can purchase a bevy of products for cooking, bath and pampering, as well as cookbooks and health information on the benefits of salt. The waiting room, where guests relax before scrub, massage, sound therapy, yoga, Pilates and more, is a comfy salt filled respite with lighted candles, salt lamps and yoga tea selections to sip while you wait.

Salt Entrance

Salt Entrance

The private and quite massage rooms, for single or couples, are clean and attractive with private showers. The salt scrub and massage is wonderful, and leaves your skin feeling like silk. The therapists at Salt are excellent and very accommodating to the personal comfort needs of patrons. Either prior to or after your treatments you can revel in the healthful atmosphere of the Salt Cave. This is an amazing room completely made of salt (ceiling, walls, floors) with soft lighting and comfortable lounge chairs to settle into before salt filled air is funneled into the room, along with relaxing music.

While I was in the SALT Cave their were other guests that ranged in age from early twenties to late seventies. This form of sensual and sensible relaxation seems to be enjoyed by all ages and I can testify to the calming results of an hour in the Salt Cave. It is such an easy way to breath in salt infused air, find your quiet place and revel in it for an hour; a bargain experience for the twenty-five dollar per hour fee.

The welcoming space is also used for yoga, Pilates and special event programs, and has become popular for group gatherings to enjoy the optimum health venue combined with social activities. I was told that group special events with yoga and refreshing beverages are welcomed.

Entrance to Salt Cave

Entrance to Salt Cave

The what and why of salt has been researched nearly to death, but many who have tried it and found it to be true believe the benefits of this ancient salt can create an electrolyte balance, increase hydration, regulate water content both inside and outside of cells, balance pH (alkaline/acidity) and help reduce acid reflux, prevent muscle cramping, aid in proper metabolism functioning, strengthen bones, lower blood pressure, help the intestines absorb nutrients, prevent goiters, improve circulation, and dissolve and eliminate sediment to remove toxins.

Pink Salt In The Kitchen

For cooking or curing cooks should use pre-ground salt or grinders, as they would any other salt. Cooking with Salt Slabs and using them as serving platters is a current trend in places like the Monterey Plaza Hotel. The slabs will impart an enhanced salt tastes and mineral content. Chilled salt slabs can be decorated beautifully with fruits, sushi, vegetables or cheese, and frozen slabs are great for presenting cold desserts or sorbets. Heated slabs are ideal to sear vegetables, shrimp, fish fillets or thinly sliced beef. The dense salt blocks conduct heat beautifully with nearly perfect heat distribution. Himalayan salt is naturally anti-microbial, and requires minimal cleaning time. There are countless books on the history of salt including The Story of Salt by author Mark Kulansky with illustrations by S.D. Schindler. Salt Block Cooking: 70 Recipes for Grilling, Chilling, Searing and Serving on Himalayan Salt Blocks by Mark Bitterman is ideal for home chefs.

Classes offered at SALT include flow-core yoga, gentle yoga, foundation training, mat Pilates, let it go yoga, woman’s empower group, divine dance, sound healing, breath workshop, breath empowerment workshop and drum circle classes.. SALT also offers special activities for Kids and welcomes seniors to participate in weekly classes.

For hours, treatment and class fees, or product information visit www.saltcavesb.com.

By Bonnie Carroll