Salt & Soul provides holistic treatments to the Hudson Valley

A child playing in a salt cave at Salt & Soul. Photo curtesy of Vicki Thompson.

Healthful practices, such as yoga and salt therapy, are a priority for Darlene Colandrea, the owner of Salt & Soul, a holistic business located in Saugerties, NY. Salt & Soul was founded December 10, 2016 by Colandrea and her daughter Vicki Thompson.

Salt therapy, also known as halotherapy, simulates a salt cave allowing people to inhale and absorb the salt. According to The Lung Institute, several clinical trials have indicated benefits of salt therapy for 97% of chronic bronchitis, bronchiectasis, and cystic fibrosis cases, 85% of mild and moderate asthma cases, and 75% of severe asthma cases. According to Colandrea, the salt therapy helps with these lung conditions by opening up the airways or sinus cavities.

In addition to lung conditions, salt therapy also helps with skin conditions such as eczema and acne, various infections, strengthening the immune system, and relieving stress and anxiety. Salt is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory. Colandrea said there isn’t anyone who she wouldn’t recommend the treatment to; salt therapy can even be beneficial for putting off colds. “People claim that after they’ve been here using salt therapy, they no longer need their inhalers,” said Colandrea. “And I read that, but now I have actual people who come here and attest to that being true for them; it’s pretty amazing.”

While the treatment area is known as a salt cave, Colandrea said that, at Salt & Soul, it’s more like a salt room. “It’s very dark and soothing, there’s an orange glow from the salt lamps that are in there that make it very relaxing, and you’re surrounded by salt,” said Colandrea. “There’s salt on the walls and there’s salt on the floor, and there’s zero gravity chairs where you can relax and meditate. Some people fall asleep.”

A salt cave at Salt & Soul. Photo curtesy of Vicki Thompson.

A few months prior to opening the business, Colandrea heard about salt therapy from a friend on vacation in Florida. Since Thompson struggled with cystic fibrosis and Colandrea with eczema, the pair flew down to Florida to research salt therapy and its benefits.

Florida is not the only state with locations for salt therapy treatment. In fact, there are a few others in New York as well; many are located in Manhattan among others upstate. “Now being really new, I don’t know why we didn’t Google salt therapy locally, but we didn’t,” Colandrea said. “I don’t know! Maybe we just wanted the vacation; probably!”

During their trip to Florida, Colandrea and Thompson discovered a solution in the treatment. “We found that it was helping us right away,” said Colandrea. “It was helping me with my eczema, it was helping her, she felt she could breathe easier, and so we came home with a salt booth.” Colandrea said the pair brought the booth home to see if the results were their imagination or if it really worked.

To test the practice, Colandrea’s son, who also has cystic fibrosis, started using the booth and found it to be very helpful. After confirming the effects of the salt booth, the two developed Salt & Soul. “So then we decided this was something we wanted to share so we started a search to open up our own salt therapy,” said Colandrea. “Since she’s an excellent yoga instructor we included yoga in our business plan, so that’s how we got started.”

A Salt & Soul yoga class. Photo curtesy of Vicki Thompson.

Before opening Salt & Soul, Colandrea said they weren’t really considering opening a business until they fell upon the salt therapy, and then it just happened. Part of the reason for opening the business was in response to Thompson’s cystic fibrosis and the potential use of salt therapy as a treatment. “We were very passionate about it, very excited,” said Colandrea. “The hope of extending her life and the only of possibility of getting her lungs cleared out from all the mucus really had us pretty optimistic.”

Thompson passed away September 6, 2017 due to her cystic fibrosis. The two were co-owners, so now Colandrea is the sole owner of the business. Colandrea continues to run Salt & Soul and focuses on the overall goal of health for her customers.

“I want people to be healthy, I think that’s our goal really,” said Colandrea. “Between the yoga and the yoga teachings, and how to breathe and stretch, and then salt therapy opens up your lungs, sinuses. I think that’s all part of staying healthy; that’s what we are here for.”

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