BURNHAM - Those interested in exploring the benefits of salt therapy don't need to look any further than right here in Burnham.
Two local businesses have opened a rare Himalayan salt cave, one of only two in Pennsylvania.
Filled entirely with salt from the Himalayas, the cave is known to have a variety of healing properties.
Sentinel photo by MARJORIE STROMBERG
A new Himalayan salt cave opens at the Burnham Curves during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday with, from left, Mary Klingersmith, yoga instructor; Andy Esh, of Big Valley Construction; Nikki Santangelo, co-owner of the salt cave and owner of Simply Health.calm; Dwight Yoder, of Big Valley Construction; Marge Delozier-Noss, Burnham Curves owner; Jim Tunall, executive director of the Juniata River Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau; and Rhonda Walters, administrative assistant at the chamber.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new cave was held Monday morning.
It took about a month to be built, Burnham Curves owner Marge Delozier-Noss said. The contractors for the project were Big Valley Construction. More than seven tons of Himalayan salt was imported in clumps and bricks, which had to be cut in half to achieve flat sides, she said. Then, the salt was glued inside the cave.
"It was very labor intensive," Delozier-Noss said.
The purpose of the cave is to enhance health through salt therapy, she said.
The salt and salt lamps in the cave emit negative ions, she explained. This is beneficial because humans are subjected to an "abundance" of positive ions through daily life, such as cell phone use, she said.
Also, Delozier-Noss said, Himalayan salt consists of 84 minerals that human bodies need.
"It's very healing," she said.
The cave, which is a service of both the Burnham Curves and Simply Health.calm, is anti-inflammatory and anti-viral, Delozier-Noss said. The salt can help improve such ailments as sinus problems, allergies, asthma, arthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and psoriasis.
Each session lasts 45 minutes, Delozier-Noss said, and the cave can seat up to 10 people. The real challenge, she said, is getting people to allow themselves to have 45 minutes of quiet sitting.
"That's a gift our body needs," Delozier-Noss said.
The number of sessions a person undergoes depends entirely on the individual, she said.
"You can use it as often as you choose," Delozier-Noss explained, adding that it's not possible to have too much exposure.
Delozier-Noss said she got the idea to bring the salt cave to Burnham through some of the Mifflintown Curves members who had used one in Carlisle - the only other location in the state that offers the cave.
Delozier-Noss said she then went to Carlisle and used the cave, and invited other Curves staff and friends to go along.
Hospitals in Europe actually have salt rooms for some of their patients, she said.
"This is nothing new," Delozier-Noss said. "It's just new to our country."
The cave was designed by Dr. Margaret Smiechowski, of Poland, who was in Burnham for about two weeks while the cave was being assembled, Delozier-Noss said.
The cave is open to women, men and children, Delozier-Noss said; and although reservations are not required at this point, they are helpful.
"I'm just very pleased to be offering this service to the community," she said. "It's very unique, but it will help many, many people."
The cave temperature ranges from 70 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit, with a humidity level of 40 to 50 percent, according to an information sheet by Delozier-Noss.
"The visitor sits in a relaxed position in large, comfortable, non-gravity lounge chair for 45 minutes ... calming music is added to help you relax. The large amount of dry Himalayan rock salt creates a special microclimate which is identical to the underground salt caves in Poland and Europe," according to the information.
Also called halotherapy, salt therapy is drug-free, and there are no side effects, the information states.
Although the cave offers a variety of health benefits, there are some restrictions, according to an information sheet by Simply Health.calm, a wellness service in Burnham. Salt therapy is not recommended for those with high fevers, tuberculosis, contagious conditions or severe heart conditions.
The cave is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Seating is limited, so calling ahead of time is recommended. A separate entrance is available.
Guests should wear loose-fitting layers of clothing. A light blanket may be provided as well.
There is a cost to attend a session. The Burnham Curves is located on the corner of Logan Boulevard behind Mattress World.
For more information about the Burnham Curves, visit www.curvesmifflincounty.com. For more information about Simply Health.calm call owner Nikki Santangelo at 248-2000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.