Salt Of The Earth

Spending time in a cave filled the mineral is said to be good for your health and skin. Now, you can do so in Singapore, in pampering spa-style.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Salt is no stranger when it comes to beauty practices. The mineral content penetrates easily into skin, replenishing it with trace elements, like magnesium, manganese, potassium and calcium. It’s also said to work on acne, drying out oily skin.

But before salt was used in beauty treatments, it was used to treat the sick. The most famous of all is the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland. In the 1880s, a doctor discovered that salt mine workers at Wieliczka were healthier and had better skin than coal and metal miners. It was because of the salt they were exposed to.

That’s how halotherapy, which uses an environment where microscopic salt particles are in the air, began. Salt caves are also beneficial to skin conditions like dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema.

In Singapore, Pablo Blau, a spa, offers salt mine-like conditions similar to that of Wieliczka. The Salt Experience comprises a lounge and treatment rooms, all lined with salt. The spa says that 45 minutes in its salt room is equivalent to three hours of therapy in a salt cave.

You first enter a dry, cool chamber wearing surgical booties to walk over the floor covered in pharmaceuticalgrade dry salt – it’s like snow, but rougher, and almost crunchy.

The salt is 99 per cent pure sodium chloride, and free from trace minerals and dirt. A salt generator constantly grinds and produces minute salt particles in the air to create an allergenand bacteria-free space.

After a short relaxation on the chaise longue, I’m ushered to the salt-covered treatment room. The spa uses a “screed” technique to spray its salt onto the walls, to mimic the salt caves. The rooms are cleaned by hand, and every few months, Pablo Blau sends for its salt from Europe and replaces it completely.

The salt in here is finer. This is intentional as the grade of the salt is important when one is spending almost 90 minutes for a facial. The air in the room is dry too, and filled with mists of salt particles.

I have sensitive skin with some maskne, so my customised pore-cleansing treatment included a sensitive mask to calm my angry skin, as well as extractions, and a neck and shoulder massage. Post-facial, I felt refreshed, and my skin looked brighter and clearer. The real clincher: I did not break out extensively in the following days – which is common for me, even with the best of facials.

To see real health benefits, one would need a few more treatments, but for those blissful two hours, I did find myself breathing a different air on earth. Pablo Blau is at #02-26A Raffles City Shopping Centre, tel: 6261-6885 or 6261-7886.

My Reading Room
1. Pablo Blau spa says 45 minutes in its salt room is like three hours in a salt cave.
My Reading Room
2. The salt is brought in from Europe and completely replaced every few months.
My Reading Room
3. The air in the treatment room is filled with a fine mist of salt.