Pink Himalayan crystals cover the floor. Salt bricks shipped straight from Poland line the walls.
And the air is 100 percent purer than the air outside, filled with sodium chloride that may help clear allergies, skin conditions and more, says Debbie Naff, owner of London’s Salt Spa in Forest.
The spa, located on Thomas Jefferson Road near U.S. 460, opened for business in late November.
After visiting a Salt Spa in Williamsburg with her family, Naff said she knew she wanted to bring the experience to Central Virginia. Her husband and son suffer from allergies, she said, and their time in the salt cave helped both breathe easier.
“They say that four, 45-minute sessions are equal to a week at the beach,” Naff said of the cave’s power. She’s quick to add, however, that even though the cave can help with medical problems ranging from eczema to asthma, it’s not meant to replace traditional treatment.
“This is a service that might help you, but it’s not intended to take away [from medicine],” she said.
Elsie Lemke, a Forest resident who lives about a mile down the road, already has been in the cave twice and gotten a massage at the spa. She and her sister, also a frequent spa customer, are always looking for ways to improve their health, Lemke said.
“We both have had massages there, which are absolutely wonderful, and then you spend time sitting in the salt cave, which is really pure air; it just makes you feel so much better,” Lemke said.
Naff likes to start visits to the salt spa with a video detailing the history of salt treatment. The real-world salt cave that’s inspired her spa and others like it is in Wieliczka, Poland.
In the 1800s, a salt mine in the city was theorized to have healing effects on people with pulmonary and respiratory problems. Today, that salt mine serves as both a major tourist attraction and a functioning spa, according to its website.
The salt in Naff’s spa came from that mine, along with three Polish construction workers who helped build the cave.
In addition to the cave, Naff’s spa also includes a small massage room lined with pink salt bricks, where she offers reflexology and reiki treatment, a formof alternative medicine involving the laying on of hands.
Massage costs vary based on time, with the cheapest option — 30 minutes — running $45. Single 45-minute cave sessions cost $24 for adults, but packages for multiple sessions are available. Customers also can choose to become members, granting them unlimited cave sessions for either six months or a year.
Naff said her spa’s focus on health and rejuvenation makes it different from a typical spa.
“This spa is not just for women,” she said. “This spa is for all walks of life.”
Contact Eleanor Kennedy at (434) 385-5524 or firstname.lastname@example.org.