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I’ve done qigong to music many a time, but last week I did qigong to music plus a kaleidoscopic light show, plus the burbles of a fountain—plus salt.
These elements came together in a treatment room at the Salt Mine Arium in Bellevue, WA, a spa which specializes in halotherapy—“halo” being the Greek word for salt.
Halotherapy attempts to duplicate the conditions found in salt caves in Eastern Europe, where many people with asthma and other respiratory ailments say they find relief. At the Salt Mine Arium, a “halo generator” pumps negatively ionized micro particles of salt into the treatment rooms, whose walls are lined with blocks of Himalayan salt.
I don’t know how or if the salt really works. I don’t have asthma, just chronic post nasal drip which didn’t seem to be changed by my 45-minute session at the Salt Mine Arium—but oh, it was a lovely session.
I was alone in the room, so rather than lie down on one of the Zero Gravity recliners, I stood and moved about and did some very relaxed, light, almost ethereal qigong as gentle music played and a multi-colored light show unfolded on a wall which curved up into the ceiling.
Periodically the salt-block walls would be lit from behind, and a giant lump of salt, called a salt lamp, would glow from within. Himalayan salt is not your grandmother’s table salt; it is streaks and shades of amber, and it is warm and beautiful when light passes through it.
I was in the “children’s room,” where children can play in a giant sandbox filled with small chunks of Himalayan salt while their parents groove to the lights and the music in their Zero Gravity chairs.
I briefly considered licking one of the walls to see if it would taste salty, but I was feeling much too open-hearted to do anything as disrespectful as licking my hosts’ walls.
For a time I wished that I weren’t alone, but I also knew I wouldn’t have wanted to be there with someone else if I felt I needed to guard my heart.
I wish I were more clear about the energetics of the room and my experience. Was the salt a critical factor? I don’t know. I just know that it felt very good to do qigong there, and that I want to go back.
It was mid-afternoon when I left the Salt Mine Arium, feeling wonderfully relaxed. In the car, I licked my lips and tasted salt—but I’ve tasted salt on my lips ever since, so perhaps the salt was not so much on my lips as in my mind.
That evening, my friend Dottie and I went to see the movie “Philomena.” Leaving the theater I realized I had been far too relaxed to bother noticing where I’d parked my car and was grateful that Dottie had a functioning left brain and could take us to it. At dinner, she wanted to show me a catalog of puzzles and games that engage the intellect, but the mere thought of trying to harness my brain to tackle any of the puzzles made me want to be back in the salt mine doing qigong. After dinner, Dottie found my car again.
For those of you who live in the Bellevue/Seattle area, here’s the link to the Salt Mine Arium web site: www.saltminearium.com.
If you want to be able to do taiji or qigong during your session, be sure to make an appointment for a time when there won’t be others in the room who want to lie back and relax without somebody between them and the light show.
The pricing structure at Salt Mine Arium is complex, but at the moment, a single 45-minute session for one person costs $30; massage, yoga and a variety of workshops cost extra.