Are you stressed about the economy?
Overwhelmed by monthly bills?
Is your body a bundle of knots and nerves?
If so, you need a break - a salt break. Why not immerse yourself in downtown Rutland's "salt cave," the only facility of its kind in Vermont.
While there are no natural deposits of salt in Rutland County, there is a one-of-a-kind ersatz cave that you can visit at the Pyramid Holistic Wellness Center, located on Merchants Row in downtown Rutland. The simulated cave is crafted of natural materials containing thousands of pounds of pure Himalayan salt.
Rutland's downtown "salt cave" was designed to look just like a real eastern European salt mine, according to Pyramid owner, William Kelley. The cave was created by Dr. Margaret Smiechowski, a homeopathic doctor from Europe, and a Pyramid practitioner.
Pyramid makes no medical claims about its remarkable "salt cave"- it's basically a relaxation chamber. However, salt is known to be an anti-inflammatory agent. In other parts of the world, salt-cave therapy is used to treat a variety of medical conditions, Kelley said.
"Visitors get the benefits of the salt-cave experience from the safety and comfort of our 'zero-gravity' chairs without going to the dangerous depths of the Earth," according to Pyramid's Web site.
Halotherapy (salt therapy) is an ancient form of healing. Ancient Roman aristocrats were said to take "salt cures," inhaling the steam of boiling salt water from the Dead Sea.
In times past, patients took the "cure" deep in the natural salt caves and salt mines of Europe and the Mediterranean region.
According to Russian holistic healers, medieval Orthodox monks carried the sick of their villages deep into salt caves. There, patients breathed in microscopic salt particles suspended in the air.
Today, halotherapy is better known in Russia and parts of eastern Europe. For many New Age esoterics, salt crystals resonate at a natural frequency that appears to help balance the inner self. While there is no Western scientific evidence supporting the therapeutic effect of inhaling salt dust, practitioners say that salt, in its aerosol form, helps destroy bacteria and fungi in the lungs. Perhaps modern science may come around to halotherapy since several researchers have already discovered that the release of negative ions from salt appears to act as a kind of natural detoxifier.
"The cave is extremely warm in the winter and cool in the summer. We recommend loose-fitting layers so you can add or subtract them to your comfort level. Most people just wear street clothes. We ask that you remove your shoes before entering the cave," Kelley said.
"Eastern Europeans believe that sitting in salt caves relieves many ailments like allergies, asthma, eczema, hypertension, ulcers and stress," said Katherine Wright of Rutland, a recent customer who sat in the Pyramid Holistic Wellness Center's "salt cave." "I wanted to try the simulated cave here. I loved it. I have sinus problems and this experience really seems to have helped me temporarily. I plan on coming back."
Aside from Pyramid's "salt cave," you'll experience a variety of alternative therapies that will put your mind at rest and ease unwanted pains; you'll also join a growing number of Americans who are turning to holistic therapies to improve the quality of their lives on every level.
Bill Kelley got involved in the holistic movement because it changed his life. He wanted to bring the same level of wellness care to Rutland-area residents.
"During times of stress, we need ongoing wellness activities more than ever," Kelley said. "In general, people tend to give up the things that help them the most during tough times. For example, one hour of yoga or meditation would help people have a clearer mind in order to better address their concerns - perhaps in realizing or finding other sources of income or gaining clarity. People in general will stop doing healthy things when they become stressed. At the Pyramid, a yoga class is only $6; it should ultimately become an investment in one's health."
Pyramid has brought some unique products and services to the area; the staff educates its customers on many personal and community wellness issues, including warnings about natural deposits of arsenic that exist in our area.
Kelley said, "We have also tried to keep our costs down and given the difficult financial situation of our area right now, this is vitally important because people need these products and services now more than ever."
Every Pyramid practitioner and instructor is on staff because they believe in the mission - the mission of providing honest, affordable care, as well as quality products and services, to the community - they are willing to work for reduced rates.
The Pyramid buys and sells products that are proven to perform; they obtain them from various sources in order to keep costs low for those wanting to try alternative healing methods. For further information, the Web site outlines everything that they have to offer: www.pyramidvt.com.
Originally, the Pyramid was located at 116 West St. in Rutland, but when the flooding last summer occurred, they lost the entire lower level to water damage. The staff spent several months trying to figure out whether they could rebuild in that location, and if not, where they could move to so that it would be centrally located, have the same feel, and be protected from future flooding.
According to Kelley, "We chose the current Pyramid for its central location and because the building has lots of space above street level. It's going to take a flood of Biblical proportions to flood us out again."
Check it Out-Pyramid Holistic Center, 120 Merchants Row, Rutland. Hours: Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. For more information, call 775-8080 or e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.