Trust Me, You Should Spend Your Next Personal Day Inside a Cave
When I booked an appointment in a salt cave, all I knew was that I liked salty foods and spas. I drove to the cave with a lot more questions than answers. Was the salt cave a real rock formation in suburban Illinois? Would it be pitch-black in there? Is there such a thing as salt bats?
Once we got close, Timeless Spa and Salt Cave was hard to miss. It has a glittery replica of its salt cave on top of the building, which lights up and changes colors at night. I didn’t know that it was a replica at first, though. I worried that I was going to have to sit and relax in full view of all the cars going by.
As it turns out, the real salt cave is much more private: it’s inside, first off, and it has a huge wooden door, located just behind the reception desk. Before heading in, I spoke with spa owner Jody Buckle to find out what to expect from my first-ever session.
Then it was time to get salty. I took off my shoes—you have to wear white socks so that the salt on the ground doesn’t get colorful sock fuzz on it—and stepped into the cave.
Just walking on the pinkish Himalayan salt crystals, which cover the floor like sand, already felt good on my feet. There’s salt on the walls, too, in big hunks of rock and tiny pebbles. Stalactites hang from the ceiling, and when I looked up, I saw hundreds of shimmery fake stars.
For a 400-square-foot room in Naperville, the place is pretty magical. I settled into my zero-gravity chair. As I lay there, feeling weightless, I was very conscious of my breathing. I was also very conscious of the fact that I could taste the salt. It wasn’t overpowering—there was just a nice salty taste when I touched my tongue to my lips and when I swallowed.
Slowly, the music and the darkness started putting me to sleep. The only thing I remember beyond that point is snuggling up in the blanket that I had found folded on my chair. And, eventually, a voice welcoming me back to the real world. My session was over.
Thanks to Jody and her spa, salt caves no longer seem mysterious me—my only question is when I can get back to the spa. In case you’re thinking of visiting one for yourself, let me clarify a few misconceptions you might have:
The salt in the cave is not table salt.
This is unrefined salt from Himalayan mines. Jody says it has 84 unique minerals inside it that our bodies can’t get otherwise. Just remember, you absorb them through the air—do not try to lick the cave.
You won’t dry out, don’t worry.
Jody has had someone book a triple session in the cave. She and her staff even had a sleepover in the cave once, with muffins and juice in the morning. The salt’s effects aren’t intense enough to cause uncomfortable dryness.
There are no salt bats.
But sometimes, there’s snoring!
Photos: Shehnela Kazmi, Groupon