Salt as therapy
Guardian Business Reporter
Published: Jul 26, 2013
If adding just a pinch of salt could save a bland meal, then maybe a room of salt can save a life. As children and adults increasingly suffer from respiratory ailments and side effects from the medicines used to treat them, Jonathan Cancino and his business partner decided to introduce a natural therapy to Bahamians, using a resource that’s plentiful on our shores – salt.
It was his keen interest in health that pushed Cancino to open up The Salt Room, located in the Harbour Bay Shopping Plaza, last May.
“With all of the side effects that children and adults are experiencing from medicines used to treat their respiratory illnesses, we thought it would be perfect to introduce a natural therapy,” Cancino said in this week’s edition of Da Plunge.
“I was always interested in health and seeing that this is a Bahamian product that a Bahamian started in the U.S., that’s something that you don’t see too often. They wanted to bring it home and open up a location here and as a result, I jumped on board.”
While it’s the first location in The Bahamas, the Harbour Bay store marks the second for the brand, as the first store was opened in Orlando, Florida nearly four years ago.
Now, a year later, The Salt Room is becoming quite popular among Bahamian residents, as most of its customers are in fact repeat customers because they believe they have experienced benefits from the 45-minute treatments.
Cancino, who is co-owner and general manager, said the response to The Salt Room has been great so far and he believes the number of customers will increase as time goes on.
“Our customers that come in are all repeat customers because they see that it works. A lot of people don’t know what The Salt Room is, so we are trying to educate them on what it is and how it works. Most of our customers do feel better afterwards so we are just trying to build up volume,” according to Cancino.
As 70 percent of people in the Caribbean reportedly have allergies that stem from plant buds in Africa, Cancino said the market called for this unique form of natural therapy.
“They get these allergies when hurricanes pick up plant buds in Africa and bring them all the way across the ocean and drop them off in The Bahamas and other Caribbean islands, people develop these allergies and they have never even been to Africa. There is even sand that blows all the way across the ocean,” he said.
Cancino said there have already been success stories, as one of the firm’s young customers went from being on an inhaler twice a day, to being off his inhaler and nebulizer and participating in his school’s sports day for the first time after receiving four treatments over a two-week period.
At The Salt Room, the walls, ground and ceilings are covered in salt from Inagua. It also features a kids room, adult room, a private room and a yoga room. The company can accommodate anyone from a six-month-old baby to the elderly.
In addition to the salt rooms, there is a full spa, offering skin treatments, massages and body treatments.
“In the adult relaxation room, you sit in a zero gravity chair. All of the treatments are 45 minutes, we pump in pulverized salt, and the salt particles enter the sinus and lung cavities and it reacts with the mucus by decreasing the thickness and allowing it to be expelled,” said Cancino.
“You can sit in there, read, relax or sleep. The kids room has toys, or they can do their homework.”
“A lot of elderly folks, before they go to have an operation, we encourage them to come in to build up their immune system because afterwards, their immune system is very low and they develop pneumonia. Sometimes they can’t recover from that so we encourage them to come in before.”
Currently, The Salt Room has five employees, however Cancino anticipates the business will grow and looks to have more locations in Nassau and possibly the Family Islands.
“In the next three to five years, I see our business growing. I don’t think that five years ago would have been a good time to introduce an alternative, but now we see a lot of people turning towards natural medicine,” he added.
“We are the only salt room in The Bahamas so we’re looking to have more locations in Nassau and eventually expand into the Family Islands.”
The Salt Room is open Tuesday through Saturday and is closed on Sundays and Mondays.