New path to healing and relaxation at AURA salt cave and wellness

Copy of Salt CaveSimone Riter

Features Reporter

Walking through the doorway of AURA’s man-made salt cave is like entering another world. 20,000 pounds of Himalayan pink salt imported from Poland lie before you. Five inches of crushed salt crunch beneath your feet. You lean back in a zero gravity lounge chair surrounded by the orange glow of salt lamps, wrap yourself in a blanket and close your eyes to the sounds of meditation music and running water. You can even taste salt on your lips as it is pumped into the air.

Co-owner Kelly DeBerg was inspired to open AURA with her wife Tadgi after realizing that Western New York was lacking in holistic treatments for people with respiratory problems.   

DeBerg, who suffers from chronic sinus issues, said she found immediate relief after visiting a salt cave three years ago. “We started doing research and visiting more salt caves around the country and in Canada. I realized that it really was an effective treatment without the use of steroids or other prescriptions,” she said.

Salt caves were first popularized in 19th century Europe when physicians realized that salt miners had superior respiratory health and skin. Technology has since advanced to create a device called a halogenerator which allows people to receive salt or halotherapy. The halogenerator takes pharmaceutical-grade salt and turns it into an aerosol which is then dispersed throughout the air of the room.

“As people are lying in here relaxing, they’re breathing it in and this aerosol is actually cleaning the lungs and sinuses and airways, while also getting on the skin if you have a skin issue too,” DeBerg said.

Salt therapy can help with a wide variety of conditions like COPD, cystic fibrosis, asthma, allergies, sinus issues, acne, eczema, cirrhosis and inflammation. But beyond improving physical health, a trip to AURA’s salt cave is also a great way to relax and de-stress without the use of electronics.

“It’s great to just disconnect and get that time to kind of regroup, put things down and take that time for yourself which so many people don’t do,” DeBerg said. “Especially when they’re schooling or working all the time.”

DeBerg emphasized the value in student-athletes taking advantage of their services too. “Halotherapy is known to improve and expand lung capacity naturally,” she said. “So we have done some tests with some people and we’ve had swimmers come in before meets and they have done better with their times.”

Copy of Hand and Foot Detox Room

Vocalists, public speakers and football players are among the wide variety of people who use AURA as a wellness resource. On their Facebook page, owners Kelly and Tadgi DeBerg can even be seen posing with New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski when he visited the salt cave last November.

“We’re not telling people not to go to the doctor and we’re not telling people not to take prescriptions, but this is complementary,” DeBerg said. “And a lot of people have found a lot of beneficial help this way.”

In addition to the salt cave, AURA’s current services include Far Infrared Saunas and a Himalayan salt hand and foot detox room. Saunas are said to help with pain relief, skin conditions, digestive disorders and weight loss. The hand and foot detox room promotes circulation and eases overall body pain by allowing people to put their bare hands and feet on warm blocks of salt.

“Salt is naturally hygroscopic, so it’s always attracting moisture,” DeBerg said. “The warm salt helps pull moisture away from the body, so fluid away from the joints, and that helps with the aching muscles and joints.”

AURA is located at 6429 Transit Road in East Amherst. Each of AURA’s services are $30 for a 45 minute session. Pricing for the expansion’s services have yet to be announced, but the new salt cave will be the same price as their current one. Appointments can be made online using MindBody or made over the phone at (716) 276-9120.

They are currently building an expansion that will open mid-February. It will include a wheelchair-accessible salt cave, massage therapy, reiki, reflexology, chakra balancing, an oxygen bar and even an on-staff hypnotherapist.

DeBerg said that her favorite part about opening AURA has been getting to know the customers and having them become a part of the AURA family.

“People do become like your family. Especially when they’re here 2-3 times a week,” DeBerg said. “So, it’s just a great feeling knowing that we’re truly making a difference in people’s lives.”


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