It would be tough to live in Hong Kong and not know someone who is affected by the city’s notorious pollution. Sadly, Hong Kong’s youngest residents are often the ones who develop breathing difficulties, with many children suffering from asthma or reactive airways. The solution for most mamas is a mix of in-house air purifiers, de-humidifiers and the ever-present inhaler (or that little device that my sister renamed “puff” when her son was diagnosed with asthma). In addition to the wrestling match which mamas have to engage in to actually get their wee one to breathe from an inhaler, most mothers are even less excited about the “puffs” themselves – after all, inhalers deliver steroids to the lungs. Faced with the options of keeping your child inside all day or bribing them in order to deliver a twice daily dose of ‘roids, most parent’s choose the less-than-fun pharma route.
To the delight of many Hong Kong mamas there is now another option. For centuries, residents of the Himalayas and Eastern Europe praised the health benefits of the salt caves in their hills. Many suggested the alkaline nature of the salt did everything from induce a good night’s sleep to curing lung and skin ailments. On the back of those thoughts, homeopathic practitioners have begun opening up salt-spas all over Australia, the UK and Europe, with rooms that replicate salt caves. Never to be left out, Hong Kong now has Inhalo salt spa. Nestled on Wyndham Street, the spa has three salt therapy “treatment rooms” in which to sit back and breathe easy. Unlike most spa treatments where you change your clothes, get horizontal and get slathered or pummeled with some form of oil, salt therapy is truly akin to chilling out, or in the case of children, playing, in a mini-salt cave.
Caroline Goldsmith-Shamir and her husband, Omri Shamir, opened Inhalo after learning that more than 500,000 of Hong Kong’s residents suffer from asthma. They also knew that a percentage of these residents are children. With that in mind, they devoted one of the treatment rooms at Inhalo to kids.
While I have been before to Inhalo’s adult chalet, my mama friends wanted to test it out with their children. I was game to go again, so packed up with two friends and their little ones, both of whom have breathing issues, and headed to the “salt mine”. My friends’ first questions were whether the children would be content to hang in a salt-encrusted playroom for 30 minutes, and if so, would they do so without eating the salt “beach” which makes up the treatment-room floor? Yep, no problem. Sarah and Sam (ages 2 and 3) were almost as happy as if they were on a real beach (and it was a heck of alot cleaner). The room is equipped with a flat screen (they had Shrek going in the background), as well as a mini-library, a “ball pit”, an easel to draw upon and lots of beach toys (pails, shovels) to play with. The time went by in a flash and thankfully without any salt-sampling! We stayed in the room with them, but if a mama thinks junior is old enough to go it alone, she can book a treatment for herself in one of the super-relaxing adult treatments rooms for a quick snooze or the latest issue of Hello.
Now for the million dollar query: did it work? While the owners of Inhalo suggest that it may be difficult to see results from just one session, we did find that Sarah and Sam slept longer and better the night after their session than they each had been, and with no noticeable throat tickles in the night. What is more is, so did the grown-ups! I cannot speak for all parents, but I do know many that would be willing to try something new just for the promise of a well-rested child, let alone one that might breathe a bit easier. Takes this with a grain of salt or not, but Inhalo is worth a visit.
Want to try before you buy? The first 10 readers to quote Sassy Mama will receive a free trial when booking!
To learn more about Inhalo please visit www.inhalospa.com. Prices start at 350HKD for a trial and can also be bought as a package.
Inhalo Salt Therapy, W Place, 7/F, 52 Wyndham Street, Central, 3489 3144