SOUTH BELOIT — Salt therapy has come to the Stateline Area thanks to Salt + Sol co-owners and “salty sisters” Laura Ritch and Rosa Anderson.

Since opening Salt + Sol, 14468 Industrial Parkway, in December of 2019, the sisters have seen an influx of customers seeking relief from conditions ranging from psoriasis and sinus issues to anxiety and depression.

Others simply enjoy a time away from technology and the opportunity to soak in the soothing salt spa experience.

Salt + Sol is located in the back of Integrity Auto Care, which is owned by Leon and Rosa Anderson. The business offers two different salt rooms, the “Zen den” for a 45-minute treatment and the “healing room” for more condensed treatment in 15 minutes. Family appointments and memberships are also available.

In addition to soothing music ideal for meditation and color therapy via lighted panels in the “Zen den,” microscopic particles of salt are emitted via a halogenerator as people breathe in the salty air. People can also run their fingers through the pink Himalayan sea salt or even get close and personal with the rosey sodium chloride.

“People can lay in the salt and make salt angels,” Ritch said.

Dry salt therapy, also known as halotherapy, is an alternative wellness approach. Some say it has given them relief from a variety of conditions, especially sinus issues, COPD, bronchitis or cystic fibrosis as people find it helps loosen mucus.

“It’s detoxifying,” Ritch said.

There is conflicting scientific research on the benefits of salt therapy. However, researchers are looking into it more as it becomes more popular and people find benefits stemming from its use, particularly for respiratory issues.

Ritch said the salt is naturally an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. When people inhale it, she said she believes it helps open up the airways.

“If you have any built-up mucus or anything going on in your lungs, it’s very absorbent. It will attach itself, break it up and expel it. It may cause a runny nose or cough and clear the respiratory system,” Ritch said.

Pets can also take in sessions. Anderson said her elderly dog with an inoperable eye tumor is doing much better after treatments and with the tumor size having been reduced. A 14-year-old chihuahua has also made a few stops for therapy.

“He’s got a little more spring in his step,” Anderson said.

Families book time together as well, with the kids keeping busy by pouring the salt into beach buckets. It’s a chance for the family to get some quality time together. Sometimes, Anderson said the kids don’t even realize they are getting salt therapy as they have fun with their families.

“Kids don’t have phone distractions,” Anderson added.

Other families have brought in children with autism to benefit from the salt and the room’s calming effect.

The color therapy includes large colorful panels which help mood. Colors such as orange and yellows are uplifting while greens are more grounding and dark blue is good for anxiety, Anderson said.

A few men have been dragged along, although the sisters say they usually enjoy it so much they want to come back.

“We had a police officer who came out loving it,” Ritch added.

Ritch and Anderson grew up in Poplar Grove, Illinois. Anderson went on to become a nurse and Ritch joined the U.S. Navy before marrying her husband who had a career in the Navy. The Ritches traveled internationally and around the country. During their many travels, the sisters would have “girl trips.” On one of their adventures they tried their first salt spa. When they discovered salt therapy, they were hooked with how great it made them feel. After some further research and seeing some family members have positive experiences with it for treating stress, inflammation and psoriasis, they started considering opening one of their own with Ritch moving back to help.

Although the sisters had a strong start with the business in December 2019, they had to close due to COVID-19 from March to June of 2020. They were glad they heeded the advice of Anderson’s husband who advised them to start small in the back of the auto dealership.

However, after their temporary shutdown, the shop came roaring back to life as more people sought relief from stress and anxiety due to the ongoing pandemic and associated challenges. More people brought in children struggling with online learning and anxiety issues and a few people recovering from COVID-19 sought relief. Some with COPD would bring in their oxygen tanks and others with cystic fibrosis tried the therapy.

Some people come in once a month for a “boost” while others have found benefit in a weekly routine.

The store also features a retail area with salt lamps, local art, stones, crystal healing trees, homemade salt scrubs, jewelry, soaps and more. Salt + Sol has hosted a meditation class and hopes to offer more classes in the future, and perhaps one day move to a more spacious location, perhaps on some land in the woods as demand continues to grow.

“We want to make it a natural destination,” Anderson said.

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