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Leo M. Tonkin is the Founder and CEO of SALT Chamber, the first company to introduce salt therapy to North America in 2012. SALT Chamber has completed over 1,400+ projects worldwide. He is the founding Chairman of the Salt Therapy Association and Chair of the Respiratory Wellness Initiative from the Global Wellness Institute.

 Thank you to the FSA for allowing me to share my story and the power of salt therapy!

I started SALT Chamber a little more than 10 years ago after learning about dry salt therapy from a colleague from Eastern Europe. In many countries, dry salt therapy is considered a medical treatment, but for spas and hospitality, my goal was to create a unique and relaxing experience that provides skin, respiratory and mental wellness. Many spas had relaxation and treatment rooms to upgrade or underutilized square footage somewhere in the spa, so conversion to revenue-producing salt space made perfect sense.

SALT Chamber started using Himalayan salt as a decor element and pioneered backlit salt brick and panel systems to create ambiance. One of our first large-scale salt rooms that are still going strong today is the JW Marriott Turnberry Resort & Spa. Fast forward to today, we have designed more than 1400 projects of all sizes and shapes including using our personalized SALT Booths® designed to fit in any space.  The Biltmore Waldorf Astoria in Phoenix, Arizona recently launched a freestanding salt building, and we have many large-scale projects in the pipeline.

We work with top designers, architects, and consultants in hospitality, residential and commercial, fitness, country clubs, and senior living, as well as independent spas and wellness centers in rural parts of the country that have become wellness hubs for their communities. Oakworks and other resource partners collaborate with us on multisensorial experiences. People do breathwork, sound healing and “salted” yoga, and massage inside the salt rooms.

Being based in Boca Raton, Florida is near and dear to our heart. We have completed over 100 projects including the JW Marriott Turnberry (mentioned above), Hard Rock Seminole, PGA National, Ocean Reef, and Auberge Beach Residences.

What is Dry Salt Therapy?

Dry salt therapy involves dispersing micro-particles of pure sodium chloride from a “halogenerator.” SALT Chamber offers rooms, booths, and a personal home care unit that provides a fully enclosed space. Salt is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, providing numerous benefits for the lungs, skin, and overall well-being.

Spas can modify unused space by enclosing the room and modifying the HVAC system. You don’t need a large space. At the remodeled PGA National, we designed beautifully decorated salt “booths” that fit into a two and a four-person space.

There is a lot of misinformation when it comes to salt therapy, including a fallacy that Himalayan salt walls provide respiratory and health benefits and give off negative ions that “clean” the surrounding air. To educate and create awareness of the benefits of salt therapy, I was one of the founders of the Salt Therapy Association in 2014. There is an annual conference and 3,500 members in 61 countries.

Respiratory Wellness

One of my personal missions is to educate people on the damaging effects of poor air quality and climate change. As Chair of the Global Wellness Institute’s Respiratory Wellness Initiative, our goal is to bring attention to the need to improve the quality of the air we breathe. This collaborative is a global effort between leading physicians, scientists, and health and wellness business leaders to mobilize individuals and communities to improve air quality.

Salt therapy has become an integral luxury spa amenity. Measurable benefits for respiratory and skin health attract a new generation of spa-goer interested in results-oriented wellness immersion experiences.

Email me at [email protected] to learn more about how to retrofit your spa with a salt room or booth, or to set up a visit to come “get salted” at our HQ in Boca Raton.