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The Salt Pad: Helping Charlotteans Breathe Again

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By LaShawn L. Hudson

Percilla Blakeney smoked Salem Ultra Lights for 40 years; now the west Charlotte native is fighting for her life. She is going toe-to-toe with emphysema, brought on by Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a progressive lung disease. At least three times a week Blakeney removes her oxygen tank and works to clear her lungs from mucus through salt therapy at The Salt Pad, a wellness facility in the ParkTowne Village in Myers Park.

“There might not be a cure for emphysema, but I’m making sure it doesn’t get any worse,” said Blakeney, a retired accountant. “I will go to The Salt Pad as long as I am physically able. I am certain that my lungs will be cleared of this mucus; I don’t have any doubt in my mind about it.”

The Salt Pad Owner Garrett Krause said stories like Blakeney’s inspired him to open the facility about two years ago, after he and his family had relocated to Charlotte from Boca Raton, Florida.

“Many places weren’t offering the service at that time,” said Krause, who holds a bachelor’s degree in health science and a master’s in traditional Chinese medicine from the Atlantic Institute of Oriental Medicine in Florida. “The idea when we moved here was to educate people in Charlotte about the benefits of salt therapy and incorporate acupuncture.”

Traditionally known as halo therapy, salt therapy is a natural and drug-free method of relief for respiratory ailments and minor skin conditions. The natural healing remedy has been around for centuries, mostly in parts of central Europe and Asia, where there are naturally occurring salt caves, according to the Salt Therapy Association.

Krause said the benefits of salt therapy, which has gained popularity in recent years at American spas, are wide-ranging. For example, the salt is said to naturally reduce inflammation in the body and strengthen the immune system. Inhaling and exposing skin to salt are also said to reduce bronchial inflammation, and ease symptoms of asthma and sinus infections, as well as alleviate skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.

A 45-minute salt therapy session at The Salt Pad is similar to a meditation session., The client relaxes in a recliner chair and breathes in salt while listening to calming music. A halogenerator blows dry salt aerosol throughout the pads.

The Salt Pad facility has a built-in children’s tranquility pad designed like a playroom; parents may also schedule acupuncture sessions for their teenagers.

“Right now, 70 percent of the business is salt therapy and about 30 percent is acupuncture, and that’s changing,” said Krause. “About 25 percent of that 70 percent are now coming in for both.”

Regular client Danny Nolan drives 30 minutes from Gastonia to The Salt Pad for acupuncture. The disabled veteran said he’s lived with severe lower back pain and nerve damage since he was injured during an active duty tour. He said acupuncture has made his injuries more bearable.
“This is better than being pushed pills,” said the Army Reserve senior staff sergeant. “I’m always going to have pain, but this helps me to manage my pain.”

Krause said the biggest myth is that salt therapy and acupuncture are alternatives to Western medicine; the restorative healing treatments, he said, can be done in conjunction with treatment from traditional doctors.

“Wellness to me is a rounded approach,” he said. “It’s mind, body and spirit. Nutrition, prayer, meditation, all help with your wellness.”

To learn more about The Salt Pad, visit: www.thesaltpad.com

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