By Michael Tompkins, past chairman of the International Spa Association and executive recruiter, Hutchinson Consulting
I'm not sure when I realized it was a game changer. It could have been when I first walked into the treatment room and saw the beautifully glowing Himalayan salt stones, but it wasn't. In fact, it took talking to Saltability founder Ann Brown, seeing the stones displayed in the treatment room, having not one but TWO salt stone massages, and finally using them with my own therapist hands before I realized how big this new trend will be.
Let me take you through the process.
I've built leading spas for decades and I've labored over where to hide the unsightly stone roasters which now can be eliminated. From a design perspective, it's a welcome change not just for the aesthetic value but also because, during the treatment, you don't have to hear the clanging of stone meeting metal or countertop as the therapist returns them to a place off your body.
And it's on the body where it made all the difference for me. The salt stone glide was equally as smooth as the traditional basalt, but instead I almost felt the minerals of the salt being absorbed into my skin as they eased down the arm. The temperature of the salt stone stayed consistently warm. They were never cold and at no point did it feel there was ever the potential of being burned. Changing into my therapist hat, the risk of the technician's own hands burning the skin on the tools that help them make a living is completely eliminated.
And so after my first treatment I sat down with Ann Brown and listened to her speak on the benefits of Himalayan salt, how the stones are naturally antimicrobial and how salt contains 84 minerals essential to a healthy body. But I still wasn't convinced.
I was consulting on a medispa project in my hometown in St. Louis and building a salt room as part of its offerings. Just like the Saltability stone kit, the beauty of the lit salt stones in the room definitely was the show stopper of the build. Hearing the health value of the salt on our bodies told by the physicians on a daily basis was reassuring that this salt trend is here to stay. From easing skin conditions to assisting with breathing disorders to changing energetic ions, the benefits kept rolling out like the memory of the stones on my aching body during my first treatment. And so I decided to try the service again.
I recently stayed at the Oaks at Ojai, the birthplace of US spas and, at the insistence of its current formidable leader Cathy Cluff, tried the Salt Stone Massage again. This time I wasn't the evaluating consultant, the particular massage therapist, or the critiquing spa manager. I was simply a guest. And that is when I realized this product is a game changer. By simply allowing myself to be, and to experience the salt stones on my body a second time without the usual mind chatter, it melted into my soul and erased any inkling of doubt.
So now believing that Saltability's salt stones are a game changer, I say “Game on!”
Michael Tompkins and Ann Brown at the Caribbean Spa Association Summit in Cancun, July 2016