New Virginia Beach Halotherapy studio offers natural healing for medical concerns

A child touching the salt wall in the {be} studio & wellness center on Laskin Road. (Courtesy of {be} studio.
A child touching the salt wall in the {be} studio & wellness center on Laskin Road. (Courtesy of {be} studio.

VIRGINIA BEACH- After suffering for years with sicknesses ranging from pneumonia to bronchitis and strep throat, Ashley Hills was desperate for a change. She grew tired of taking medications constantly, sometimes five at once including two doses of Sudafed a day to curb the discomfort.

“My allergies were terrible and I was barely sleeping,” Hills said. “I was waking up about every two hours on the Sudafed.”

The change came in the form of a gift one Christmas. Hills’ mother gave her a Himalayan salt lamp, which Hills and her husband placed by their bedside. While Hills’ husband’s snoring decreased, they were both getting a better night’s rest, and Hills was also noticing that her sinus and congestion issues were improving.

“We started to see there was something to it,” Hill said. “At first we bought more lamps, and when we researched a salt wall for our home, we came across the halogenerator.”

The halogenerator is used in halotherapy. Healthline.com reported that halotherapy is an “alternative treatment that involves breathing salty air. Some claim that it can treat respiratory conditions, such as asthmachronic bronchitis, and allergies.”

After purchasing a halogenerator for their home, Hills obtained her business license and was zoned to allow others into the home to learn about and experience the benefits of salt.

“When you breathe in the salt, some comes out and some stays and attaches to the mucus to get it moving,” Hills said. “The salt that stays is absorbed and helps detox the respiratory system.”

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Since they had already been tossing around the idea of selling their home, Dr. Deana Duggin’s visit and the subsequent phone call two weeks later about a suite opening upstairs from her chiropractic and wellness center Find the Balance, the house was one on the market, and Hills partnered up with Dr. Duggin.

The {be} studio, which opened its doors in December of 2017, houses a room with a salt wall on one side that Hills built with her father. As for the halogenerator, after adding ground pink Himalayan salt into the system, the salt is then dispersed into the room.

The salt room is kid-friendly and has multiple uses.

“We have yoga classes and guided meditations from Harmony Health VB, wine tastings, and wellness classes,” Hills said. “We hope to add more mommy and me and kids activities along with other programs to help individuals pursue their purpose and passion through vision boards and other techniques.”

Related Story: Unique swing and Himalayan salt room yoga classes at Virginia Beach studio

Essential oils presentation and Harmony Health VB yoga class at the {be} studio (Courtesy of {be} studio)

Especially for kids, Hills has a salt pit within an inflatable frog along with a variety of beach toys. The kids can dig in the sand and make as much of a mess as the like while the halogenerator blows salt into the air for 45 minutes.

“I can’t imagine trying to help your own kids suffering from allergies and asthma,” said Hills who was a Pembroke Elementary special education teacher before changing courses and taking on this endeavor. “It’s hard to get them to sit still for long, so when parents come in here, we tell them not to worry and to let the kids make a mess while also getting the benefits from the salt room.”

A child playing in the blow-up frog salt pit at {be} studio (Courtesy of {be} studio)
A child playing in the blow-up frog salt pit at {be} studio (Courtesy of {be} studio)

Hills hopes to add in some date night and girls’ night options for locals and tourists as well.

“We work with the Crunchy Carrot, and we hope to have juice and soup nights and massage options soon,” Hills said.

Related Story: From Thailand to Virginia Beach: Woman opens juice shop inspired by foreign travel

The benefits that Hills has seen from her regulars include ease of tension and a decrease in congestion.

“Life is hustle and bustle for many people,” Hills said. The first thing I see when people leave is a tension release and others say that their time in the salt room really cleared them up.”

{be} studio has been created to allow for franchising opportunities, and Hills hopes to open another location soon in the Pungo area or on the Eastern Shore.

“This is a perfect niche opportunity for a massage or a chiropractic company,” Hills said. “It is something that can be in one room.”

For Hills, who enjoys the benefits of being medicine free while using immunotherapy and halotherapy to curb her allergies, she believes a lack of self-care was the root of her problems and many others out there.

“I think if maybe someone had just listened and had considered holistic options, I would have gotten better sooner,” Hills said. “I support traditional medicine, but it’s okay to try something else.”

Each session in the {be} studio is an hour long, and there are membership options available.

As for the suggested uses of the salt room. Hills stated that, “Research says halotherapy is most beneficial two to three times a week. Peak allergy forecasts have a high impact one allergy and asthma suffers, but the mold factor is rough here year round.”

You can learn more about services at the {be} studio by clicking here.

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