stay salty

New 'salt cave' spa promises allergy relief and more for Houstonians

Salt the day away in these treatment caves. Photo courtesy of The Salt Suite

Locals suffering from the assault of our city’s many allergens, or from lung or skin afflictions, may soon find relief thanks to one of the most common compounds on the planet: salt.

Halotherapy, a treatment in which users breathe in tiny salt particles that dates back to the 12th century, will be available later this year in Houston thanks to The Salt Suite, the nation’s only salt therapy franchise chain.

The company has announced plans to open 20 new locations in Houston by the end of 2022. Areas that The Salt Suite is targeting include River Oaks, Galleria/Uptown, West Memorial, I-10 Villages, and Katy, a company spokesperson tells CultureMap.

How does it work? Through 45-minute salt therapy sessions in Salt Suite’s “caves,” a machine — dubbed a halogenerator — grinds pharmaceutical-grade dry salt into micro-sized particles, which are dispersed into the air of the salt rooms, per a press release. Guests are encouraged to lounge, relax, and breathe in the purified, antibacterial micro salt particles in the air.

This halotherapy, the company claims, helps allergy symptoms, respiratory ailments, skin issues, and boost the immune system. (The salt lounges are certainly cozy.) Membership plans start at $109, per the company website.

Salt Suite brass adds that the company tapped Houston for one of our more famous, or infamous, features — allergies.

“Not many people know that Houston is also one of the country’s worst allergy cities in the U.S.,” said Tiffany Dodson, CEO of The Salt Suite, in a statement, “which has us excited to bring much-needed relief to local Houston communities and introduce them to the benefits of halotherapy.”

Other Salt Suite options include children’s sessions, skin care, salt booths, and private events.

Those interested in salt sessions or even franchise opportunities can find information online.


This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston


Veronica Wu, founder of First Bight Ventures, joins the Houston Innovators Podcast to outline Houston's opportunities in synthetic biology and biomanufacturing. Photo courtesy

Houston has all the ingredients to be a successful synthetic biology hub, says Veronica Wu. She believes so strongly in this that she relocated to Houston from Silicon Valley just over a year ago to start a venture capital firm dedicated to the field. Since then, she's doubled down on her passion for Houston leading in biotech — especially when it comes to one uniquely Houston opportunity: biomanufacturing.

While Houston's health care innovation scene is actively deploying synthetic biology applications, Wu points to Houston-based Solugen, a plant-based chemical producer, as an example of what Houston has to offer at-scale industrial biomanufacturing. Houston has the workforce and the physical space available for more of these types of biomanufacturing plants, which have a huge potential to move the needle on reducing carbon emissions.

"This is really fundamental technology that's going to change the paradigm and whole dialogue of how we are making a significant impact in reducing a carbon footprint and improving sustainability," says Wu, founder and managing partner of First Bight Ventures, on the Houston Innovators Podcast.

Several aspects — government funding, corporate interest, advances in technology — have converged to make it an ideal time for synthetic biology innovators and investors, Wu explains on the show, and she has an idea of what Houston needs to secure its spot as a leader in the space: The BioWell.

First introduced at a Houston Tech Rodeo event at the Texas Medical Center's Innovation Factory, The BioWell is a public-private partnership that aims to provide access to pilot and lab space, mentorship and programming, and more support that biomanufacturing innovators critically need.

"The way we envision The BioWell is it will provide a holistic, curated support for startups to be able to get across the Valley of Death," Wu says, explaining that startups transitioning from research and development into commercialization need extra support. The BioWell will provide that, as well as allow more engagement from corporations, investors, and other players.

Now that her plans for The BioWell have been announced, Wu is looking for those who want to be a part of it.

She shares more about her mission and what's next for First Bight Ventures on the podcast. Listen to the interview below — or wherever you stream your podcasts — and subscribe for weekly episodes.

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