– Words by Darcy Nybo Photography by Darren Hull
Several years ago, Lindsay Krieg took a vacation to Italy. Wandering through the bustling, busy city of Rome, she decided she needed a more calming experience, so she went online to see what was out there.
“As I was searching for things to do, a salt cave was brought to my attention. It was a spa called Salbea, and it looked interesting and relaxing,” she said. “The salt cave was in the middle of the city, and when I walked through those doors, I totally forgot where I was. It was like being in another world. It was so relaxing. There was even a mother and child playing in there, which I thought was really amazing. It was my very first experience in a salt spa and the ladies in there told me a lot about them and how common they were in Europe. I always remembered that.”
Lindsay’s background is in developmental psychology and she has enjoyed her work with children. She is also mom to two children of her own.
“During my maternity leave, I studied design. It was then I decided to couple design with psychology and start my first company. It’s a sensory design company, and I develop medical, wellness and healing spaces,” she said. “I love it because I can merge my psychology and design experience and create healing environments.”
Lindsay landed an opportunity with Kelowna General Hospital to design a sensory room in its paediatrics ward. It was a dream come true.
“When I realized how many people were impacted by the healing space, it really touched me. The space was used by kids, nurses, doctors and parents. Then I started thinking about a wellness space that was open to the public and easily available, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. We saw so much deterioration in mental and emotional well-being that I decided to create an affordable space where everyone could come and relax and regroup.”
A salt cave for Kelowna
Lindsay recalled her visit to the salt cave in Rome and decided she would create something like that for Kelowna.
“My goal was to create a public healing place, where you could escape for an hour. Some place calm and healing, where you could forget about the outside world. That’s how Room + Pillar Spa came about,” she explained.
Entering the cave, one is immediately struck by the sheer quantity of pinkish salt. Large chunks make up the walls, with smaller pieces of salt covering the floor like sand on a beach. Reclining chairs allow patrons to lay back and relax as they breathe in the healing air.
“So far we’ve had people celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, and hold staff meetings in the salt cave. It’s really become a community space. We have yoga and meditation in there too. It’s a place where people can get away from it all.”
She added, “We invite people to bring their kids with them. I’m a mom myself and I wanted to make sure everyone could access this wellness space and easily get some self-care for themselves.”
The cave can fit up to 10 people for yoga and meditation. Yoga mats are placed on top of the salt which makes for a unique experience.
“It’s very good for circulation,” Lindsay said. “Salt is antiviral and antibacterial, so it’s a great space to meditate and do yoga, all while receiving these amazing benefits.”
Patrons can visit individually or rent out the space for up to six people.
“If you’re a single person and want to come in, you would get the space to yourself. In normal times, we would book parties together, but right now it’s kind of a luxury, private experience,” she said. “We ask that you wear regular, comfortable clothes when you come in. We do have robes and slippers, socks, blankets and pillows if you need them.”
The room is $35 for one person, $65 for two, or $125 for parties of four to six. Kids are free when accompanied by adults.
The benefits of Himalayan salt
According to Lindsay, there are plenty of reasons to come relax in the salt cave.
“You breathe the salt in. Being in a cave surrounded by Himalayan salt really helps relieve stress,” she said. “The warm glow and the soft, meditative music helps to reduce stress and anxiety. Halotherapy [salt therapy] is also really good for helping with headaches and migraines because salt is a natural anti-inflammatory product.”
Other benefits include a lessening of symptoms related to arthritis, allergies and asthma, and it can help with clearing up psoriasis, eczema and acne.
“This is pharmaceutical grade salt being dispersed into the air, and it helps remove bacteria from your skin’s surface,” she said. “It’s really helpful with allergies too. It’s a drug-free way to reduce inflammation in your airways. People with asthma tell me their airways are clearer and they can breathe easier in the salt cave.”
History behind Room + Pillar
Lindsay said all the salt in her salt cave comes from Pakistan, mostly from the Khewra Salt Mine in the Punjab region. Those at the salt cave will see black-and-white portraits of the Pakistani miners, and discover the process of salt mining.
Then there’s the name itself.
“Room and pillar is an actual mining process,” Lindsay explained. “Miners dig out a portion of the earth to create a room, making sure they leave a pillar behind to support the roof overburden. This is how salt was originally mined. It’s also the first sustainable mining technique, done instead of digging large holes into the ground. I wanted to pay homage to where the salt comes from; it’s important for me to share the history and knowledge.”
Opening during a pandemic
Room + Pillar Spa opened quietly in June of this year. Lindsay wanted to make sure she had a place for people to come and regroup and practice self-care.
“We opened in the summer, which was really great,” she recalled. “We didn’t do a huge grand opening, so we just did a soft launch. Business has been really steady. I anticipate the winter will be a good time for guests to enjoy the cave, as it has a really warm glow inside and provides the comforting environment most of us crave during the winter. Room + Pillar Spa is a place where people come to relax.”
Lindsay credited part of her success to the great team of people that she works with: “I’m so lucky to have such an incredible team; they are all passionate about wellness in different ways.”
Room + Pillar services
Aside from the salt cave, there are several other ways to relax here. The spa offers relaxation massage, hot stone massage, aromatherapy massage and facials. A body scrub with the massage is also possible.
“It’s all relaxation-based,” Lindsay said. “Room + Pillar is a wellness spa; it’s the kind of place where you can come in and relax for your mental, emotional and physical well-being, and all of our services reflect that.”
The spa is located at #100-1546 Harvey Avenue in Kelowna and is open from Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 8 pm, and Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 8 pm.