A Himalayan Salt Room Halotherapy may be the last small business you would expect in this area, especially if you are still longing for a local KFC, but it is also the area’s newest business.

Ron and Cindy Conner, both retired from General Motors, decided to open a new business in perhaps one of the oldest homes in Knox at 605 West State Street, looking down on the Knox business district.

“We want to make this a destination business, attracting people who will also visit other businesses in town,” said Ron. “Salt rooms are few and far apart in this part of the country.”

There are now 650 salt rooms in the United States, but the closest ones around here are State College, Erie and Pittsburgh. “We want to give our customers a little more personal experience, so they come back, and we want to keep it on a small basis,” the Conners said.

Salt therapy, known as halotherapy, is a holistic method that reproduces the natural microclimate of a salt cave by disbursing dry salt in a room whose surfaces are covered with layers of salt. The dry salt in the room may provide relief for sleep problems, allergies, sinusitis and COPD.

“Our salt room allows for dry salt therapy to be experienced in a group setting,” continued Ron in a recent presentation to Clarion Rotary. “A small room simulates the environment of a therapeutic salt cave, with Himalayan salt covering the walls and floor to calm the mind and body by releasing negative ions. Salt materials are so small that they go through clothing. It will work its way into you. There is no reason to remove clothes.”

Salt therapy is a natural therapy that has been practiced for more than 100 years, starting in Eastern Europe. It involves relaxing in a specialized room filled with dry salt particles and can help cleanse the airways and skin, as well as aid recovery and general wellbeing.

“Salt is 250 million years old. This salt is older than the dinosaurs. This salt is very, very clean, since it has been buried for a very long time and they mine it below the Himalayan mountain chains. Even in ancient times, they used salt to help people with problems. People learned over time that it’s actually a beneficial thing.”

In addition to the salt cave, the business also has an infrared sauna that produces heat at a lower temperature than does a regular one, making it accessible to people who can’t tolerate the heat of a conventional steam sauna.

Ron advises customers to check with their physicians if they have any concerns before they try out Himalayan. The sauna can provide better sleep, relaxation, chromotherapy, relief from joint pain, relief from sore muscles, improved circulation, and promote weight loss.

People can book sessions or get more information at HimalayanSaltAndBody.com or call (814) 797-2013.

“Cindy is a mechanical engineer, and I have a degree in industrial technology,” said Ron, providing some background on the couple.

“We retired from General Motors and moved back here. Cindy is doing websites and marketing now for 40 or 50 clients. I’m also what’s known as an infrared expert, and I go around the world putting on training programs for the use of a special camera that sees heat and an infrared monitor. I’ve been to about 19 different countries putting seminars on how to run infrared equipment. I’m getting to retire again from that shortly, and hopefully will be working more in the cave than going out on the road. Last year I spent 25 weeks on the road.”

Cindy offered some more information on her husband’s qualifications:

“My husband is being modest. He’s the seventh most trained person in the world as far as non-destructive testing all over the world. There are only six with more training than him in the five disciplines of non-destructive testing.”

The Conner home was built in 1880 by the Krebs family and the next owner was “Alice” Slicker, and she owned the home until Henry Slicker bought it in 1959. The home was sold again on Nov. 2, 2004, to Allen Weeter.

The Conners’ daughter, Erica, also operates a business from the house specializing in photography and video productions.

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