An escape from winter: Salt spa opens in downtown Arlington Heights
Tim Bradley spent 33 years as a firefighter and paramedic before retiring as a captain for the Aurora Fire Department and becoming a small-business owner.
The stress level of his job now couldn't be more different.
"I feel like I'm going to the beach everyday," Bradley says of The Salt Escape, his new Himalayan salt therapy spa in downtown Arlington Heights that opened this month.
Over the course of 14 months of renovations, Bradley transformed a vacant 2,000-square-foot storefront within the Arlington Town Square shopping center into a dimly-lit, calming therapy lounge that resembles a cloistered salt mine deep in the mountains a world away.
Hand-carved blocks of Himalayan salt make up the walls of the 17-foot tall therapy room, while tons of food grain Himalayan salt serve as the walking surface. Customers can lay back in any of 10 zero-gravity lounge chairs for the hourlong sessions, during which cellphones are frowned upon and conversation is kept to a minimum, as the sounds of the ocean play in the background.
"This is the beach in the winter," he tells customers. "This is your hour to let your mind go."
The 84 trace minerals in the negatively charged ionized salt are said to help people with asthma, bronchitis and respiratory ailments, and those who've recently had surgery or chemotherapy, Bradley said. He believes customers are drawn to natural, holistic ways to heal both body and mind.
"It brings your body back into homeostasis. You feel better. It's better energy," he said.
Bradley, who became hooked on the therapeutic qualities of salt therapy after visiting the Naperville Salt Cave, opened his first spa in Batavia in 2016. One of his customers there is the wife of Arlington Town Square's leasing agent, who convinced Bradley to open a second location.
Bradley initially said he didn't have the time or the money, but Tom Walsh, the leasing agent, was persistent.
"When he opened up the doors and we stepped in the place, something magical happened," Bradley said. "I could almost feel like I could see people in it already."
The property management company kicked in some funds to help defray startup costs, while Bradley also received funds from the village's zero-interest loan program for new businesses.
The Salt Escape, 70 S. Arlington Heights Road, is open daily with hourly sessions that cost $30. Booking for group events is also available.