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Himalayan Salt Caves, Cheadle, Reviewed

Alex Horne ponders life, the universe and a lost £20

Published on August 29th 2012.

Himalayan Salt Caves, Cheadle, Reviewed

RELAXATION can, at times, seem like the Holy Grail in these complex times of wi-speed hi-fis and Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchens From Hell

After forty five minutes of lying down in a room with limited lighting I certainly felt a restoration in my energy and a renewed appreciation for the world outside of the cave. Whether any of those feelings were related to the powers of salt is uncertain.  

The processes people subject themselves to in the hopes of reaching this semi-mythical higher plane are often startling. Oxygen masks, deprivation chambers...even jogging. 

The recently opened Himalayan Salt Cave, located behind a cafe in the cloudless climes of Cheadle, is offering Manchester a new path to spiritual chilled-outness for £20 unless you’re getting a Living Social/ Groupon deal. 

The age old process has been imported from the notorious masters of tranquility, the Kirati. The salt, too, is sourced from the magical mountainous region. According to the website Himalayan salt comes from ‘a place where the original solar energy drained the ocean’. Science. Wow. 

Bracing myself for a period of dramatic, possibly even violent, bodily regeneration and assuasive mental therapy I was somewhat disappointed when my time in the salt arrived. I was escorted through the cafe into the cold, salty chamber. 

I was then enjoined to ‘please enjoy’ by my sherpa of serenity and, with a sweep of her arm, I was ushered towards one of the several sun loungers or, to use their technical term, ‘Lafuma Deckchairs’. 

Then she left, she just walked out. Really. How could she? 

Unsure of whether my empress of equanimity had mistaken me for a seasoned salt cave dweller or had just forgotten to provide me with the preparatory literature, I reposed on the ‘Lafuma Deckchairs’ and absorbed my sodium chloride enclosure. 

The floor was blanketed in the magical Himalayan salt (rigorous and complex testing procedures were carried out to confirm the authenticity of the substance. Although I definitely didn’t eat any from the floor). 

The rest of the room resembled a clumsy sculptural rendering of Christmas on Mars. 

Rocks dotted around the walls took turns to glow a strange red light casting somewhat menacing shadows around the place as the temperature began to drop below comfortable. 

In (sort of) unison with the lambent rocks the lights dangling from the roof shifted between various colourful configurations. These illuminations, I gathered, were part of the colour therapy aspect of the treatment. 

The website claims these fairy lights have ‘a large impact on the well-being’ but the well-being was nowhere to be found. I assumed he had gone for lunch or was having a fag during my stay. 

After three or four more cycles of the flickering lights I began to speculate that perhaps they were a way to ward off unwelcome well-beings. I feared he may return to terrorise me in the intervening darkness until I was soothed by the sight of a CCTV camera which had been pointed directly at me the entire time. 

The aural landscape of my session was, as the website promised, ‘properly chosen relaxation music that helps to relax’. The full spectrum of chill out sounds were piped into the chamber and mingled mellifluously with the babbling waterfall and the high-class industrial HVAC equipment which was filling the room with salty air. 

It is perhaps this ancient ventilation system that holds the key to the sorcery behind this mystic place, but these things are not for the unenlightened mind to ponder. It should be reiterated here, however, that to remain within health and safety standards ‘the air inside the cave is replaced completely every hour’. Thanks goodness for that. 

After forty five minutes of lying down in a room with limited lighting I certainly felt a restoration in my energy and a renewed appreciation for the world outside of the cave. Whether any of those feelings were related to the powers of salt is uncertain.  

Admittedly one of the main attractions of the salt cave is its supposed alleviating effect on ailments that I do not suffer from but I couldn’t help pondering how I could have better spent my time. 

I developed some techniques which I offer to you here free of charge: 

Other relaxing things to do for £20: taking four valium; genting a night in a cheap YHA; going for a walk and then getting a taxi home.

Some relaxing things to do for £0: stroking a fluffy animal, having a nap, going for a walk

The Himalayan Salt Cave is at 8 Old Rectory Garden, Cheadle, SK8 1BX. Open: Mon-Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 9am-6pm.

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10 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Thomas DelapAugust 29th 2012.

i total disagree i was completely relaxed and found it hard to walk on leaving my legs where like jelly i am going again please try it for yourselves.

AnonymousAugust 29th 2012.

What a horrible non-review. More like catty comments slung together in an attempt to be amusing.

Still, nothing like trying to ruin small business 'eh Man Con!

1 Response: Reply To This...
SaltyAugust 31st 2012.

A small business based on a room full of salt? Not a small business, an odd business

AnonymousAugust 30th 2012.

How come you took my fair comment about the review down? It wasn't rude (like your "review") and didn't contain any swear words.

Man Con - supporting local business (as long as they're in Didsbury or Manchester City Centre)!

1 Response: Reply To This...
GordoAugust 30th 2012.

? Am I being thick?

AnonymousAugust 30th 2012.

This review sums up exactly what I expected this place to be like and every reason why I have never gone there.

AnonymousAugust 30th 2012.

If you live you life based on the experiences of somebody else then you're a very sad person indeed.

Matt RigbyAugust 30th 2012.

"Bracing myself for a period of dramatic, possibly even violent, bodily regeneration and assuasive mental therapy "

Violent Bodily regeneration hahaha

AnonymousAugust 31st 2012.

I wonder if the CCTV camera links to an online version for those short on time and wanting to embark on a salty adventure?

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