Be Well in Camp Hill
By Karen Hendricks
A long-time shopping and dining destination, Camp Hill, Pa., is acquiring a new reputation as a mecca for those seeking health and wellness. Located just 35 miles north of Gettysburg on U.S. Route 15, the Cumberland County town is home to Central Pennsylvania’s only Dead Sea salt room—at Hygea Wellness—and Central Pennsylvania’s first saltwater float facility, Dissolve Float Spa. Numerous spas, holistic nutrition and health practices, and other wellness facilities are also located throughout Camp Hill.
“Camp Hill allows for a complete health and wellness experience,” says Aaron Jumper of the Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau. “As you’re feeling rejuvenated about the new year, caring about your health and wellness, it’s a great time to focus on yourself and relax after the holidays.”
Overall, Camp Hill’s growing Market Street business district features more than 100 businesses. More than half are women-owned, and between 20 to 25 percent are health or wellness related, says Mary Beth Brath, director of the Downtown Camp Hill Association. She says visitors can plan their own customized spa day including pampering, beauty, and wellness.
“I would recommend visitors make appointments ahead of time,” says Brath. “Have a skin treatment, have your nails done, enjoy the salt room or salt float, but then also take time to visit a coffee house to relax with a specialty coffee or tea, or peruse the specialty boutiques, reenergizing yourself.”
Massage Melts the Pain Away
A “sanctuary” is how Jessica McCoy describes her business, Mending Roots Wellness. Nearly a dozen staff members offer a menu of wellness options: massage therapy, yoga, life coaching, nutrition counseling, meditation, and Barton-certified dyslexia tutoring for both adults and children.
McCoy, a licensed massage therapist for more than 10 years, rolled her existing business, Phoenix Rising Healing Arts & Therapies, into the practice.
“The benefits of massage therapy are amazing and can affect people at a cellular level,” McCoy says. “We’re clinically based, working on structural issues, helping people live a pain-free life. In turn, when people aren’t in pain any more, a lot of stress leaves the body. Then a lot of other things open up in your life, like your attitude. It has a domino effect.”
Breathe Easy in a Salt Cave
Seven tons of salt from Israel’s Dead Sea attract visitors to Hygea Wellness’ “salt cave.” Deanna Davis opened the business in 2012 after her mother came up with the idea. A growing body of research explains the science behind the salts, which are believed to have a high concentration of salinity and healing properties.
“The salt helps to rid your body of toxins, whether you have asthma, arthritis, Lyme disease, or stress,” says Davis. “A halo generator distributes salt minerals through the air; breathing it helps to clean and filter toxins so that you’re breathing in clean, pure air.”
When guests first arrive, the room is white—from the white salts underfoot to the white ceiling overhead simulating icicles. Soothing music accompanied by ocean sounds fills the room. As the lights dim, a faint green light is emitted from the halo generator, while tiny lights slowly twinkle in patterns across the ceiling. The air feels fresh and clean.
A 45-minute treatment, simply relaxing in the room, provides the equivalent amount of two and a half days at beach, says Davis.
Not only is Hygea Wellness the only Dead Sea Salt room in Central Pennsylvania, but Davis says it’s the only facility in the northeastern U.S.
“Our area ranks 12th worst in the nation for breathing issues, plus we have a high frequency of Lyme disease,” Davis says.
The facility also includes a Himalayan salt room with healing, cleansing properties that help rid toxins from the body and saunas.
Davis says Camp Hill’s business community itself is a healthy one. “We all cross promote each other; we don’t feel that we’re in competition.”
Stress Floats Away
A different type of salt is the main ingredient in Dissolve Float Spa’s business nearby. Pharmaceutical-grade Epson salts provide flotation therapy, a weightless salt float that buoys visitors atop 200 gallons of water—but measures only 10 inches deep. Visitors float inside large pods, often described as egg-shaped shallow bathtubs featuring lids that may or may not be lowered during use.
Dissolve owner Michael Heiter says several hundred guests visit Dissolve monthly—many seeking stress relief and others seeking relief from medical issues such as of chronic pain, back pain, fibromyalgia, PTSD, Lyme disease, arthritis, and other medical ailments.
“People say it’s life-changing,” says Heiter. “It’s like a reset or reboot; mentally, physically, and spiritually.”
Plan Your Own Spa Day
For a complete list of Camp Hill businesses, check out the borough’s website (camphillborough.com), then click on “Business Directory;” follow “Downtown Camp Hill”
Mending Roots Wellness
2138 Market St., Camp Hill
Hygea Wellness Salt Room
2321 Market St., Camp Hill
Dissolve Float Spa
2211 Market St., Camp Hill