IMAN ALI uses crystal singing bowls during a healing session in Salt AER Studios’ Halotherapy room.

Like so many, Elisabeth Ruff has always tried to be as healthy as possible. But with a full plate as a mother and elementary school teacher, finding a steady balance in life proved challenging. She often opted to put her family and career before her own needs.

For years, she sought answers to overcome fatigue, brain fog, stress, anxiety, allergies and other ailments. Eventually, Ruff decided it was time to make a change. She started investigating yoga and other mind-body modalities. Through her exploration, she discovered a path to a new, healthier and overall better version of herself.

Yoga was a huge piece of the puzzle.

“Although I have practiced yoga for over 20 years as a home practice, and taught small group classes, it wasn’t until I sought yoga teacher training at OMCORE, that I began to truly study yoga,” she said.

“Through this study, I’ve learned to deepen my practice, to push ahead when needed, and pull back when necessary. I’ve learned that yoga is much more than a physical practice. I take yoga with me everywhere, it is a part of me, the way I live my life, the way I navigate and connect to my God, my family, world and universe.”

The physical benefits were also profound. Ruff has discovered through practice she is able to burn calories and gain energy while recharging her mind. As she continued to study yoga, she also began exploring other mind-body therapies and treatments. Halotherapy, a treatment that uses micro particles of salt to promote better breathing, healthier skin and overall wellness. After trying a session, Ruff became a believer.

“I first tried Halotherapy in Hilton Head, S.C., a while on a vacation. I noticed that it immediately opened my sinuses. I could breathe without using a decongestant. I’ve suffered from hayfever and sinus infections my entire life, with pretty much predictable patterns as the season changes. I have not needed any medications or doctor visits since beginning regular salt room visits. These days, I choose to listen to a Yoga Nidra (a guided meditation) while I’m in the salt room, this is the best rest I can give myself,” she said.

Her journey continued and she added many new treatment experiences, creating a recipe for her overall wellbeing. Once Ruff retired from teaching, it became her mission to share the practices and treatments that have given so much to her. She opened Salt AER Studios,1965 Glynn Avenue Suite 150, where she offers various yoga classes, creative arts, Halotherapy (for people and pets), massage and body work, Somadome meditation, as well as classes, and even kids play area.

All of the treatments work together to promote better health and boost to the immune system, which is critical under the current circumstances.

Ruff said “ Movement, creativity, breathe, body, energy, these are the “key players” in boosting immune system and good health. Weakness or neglect in one area affect the whole self. This is why we (Salt AER Studios) provide the services to address different modalities in one place and encourage clients to experience combinations of services. We all want to live our best life, this starts with our health.”

For Ruff, it’s been rewarding to bring new and innovative treatments to the Golden Isles. It’s a way to merge new age technology like the Somadome with ancient practices like acupuncture. In fact, the Somadome is so new Ruff herself only became acquainted with it fairly recently. The meditation pod allows clients to achieve deep relaxation and peace in the midst of troubled times.

“I wasn’t introduced to the Somadome until we were in the beginning stages of opening our business. I learned the benefits of this immediately,” she said.

“As a new business owner, and a ‘creative,’ I often choose the ‘focus’ program when I have too many things going on at once. During the quarantine, I came in by myself and used the ‘heal’ program as well.”

Other ways she has been working to stay healthy and to keep her immune system strong including energy sessions with all of Salt AER’s therapists.

“We have two therapists, Kandy Duke (Craniosacral Healing Touch) and IMAN ALI (Reiki and crystal singing bowls) who introduced me to therapies that I’d never tried before. Both use light touch, or hands hovering just above the body. I noticed pain relief, especially in knee/joints following the sessions,” Ruff said.

“The Reiki and Crystal Singing Bowl therapies are difficult to describe but it’s a feeling like no other, for me it was a feeling of ‘heaviness’ lifted off, a feeling of energy, less fatigue, clearer thinking. I was skeptical until I began receiving treatments myself. IMAN Ali is currently offering Deep Healing Chakra workshops once a week in the Salt Room where she incorporates chakra clearing, meditation, aromatherapy, crystal singing bowls, supported by props (warm blanket, eye pillows, bolsters) childcare is offered during these workshops.”

Ruff rounds out her wellness program with acupuncture, the traditional Chinese practice to open energetic channels to relief pain and ease the mind.

“I began acupuncture years ago when seeking to discontinue use of several medications that I was taking for stress/anxiety, as well as numbness and shoulder pain,” she said.

“This provided relief and eventually I was able to discontinue most of my medications. Our acupuncturist, Lori Brown, provides acupuncture treatments, Tuina (pressure point massage) and Chinese Herbal consultations.”

Together, Ruff has discovered a path to finding the best version of herself and that’s precisely what she’s offering to others through her studio.

“The key is through the combination of therapies and services, Our various Mind–body therapies focus on the interactions between the brain, mind, body, and behaviors and on the ways in which emotional, mental, social, spiritual and behavioral factors affect our health,” Ruff said.

“The merging of ancient techniques with newly developed therapies through various mind-body modalities such as technology, mindfulness,energy, creativity, light, vibration, salt, education, movement, physical therapies and fun work together to address the whole self: brain, mind, and body; and when our emotional, mental, spiritual,behavioral, and social needs are being met we see positive results in our overall health and wellness.”

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