Our Roots


At Durham Salt Cave, we are committed to continually learning from nature as we craft integrative wellness experiences. We do this by offering a retreat space in the center of a growing urban environment. As a locally owned and family operated business in Durham, North Carolina, we are dedicated to creating a transformative atmosphere that invites peaceful living, wellness, relaxation, and inner alchemy. We aim to provide an opportunity to explore our human potential by creating an environment that facilitates self-discovery. The Durham Salt Cave is a collective effort led by the creative vision of Aubrey Griffith-Zill and Bru Roze in honor of their late mother Robin Zill’s vision. They built this space one brick at a time with guidance from Stewart Griffith and the support of Hart Griffith-Zill and Alesia Bachelor, along with many friends of the Living Arts Collective. The Durham Salt Cave’s team consists of practitioners from the Living Arts Collective whose work weaves in beautifully with the experience of our urban retreat. When you visit Durham Salt Cave, you can expect to experience the continued legacy of Robin Zill’s vision as a contribution to the essence of the arts district in Durham. We look forward to welcoming you into “Durham’s home for relaxation.”



Both the Durham Salt Cave (DSC) and the Living Arts Collective (LAC) were inspired by the legacy and philosophy of the founders’ late mother, Robin Zill, who created Ousia and opened The Spa Center in Hillsborough in 2002. Robin’s work and dedication to rest and rejuvenation received both the Visionary award and the Dedicated Contributor award from the International Spa Association in 2008. Robin also co-founded Touch America along with her husband, Stewart Griffith. Touch America, designers of the chairs found in the Salt Cave and Salt Suite, was founded in Hillsborough, NC in 1983 and is celebrating their 40th anniversary this year. It is the legacy and innovation of the founders’ parents, Robin Zill and Stewart Griffith, that inspires the uniquely crafted integrative wellness experiences at the Durham Salt Cave.

“My belief is that spas have the potential to be the sacred spaces for understanding and nurturing the contemporary human spirit. What creates excellence in “the spa experience” is difficult to capture and articulate. There are many levels to the dialogue and they are interrelated in nature. On the surface, a spa treatment is about feeling good. But to achieve a memorable experience and not just a great massage, facial or wrap, we need to encourage each client’s connection to a deeper sense of self. What we really want to do is create a space for self-discovery and growth.” – Robin Zill

Living Arts Collective

The Living Arts Collective (LAC) and Durham Salt Cave (DSC) were founded with the shared vision of nourishing the authentic essence that lives in each of us. Durham Salt Cave approaches this vision through unique, relaxing, and therapeutic experiences while the LAC provides classes and events focused on a foundational knowledge in rhythm, somatics, embodiment, and improvisation arts, all while allowing space for the unfolding and unpredictable creative process. 

Living Arts Collective is a co-creative space for innovative artistic expression, movement, dance, education, healing arts, and community building. It is a collective of individuals creating a space for the intergenerational exploration and development of artistic freedom and peaceful living. To learn more about offerings at LAC, check out our classes and events.


Both the Durham Salt Cave and Living Arts Collective are rooted in Robin Zill’s Ousia philosophy. Ousia (oo-see-ahh), means ‘essence’ or ‘nature’; that which makes us who we are. This philosophy factors in our current states of being along with the rhythmic cycles of seasons. It is simply a contemporary glimpse of ancient information that is deep within each of us. The Ousia process guides us to a deeper sense of self, an enriched feeling of health, and a joyful place. This begins with the simple intention of cultivating personal understanding of self and nature through the four pillars of insight, cleanse, nourish, and transform.

What makes you who you are? What makes the world what it is? We invite you into this exploration through rejuvenating experiences here at the Durham Salt Cave.

“Nature moves in cycles, which we understand through our sense of time, rhythm, and space. Our body is the vessel through which we experience these cycles. By tapping into our essence within, we see who we are and how we can live more cooperatively on earth and in our communities. Nature is our best teacher.”
– Robin Zill

Ousia Essence Within


The physical creation of this space was rooted in a commitment to ethical sourcing, consideration of bioregional impact, and a dedication to repurposing practices. The Durham Salt Cave by Ousia was intentionally designed with repurposed materials and natural elements. We are grateful to have had local community members along with our family’s collaborative support in building this immersive environment to practice slowing down to restore and celebrate. A good number of these materials and natural elements were sourced from the lands of the Eno, Shakori, Sissipahaw, and Occaneechi peoples, other people of Siouan descent and their descendants, and the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation. You can learn more about these nations and this land here.

Durham Salt Cave with its founders, Aubrey and Bruce

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