Today’s guest post is by Terri Stangl, float facilitator at Quantum Floats in Bedminster, New Jersey. If you want to know more about what “floating” is and how it can keep your stress in check this holiday season, keep reading!
Randy’s brother Jimmy was in a car accident a few years ago and suffered a traumatic brain injury. Randy became Jimmy’s primary caregiver, living in the home and attending to most of Jimmy’s basic needs. Jimmy’s injury left him with serious cognitive limitations. He doesn’t remember things and has become somewhat rebellious.
Randy is happy to be able to provide care, but over time he found himself feeling impatient and frustrated. The demands of caring for Jimmy became increasingly stressful. Randy found himself snapping at his wife and feeling resentful. He was drinking more and sleeping less. Randy’s daughter became concerned.
One day she heard about “floating” and bought Randy a gift certificate. After a short orientation, he took a shower and climbed into a float tank. He was floating effortlessly in 9 inches of warm water, into which nearly 1000 pounds of Epsom salts had been dissolved. After closing the tank door and a few minutes of getting settled, he lost the sense of where his body ended and the water began. It felt like he was floating on air. He was surprised at how large the tank was–it was over seven feet long and he couldn’t touch the ceiling once he was floating. The water was constantly filtered and fresh air gently circulated in. After a few more minutes he felt his body relax. He stopped being aware of his breath and his thoughts began to slow down and become almost dream like.
Before he knew it a light came on to signal that his session was done. He got out, took a second shower, and noticed how he felt mentally refreshed and deeply relaxed. The tightness in his shoulders was gone and the frenzy in his mind had quieted down. He had even been able to think about a few things that were bothering him and saw solutions that had previously evaded him.
Intrigued, he came to float again the following week. He noticed that for days after each float he was less reactive to what Jimmy was doing. He wasn’t as frustrated and he was sleeping better. Randy is not unique in these troubles. Many people who are dealing with the stresses of illness or injury, whether their own or with someone else, are finding floating to be helpful.
Floating was invented over 40 years ago by a doctor and neuroscientist as a tool for studying the mind when it is isolated from external stimulation. It has since been recognized as an effective way to relax both body and mind. Sever studies on the effects of regular floating have found that it can reduce anxiety and stress, reduce cortisol levels, relieve muscle tension and pain, and improve sleep quality. There are now nearly 300 float centers in the United States alone. A research facility at the Laureate Brain Institute is studying how floating affects post-traumatic stress, anxiety and weight loss. Floating is also a tool for problem solving because solutions that may be elusive during the bustle of daily life may appear when one is thinking with much slower brain waves–even slower than what one experiences with relaxation techniques like meditation.
In November, floating became more available in this region with the opening of Quantum Floats, Bedminster Medical Plaza, 1 Robertson Drive, Suite 13, Bedminster NJ, 07921. Quantum Floats has 2 float tanks and is open seven days a week and eveneings. It is easily reached from US 287 and US 78. Quantum Floats is owned by a Morristown business attorney Ken Kaplan, who was impressed by the benefits of floating in his own busy life as a partner in a law firm and a father. For more information about floating, see www.quantumfloats.com or call (973) 783-3227.
Terri Stangl retired from a career as a lawyer and non-profit director to work in the float industry. She owned Great Lakes Flotation in Michigan and currently works as a float facilitator at Quantum Floats.