There are lots of ways to manage stress, at least according to Google. A quick web search yields advice that ranges from meditation and exercise to sleep and healthy eating.
A lesser-known path to stress relief is floating in a tank with about 6 inches of water warmed to 94 degrees and mixed with an Epsom salts solution containing 33 to 35 percent magnesium sulfate.
Brooks Brinson, co-owner of OmFloat in Ashburn, first looked to flotation therapy some 20 years ago to help combat PTSD. He’s been floating ever since. He was eager to bring the experience to the masses, too. He and his wife, Amy, have owned their storefront off the Dulles Greenway for more than seven years, providing a range of holistic wellness services.
The benefits of flotation therapy, known clinically as restricted environmental stimulation therapy, are said to be many. Among them are reduced stress and anxiety, eased pain and inflammation, and even management of symptoms of Lyme disease.
Floating is a sensory deprivation experience. Outside stimuli are cut off to help your mind settle and allow you to achieve relaxation and serenity.
Each float is a 90-minute in-water session. For me, 90 minutes of quiet, uninterrupted float time sounded like 90 hours. I couldn’t imagine floating alone, in the dark, for more than five minutes. Yet, as I listened to calming chimes the first 15 minutes of the float, after which I was in complete silence, I was surprised by how natural it felt to let myself effortlessly slip into a calm state.
“It’s about carving out time for yourself,” says
Brinson. “To find that quiet.” He likened a float to turning off your computer, then turning it back on. “It’s the reset we need.” There are benefits from one session, but you’ll get more from at least three sessions. A single float costs $89. OmFloat sells a three-float package for $199 and offers a Frequent Floater Club. 43490 Yukon Dr., Ste. 111, Ashburn
This story originally ran in Northern Virginia Magazine’s April issue. For more stories like this, subscribe to our monthly magazine.