Float tanks heal pain, reduces stress some say

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.-- Reducing stress and pain are just some goals for Harmony Isolation Float Center.

"It helps with depression, insomnia, anxiety attacks, pain (and) post-traumatic stress disorders," said Alisa Bailey, who was introduced to flotation therapy last year and was inspired to open her center in Grand Junction this past November.

"It helped me so much with my pain that I feel like if I can help a few people with their pain, with pain like I was having, then I have my purpose in life again," she said.

It's called sensory deprivation, the idea being that external distractions are removed from the body so it can be present in its current situation. The enclosed float tank has 10 inches of water and 960 pounds of Epsom salt. Due to the high salt levels in the water, the flotation tank creates a zero gravity environment. You can't see or hear anything. All you feel is your body floating. Some claim that this technique has incredible healing powers.

"I didn't have the backache that I had while I was pregnant. My shoulders didn't hurt. I had no more headaches ... It was absolutely incredible," said Kaitey Brammer.

Brammer started coming to the float center after she had a child five months ago. With her busy life, she said flotation therapy has helped her unwind and de-stress.

"It definitely, definitely assisted with my mind going crazy on me being a brand new mom, staying up during the night, just thinking about my body, how many changes it had gone through,” Brammer said. “I was able to just get into the tank, relax and I got to accept everything."

Eric Huff has also been coming to the float center and said that this therapy is an alternative to pain medication for him.

"I've done concrete work, I worked on the oil field, been pretty hard on my body,” Huff said. “So after discovering this, I benefited from it a lot more than just taking the over the counter inflammatory drugs."

Some doctors said the reason floating helps people is because of the large amount of Epsom salt in the water.

"Magnesium sulfate has been shown to reduce the inflammatory enzymes, to move the ... adrenaline response hormones out of the body, think of stress hormones cleared," said Christopher Lepisto, a naturopathic doctor.

He also said Epsom salt can improve the general quality of life.

"There's evidence that they speed the degree to which you can learn a language, that you recover from injuries like a surgery or car accident," he said.

Bailey said people who are claustrophobic should not let their fears keep them from floating, as the lid of the tank is easy to open and you also can leave the light on in the room.

She added that people with epilepsy seizures, heart disease and diabetes can't float without a physician's note. Doctors said it's because the magnesium sulfate can affect people who are on medication.

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