Jess Lefler of Fallston has run the gamut of traditional therapies for chronic pain: physical therapy, chiropractic care, massage, daily exercise, meditation and prescribed medications. A longtime athlete, she struggles with the after-effects of injuries as well as fibromyalgia from a bout with Lyme disease. When Lefler, 34, heard about flotation therapy offered at Remedy Wellness in Bel Air, she was ready for an unconventional approach to ease pain.
During flotation therapy, individuals float on their backs for about an hour inside a dark, soundproof “pod” that contains about 160 gallons of water mixed with 1,000 pounds of Epsom salts. The salts, a longtime home remedy for aches and pains, are a natural compound of magnesium and sulfate. They also act as a natural skin detoxifier. The water-to-salt ratio results in an unusual buoyancy. The temperature is roughly 93 degrees, intended to make the water feel like an extension of the body.
Flotation therapy can provide dramatic pain relief as well as extraordinary mind and body relaxation, says Remedy Wellness’ owner, Maura McCarthy.
“The complete weightlessness is what helps your brain to get to the same place as meditation or a restful sleep,” says McCarthy. “If you have pain issues, there is absolutely no pressure anywhere on the body.”
McCarthy, 36, a licensed massage therapist for 16 years, previously operated Remedy Wellness in Fallston. She relocated to make room for two flotation tanks. Remedy Wellness already provided massage therapy, corrective facials and Reiki, says McCarthy. “We wanted to offer something else to help people with chronic pain, injuries, depression, anxiety and stress.”
A float session typically costs $75, and Remedy Wellness offers several packages.
Lefler, a mother of two small children, was also intrigued because flotation therapy promises an hour of uninterrupted quiet and darkness. Still, she said, “It’s going to be a challenge for me just to lay there ... and be.”
After a pre-session shower, she put on a robe and rubber sandals and entered the float room, which is lit only by blue lights inside the 7-foot-by-5-foot tank. The water measures about 10 inches deep. The tank has a hinged lid; most close it during the session to maximize temperature and a sense of quiet. Customers can listen to acoustical recorded music or float in silence. Music controls, as well as an intercom to the front desk, are located at fingertip level. At session’s end, another shower rinses off the salt.
Though Lefler later said that it took a few minutes to adjust to the unusual feel of the water, eventually she found herself unwinding and floating effortlessly. “The more you relax, the more you are able to float,” she says.
During the float and later in the day, she noticed some relief of superficial muscular pain as well as intermittent pain reduction at the site of injuries. “It was a full-body experience and helpful to relax both mentally and physically,” she reported. “I would recommend anyone with chronic pain or physical or emotional injuries to try it.”
Lefler said she would “absolutely” do another session.
McCarthy notes that it takes about three sessions to get completely comfortable with the experience and notice results. She encourages people to add any type of self-care to their routine.
“What you have at the end of the day is your body,” she added. “That’s it. We should invest in how our bodies and brains feel. You have to live in it every day, even more so than your house.”
If you go
1131 Belair Road, Suite L3, Bel Air, MD 21014