Floatation therapy to promote mental health and well-being

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ROCKFORD, Ill (WIFR) -- With day-to-day stress, meditation can feel as though weight is lifted off your shoulders. Floatation therapy lifts weight off your entire body.

"We're not only addressing symptoms of mental illness," says co-owner of Forest City Float at Namaste Studios Tami Bogard. "We're promoting mental wellness."

The floatation pods contain 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt and 200 gallons of water. The salt outweighs the water content, allowing for floatation.

"It's very, very pure," says Bogard.

Each session lasts an hour in the enclosed pod with sound-proof walls. Owners Tami and Ben Bogard say there are not many instances in life where you can fully disconnect. This therapy is one of them. First time floater Andy Neyer agrees.

"I think when you have that time to spend and you have no other plans, and nothing else to worry about, you're just in there thinking about whatever," he says. "You end up thinking about things you're doing in life."

Matt Sage, a counselor at KP Conseling in Rockford also uses the therapy. "Instead of pushing away thoughts or feelings, or chasing after thoughts or feelings you get to observe them, watch them come and then they leave," he explains. "You get the chance to hit the pause button on life."

A button few get the chance to press.

Studies done at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research examine floatation therapy use in those with, and without anxiety. "What they're finding is post-float, that the people with anxiety report lower levels of anxiety than the people who report no anxiety," says Bogard.

Other benefits include enhanced athletic performance, boosts in immune function and accelerates learning.

"Studies have been done that have proven that senses of cerenity are heightened, anxiety is reduced, muscle tension is reduced," says Bogard. She also says many people are deficient in magnesium, which causes the muscle tension.

Anyone can float, but Bogard says those with Kidney-related illnesses may want to check with their doctors due to the high salt content.

Sage says a major part of why he floats is for self care. "This is part of my self care, my way to cope with life."