Keeping Afloat During The Holidays

By: Missy Sorg

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The holidays can be stressful.  Between finding the right gifts for people, dealing with heavier traffic patterns while traveling, having to spend time with family members you may or may not like to see, and the end-of-year deadline crunches at work, it’s no wonder why you find yourself exhausted and run down.  According to a Harvard study, “the stress of the season puts many of us on such an edge that we wish it would all just go away.”  The study from a 2015 survey indicated 62% of respondents’ stress levels were “very or somewhat elevated,” in comparison to the 10% reporting “no stress.”  

So, what if you could have total relaxation – if even briefly, during the holidays?  

This is where a relatively recent practice of floating comes in.  According to Discover Magazine, “an analysis in 1997 of well over 1,000 descriptions of sensory deprivation indicated that more than 90% of subjects found it deeply relaxing.”  TIME echoed the sentiment with a study of PTSD patients.

While there is a bit of a stretch from holiday stress to PTSD, I’m likely to think that if PTSD patients are able to find stress relief through floating that the average individual could definitely see some improvement.  With a local float company offering their services here in Pittsburgh, it may be worth giving it a try.  

Essentially, floating is just as it sounds.  The Zero Gravity Float Company follows a standard ratio for their floats: 800 pounds of Epsom salt in a tank filled with less than a foot of water.  “This creates a Dead-Sea-type effect – you float effortlessly,” claims their website.  The result is buoyancy that allows you to float without having to exert energy – physically or mentally, to do so.  Water temperature is set to match the temperature of your body, so you do not feel hot or cold As an added bonus, the float chambers are regulated so that you do not hear or see anything while inside.  Zero Gravity Float Company indicates that “music will play for the first five minutes to help you get into a meditative state of mind.”  From there, the remaining time is in silence until the music fades back in at the end to alert you that your float session is nearing its end.  

In addition to a meditative state to clear your mind, floating has a variety of physical health benefits.  Epsom salts (the salts used to make the water floaty) have a myriad of benefits as a result of the high level of magnesium.  According to a study by The National Academy of Sciences “all of the subjects in a recent study experienced increased magnesium levels from soaking in a bath enriched with magnesium sulfate crystals, commonly known as Epsom Salt.”  The magnesium helps to ease stress, improve sleep, improve concentration, help muscle and nerve functions, regulate enzymes, prevent artery hardening, prevent blood clots, reduce muscle cramps and inflammation, and improve oxygen use by the body.  Sulfates help flush toxins, improve absorption of nutrients, and help treat migraine headaches.  

With all of the benefits attributed to a Zero Gravity Float, it sounds like a great opportunity to unwind during the holidays.  Added benefits of Epsom salts, according to Prevention, include volumizing your hair, softening calluses, soothing a sunburn, and smoothing rough skin.  You’re essentially getting the equivalent of a massage and a body scrub at the same time!

You can find out more about Zero Gravity Float Company, including how to book a session, at www.zgfloat.com.