by francine Hardaway on August 7, 2015

One of the unintended consequences of rising health care costs is that consumers have awakened to the fact that they have choices. They can choose to prevent disease, and to pay people who actually make them feel better — hence the proliferation of massage therapy, yoga, physical training, nutrition information, and other preventive health services.

This change in how we view health has created enormous opportunity for remedies that were always effective but were sidelined by the allopathic medical establishment and its blood brother Big Pharma. If you have been following my journey for the highest possible quality of life while I’m on this planet, you already know of my plant-based eating, my daily exercise, my yoga practice, my investigation into medical marijuana, and now…my float.

[I swear I must be the luckiest person on the planet. My work with startups takes me into new territory all the time, and puts me into permanent learning mode.]

Yesterday I got a call from a friend who is working at a Tempe-based startup,TrueRest. TrueRest sells franchises for spas with Reduced Environmental Stimulus Tanks (Floatpods). Invented in 1954 by a neuropsychiatrist, these tanks enjoyed enormous popularity in the 70’s. My friend wanted to see if I’d be interested in helping the company grow its business, and as part of my due diligence process, she invited me to float!

You have not lived until you’ve spent an hour floating on your back in a pod of warm water containing 1000 pounds of Epsom salts. If you had any aches and pains going in, you don’t have them coming out. The water is about 93 degrees, and the experiences is spa-like. TrueRest’s pods have a futuristic design with optional soft colored lights and soothing music. You get naked (or into a swim suit), climb into the pod and (unless you are claustrophic) you close the pod over you. It’s like returning to the womb.

After a few minutes, you realize you really will be held up by the salts and you allow yourself to relax into the water. After a few more minutes, your mind slows down, and if you are a meditator, you’re in the best meditation of your life; you go deeper and deeper, getting more and more relaxed. At one point, I felt so full of gratitude and so happy that I wanted to burst out laughing.

When it’s time to end the float, music comes up in the pod. You raise the lid, let yourself out slowly, and take a shower. You’re then ready to face the day. For me, that meant relief from the jet lag I was feeling from my European vacation.

Floating has been found to be beneficial for jet lag, PTSD, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis pain, and of course for stress. It was popular in the 70’s, and got shoved aside until the current emphasis on meditation brought it forward again. TrueRest has taken this therapeutic modality and woven it into a spa experience that’s approachable and affordable by making it a membership service. And as a gesture of gratitude, their franchises also offer services to veterans free of charge.

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