A chance to float on warm salt water

1,000 pounds of salt in 11 inches of water creates therapeutic environment at new business Oly Float

rboone@theolympian.comJanuary 21, 2014 

Imagine floating on your back in warm water, your mind and body at ease. Perhaps there’s some modest audio and visual stimulation as well, sending you into a deeply meditative state that lasts an hour or 90 minutes. When your float is complete, you feel refreshed, as if that one hour were as soothing as a four-hour nap.

That’s the experience that awaits at Oly Float, a new health care business on east Fourth Avenue that offers a sensory deprivation tank, except that it’s not quite a tank, but more like an oversized, enclosed shower space with a bathtub.

Co-owner Mike Redman, who has operated a float tank with business partner Cj Russo for about 18 months, calls it a “float cabin.”

The two men met at the Westside Wellness Center in Olympia and operated a float tank there before bringing one to the new location at 1714 Fourth Ave. E., not far down the hill from Ralph’s Thriftway. Oly Float is the headlining business at the spot called “Soul Space,” but there are several other health care practitioners in the building who offer services that complement Oly Float.

Redman and Russo are using the therapeutic qualities of the float tank to target those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized pain caused by fibromyalgia, or those wanting to simply address stress, tension or exhaustion.

Redman described the experience as meditative, helping users achieve a theta brainwave state, similar to the perfect night’s sleep, allowing people to easily slip in and out of their dreams.

In a more technical sense, it’s like defragging your brain as you would a computer, Redman said.

“It’s making yourself whole again,” he said.

But here’s what Oly Float is not: It’s not the sensory deprivation tank or the experience depicted in the movie “Altered States,” in which the character played by William Hurt takes psychedelic drugs and then climbs into a tightly enclosed tank.

Here’s what it is: Users shower before they use the tank, a tub filled with 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt and 11 inches of water, which is enough salt and water for the user to achieve buoyancy. Users also have the option of sounds and visuals — isochronic tones and chromatic light — for the experience, or they can choose to have it pitch black.

The water is set at 93.5 degrees, equal to skin temperature.

The float experience is offered at 60 or 90 minutes, and then once it’s over, the user showers again, and the tank, or tub, is cleaned, Redman said.

The fee is $60 for an hour, or a discounted rate of $80 for a 90-minute float.

A second “float cabin” is set to come online, and the business also plans to add two pod-style tanks, he said.

Massage therapist Mandy Zabohne, who also works out of Soul Space, has tried it. Some might like to float perfectly still, but for her she likes to wriggle around, and any stress and tension that she was holding onto “wriggles out,” she said.

Here are the other practitioners at Soul Space:

Generations Health & Wellness: After a 16-year career in banking, facing burnout and wanting to spend more time with his 13-year-old son, Greg Hinkle became a massage therapist, including pediatric massage. “I wanted to quit being a recipient and start giving back,” he said.

Intuitive Being: A combination of applied kinesiology, massage, and personal and professional counseling is offered by Dan Larsen, massage therapist Zabohne and Renee Davis. Zabohne also offers craniosacral therapy, using gentle compression techniques to alleviate tension headaches, for example.

Goldroot Botanical Medicine: Davis, who also works with Intuitive Being, specializes in botanical medicine. For example, dandelion roots and leaves help with digestion, and nettles offer iron, calcium and other nutrients, she said.

Dorje Media: Managing director Larsen, who spent 15 years running the marketing departments of large health care companies, finally started to feel like a cog in a very big machine, so he went in a different direction, opening his own marketing business. But as he helped business owners, he also found he was counseling and coaching them, which is part of the service he offers with Dorje Media. “Being of service is way more compelling,” he said.

A business run by Victoria Bitar and Delta Research Group are in the same building.

Like Larsen and Hinkle, Oly Float owners Russo and Redman have moved on from past careers, called to do something different, they said, and to give back.

Russo was laid off after a 15-year career teaching math in the public school system, and Redman used to work in financial services and as a commercial diver. He was first exposed to float tanks when he bought one for his own therapy.

“It has been a lifelong dream to be a small business owner,” Russo said.

All of the practitioners at Soul Space charge roughly $1 per minute.

More information

Oly Float: olyfloat.com.

Generations Health & Wellness: generationsolympia.com.

Intuitive Being: intuitivebeing.org

Goldroot Botanical Medicine: goldrootherbs.com.

Dorje Media: dorjemedia.com.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 rboone@theolympian.com

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