The July issue of Nashville Lifestyles featured our all-inclusive guide to relaxation and rejuvenation. Each day we'll be sharing one of our favorite wellness practices and procedures with you.
Relax, recharge, recalibrate. That’s the promise of Float Horizen, a float spa in East Nashville’s Five Points. Its private rooms contain individual tanks, each filled with 12 inches of Epsom salt-saturated water heated to skin temperature, thus effortlessly supporting the body. Moreover, in darkness, in silence.
So much of my day is spent in the barrage of the physical world, connected to devices that stream a steady and often stressful diet of information. What would it feel like to unplug for an hour, immerse myself in a warm buoyant bath, and surrender to the stillness of the moment?
Float Horizen founder and native Nashvillian Zane Ritter is ready to guide me.
Ritter became entranced with the therapeutic benefits of floating while he was a student of biology and psychology at UT Chattanooga.
“In my neuroscience classes, I came across research that showed a correlation between healing of traumatic brain injuries and floating,” he says. “It was called sensory deprivation. In that quiet environment, the brain can rest and heal.”
Further exploration led Ritter to a float conference in Portland, Oregon. This exposed him to a diverse wellness community: athletes using floating to speed recovery from injuries, business people as a means of de-stressing, artists to increase receptivity to the creative flow. He also attended a comprehensive seminar on how to start your own float spa. In December 2017, with his family’s backing, Ritter opened Float Horizen.
He gives me a tour of the facility. The Dream Room has a state-of-the-art pod with hydraulic door, modern yet womblike. The Wave Rooms are more expansive—you don’t have the sense of being closed in. Each chamber provides a shower, towels, earplugs, robe, slippers, and a place for personal items. The idea is to simply bring yourself. After giving me some pointers—to place a towel in easy reach, to use the foam neck pillow for added support, and most importantly, not to worry about time—he leaves. I shower, put in earplugs, and slip into the tank to start my first float.
Buoyancy. I feel physically lighter, and that translates also into light-heartedness. My mind reels to a time when I was swimming in the Mediterranean off the Cote d’Azur, the extra-salty sea made it so easy to relax and bob on the water’s surface—a memory that brings instant pleasure.
I focus on the breath. Occasionally I move my arms—stretching them over my head, then out to the sides. In a while, I can let them go limp. The wonder of this quiet! I am only aware of small splashing sounds as my toes or fingers touch the sides of tank in my drifting. And I drift.
Inwardly, I’m somewhere else when I hear soft flute music—it’s the signal that the end of my float is near. Minutes later I sense a flicker of light. I open my eyes to a tank of cool blue and I am back. Time to shower off, get dressed, and re-enter the outside world.
How do I feel? Calm. Recentered. Grateful. I checked out of the grind and gave myself the gift of nothingness. And nothing, they say, is everything.
Dissolved with 1000 pounds of Epsom salts (a natural disinfectant,) the water is highly sterile, filtered three times between each float, and sanitized with UV light.
To prepare: Don’t shave or wax prior. Eat lightly about an hour and a half before your float, and avoid caffeine. Remove your contact lenses. Smooth Vaseline over any cuts for protection. Wait two weeks after dyeing your hair, and four to six weeks after getting a tattoo.
Float More. Like most things in life, your floats become better with practice—you are able to get to the meditative Theta brainwave state more readily.
1012 Russell St., Ste 204, 615-490-8656; floathorizen.com