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Becoming buoyant: I tried the sensory-deprivation float at Gravity Spa

Upon entering the Gravity Spa in Beavercreek, you immediately get the sense you’re in a place of relaxation -- and not just because of the comical sign in the window asking for quietness. 

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You’ll see aquatic-inspired artwork, hear soothing instrumental music, and smell a faint scent of essential oils. The employees are either barefoot or in socks, greeting their regulars with a hug and piping-hot cup of tea.

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The most surprising thing to me about Gravity Spa was their focus on military members. In the lobby, I noticed a veteran wearing a jacket signifying their retirement from duty. I then noticed signs encouraging veterans to join a private online group providing support to veteran floaters. There was a collection jar for funds supporting veterans’ financial ability to float, and I overheard military discounts offered upon checkout. Even spouses got a discount. It was intriguing and touching how involved the Gravity Spa seemed to be with its community. As the daughter of a combat veteran, I felt an immediate urge to text my mom and tell her about what I was seeing -- maybe they could help her, too. 

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For starters, the flotation tank is a large vat filled with 1,000 lbs. of Epsom salt and just under a foot of 93.5-degree water.

I spoke with the owner of Gravity Spa, Melony Wimer, to get a better understanding of how it worked.

After we chatted, Wimer showed me the shower supplies available to all pre- and post-float. Since they use germicidal UV lights, as well as natural cleansers, they insist each guest remove all traces of products from their skin and hair, as to not leave behind residue in the tank. 

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Having just left work, I had a face of makeup and hair full of product, so I quickly cleansed myself with a pre-float solution (which Wimer informed me was simply Dr. Bronner’s baby soap). Once clean, I hopped in the tank and closed the door. In complete darkness, I floated there for over an hour in silence. Since a large amount of the brain is used to deal with the effects of gravity, the lack of processing allowed for an almost euphoric feeling -- much like you feel just before you fall asleep. I had read on their website about the ability to enter a deep meditative state, but I didn’t quite make it there myself. 

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During the float, my brain teetered between complete relaxation and anxiousness. I’m a mother of two kids under three, who’s moving into a new home, planning a wedding, and constantly involved in technology and communication. As this may suggest, I rarely stop. I struggled to quiet my thoughts and “embrace the void.” It reminded me a lot of what Uma Mullapudi explained to me in our chat about meditation -- it can be very challenging to “shut off,” and it wasn’t until I experienced it myself that I realized how true this was. 

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Physically, I could feel certain areas of my back and neck becoming less tense -- even cracking gently as I moved peacefully in the water. After I left and went about my day, I noted more stamina during my evening workout, a better night’s sleep, and no soreness in my arms this morning (it’s been a while since I’ve picked up free weights). Overall, this was an experience I would like try again, and would recommend it to anyone suffering from anxiety, stress or physical tension.

Want to go?

WHAT: Gravity Spa

WHERE: 1905 Woods Dr.

HOURS: Monday - Sunday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

INFO: www.gravityspa.com or 937-696-9595

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