Flotstone Provides Relaxation Through Floating
Photo credit Flotstone
Flotstone, in Lake Bluff, is quickly gaining a reputation as a leading-edge float center and spa. Started by Susie McMurray and her son Patrick in 2018, Flotstone is a place for people to relax, rejuvenate and recalibrate from the stressors of their everyday lives. “Floating is a gentle, holistic way to improve your health and to advance or spark a meditative practice,” says Susie.
Although people use floating for a variety of reasons, one of the most immediate benefits is that flotation therapy allows the body to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. “We are constantly being bombarded by stimuli from technology, the environment and perpetual obligations. The constant distractions prevent us from being fully mindful and present, and that can result in the body falling into a state of fight-or-flight. The float will restore your body to the parasympathetic, or rest, digest and heal. With no interruptions, the body begins to release the neurochemicals that correspond with joy. It prompts you to be at one with yourself and your own consciousness,” says Patrick.
Once it’s fully relaxed, the body is able to heal itself. Floating has been proven to reduce the symptoms of conditions such as chronic pain, depression, anxiety and fatigue, and help increase circulation, endorphins and creativity. It’s also been shown to decrease the production of cortisol and lactic acid, allowing for faster recovery time.
Susie points out, “Many professional athletes have incorporated floating into their training regimens, and teams are installing float tanks in their training facilities because of the incredible improvements they have seen in their athletes’ performance. Floating before a game can help an athlete relax and visualize a successful performance, and floating after a game can aid in recovery.”
The McMurrays’ interest in floating came from personal experience. “I was shifting gears professionally, which led to a focus on more self-care, spirituality, healing and meditation. I found floating to be an important catalyst for transformation,” says Patrick. They traveled to conferences and conventions with extensive research into the equipment and systems necessary to set up a center of their own. He notes, “What we now have to offer is a high-end luxury float center where customers can thoroughly relax and rest, and connect to a deeper part of themselves.”
Flotstone is designed to be fully welcoming and tranquil. Each of the three private luxury float suites has its own soundproof and lightproof suite with a private shower, towels, robes and other essentials. After showering, customers float effortlessly in the shallow pool filled with an Epsom salt-rich solution. “The air and water are kept at 94.5 degrees, which is skin-receptor neutral, and creates no cues for the skin to report tactile stimulation, so the body can fully relax,” says Patrick. After the float is done, customers shower off any residual salt and may further relax, journal, read, draw or meditate in the lounge area with a complimentary cup of tea.
Flotstone is committed to maintaining a pristine environment, and maintains precision water chemistry and sanitation protocols. “Each tank has its own sanitation unit. The water is first pumped though a one micron filter, then gets dosed simultaneously with 50 to 100 parts per million of hydrogen peroxide and ozone, then feeds through a high-intensity ultraviolet lamp. The pumps run three to four cycles in-between every float, which prohibits contamination. We insist that the quality of the water is equivalent to drinking water, far exceeding the standards for pools or hot tubs,” says Patrick.
In addition to the float tanks, Flotstone is equipped with a full-spectrum sauna providing infrared light as gentle, soothing and therapeutic heat. Patrick explains, “The sauna increases blood plasma movement, can stimulate collagen production, decreases pain and muscle spasms and helps oxygenate the body’s cells. This improves circulation and helps jumpstart detoxification through sweating, which is one of the most efficient ways for the body to detoxify.”
Flotstone offers 60- and 90-minute float sessions to accommodate clients’ schedules. Customers can purchase individual float sessions, multi-float packages, single sauna visits, or sauna and float combinations. “Floating has cumulative benefits, so the more you do it, the easier it gets for the body to respond, instead of react, to stimuli. Over time, people find they’re more intuitive, in a better vibrational sequence and more in tune with their heart consciousness,” says Patrick.
The McMurrays have found that floating has had ripple effects in the community as a whole. Susie shares, “After a float, people are generally nicer, more peaceful and the best version of themselves. This contributes to the greater energy in the community. We are very fortunate to be able to connect with people who pursue healthy, conscious and balanced lives.”
Carrie Jackson is an Evanston-based writer and frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine. Connect at CarrieJacksonWrites.com.