The Most Relaxing Place on Earth
Aug 03, 2016 11:49PM
● By Kate Morgan
Dissolve Float Spa owner Michael Heiter’s first float came after a 12-hour day in the operating room. After seven years in the military, he went to work in pharmaceuticals and biotech, often spending long days on his feet in hospitals. “I’d heard of floating through a comedian, Joe Rogan, who’s a huge proponent of floating,” Heiter says. “He talks about it all the time on his podcast. So more than two years ago after a 12-hour day in the OR, I decided to go try it. Halfway through, I started giggling; I just got this huge endorphin dump. I was like, ‘What is this magic that’s happening here?’ It was the most relaxed I’d ever been in my entire life.”
Heiter was hooked on floating, a practice gaining popularity across the country. Floaters enter a tank or pod of water packed with pharmaceutical-grade Epsom salts. The increased salinity level means it’s impossible to sink, and the water is heated to match the floater’s body temperature.
“For most people the external temperature of the skin is between 93 and 94 degrees,” Heiter says. “So once you’re in there and you close the lid, your body, the solution and the air is all the same temperature. If you turn the lights out, you lose track of where your body is, which is the point. You feel like you’re floating in outer space. It’s essentially a vehicle of meditation.”
Proponents say floating calms anxiety, promotes creativity and relieves joint and nerve pain. It’s also been shown to cause a release of endorphins; in short, floating makes you happy. “After that first float, I drove home like two hours and had this stupid smile on my face,” Heiter says. “My wife was like, ‘What is wrong with you?’”
Soon after his initial experience, Heiter decided he needed to share his experience with others and began planning to open his own float spa. “I’ve been an entrepreneur on the side for like a decade,” he says. “We have a small farm, and for a while I’d wanted to open another business, something that could help people and was good for the community, but couldn’t figure out what that thing was. It was like an epiphany. I told my wife, ‘I figured it out; this is what we’re going to do.’”
The first thing Heiter needed was the perfect location, and he found it in a former Masonic lodge in Camp Hill. “I wanted a standalone building, because you want it to be quiet,” he says. I looked for over six months and I finally found it. It’s built like a fortress; there’s not a single window in the whole place and the walls are 18 inches of brick, mortar and concrete.”
Now in its third month of operation, Heiter says Dissolve Float Spa has been embraced by the community. “I think Camp Hill in particular is a fantastic area for something like this,” he says. “There’s a lot of consciousness in alternative well-being. In 2016, people are so plugged in 24/7 they need the escape that floating provides.”
Heiter set out to help people and says the stories he hears from his clients are the most rewarding aspect of his hard work. “On day two we had a woman in tears,” he says. “She has arthritis and said it was the first time she was pain-free in 15 years. Another woman came in who had major back surgery and has had chronic pain ever since. After her float, she sent me an email saying, ‘I am still pain-free three days later.’ It just validates my original vision and why I wanted to do this.”
Dissolve Float Spa is located at 2211 Market St., in Camp Hill. For more information, including pricing and membership packages, call 717-730-0600 or visit DissolveFloat.com.
Kate Morgan is a frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine.