Do nothing for an hour and learn about yourself
On a Friday afternoon, at the end of a long, stressful work week, I drove out to 20th Street in Metairie, right off Causeway Boulevard, and discovered what will likely soon be my end-of-week decompressing ritual in half of a small house: NOLA Float Tanks (NolaFloatTanks.com).
I had experienced a float tank (what can also be called a sensory deprivation or isolation tank) once before in a ritzy spa in Cape Town, South Africa. Their tank seemed small, with multi-colored lights that gradually disappeared and then reappeared when my time was up. I had some trouble relaxing and it took me a while to be ready to close the door to the tank.
At Nola Float Tanks, everything is provided for you. You can make an appointment for anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours long on their website or by calling, and pay the reasonable prices (less than a massage) directly through the site. There are two showers, one for each tank room, where you shower off before and after your session. (Note: Don’t float if you have a cut or sore, and don’t get the water in your eyes – it will sting, badly.) Each tank room is private, and towels and disposable earplugs are offered. When your time is over, the water around you begins to bubble, helping to ease you back into the world.
Owner Spencer Fossier, 24, was driving to Houston to use the closest float tanks offered all the time, so he decided to open his own. Two tanks area available, one at skin temperature and one a little cooler for people who tend to overheat (which might be lovely during our hot summers). Each tank is filled with 850 pounds of Epsom salt in 200 gallons of water, which is fully filtered seven times between each float. Fossier also offers speaker systems inside the tanks so that you can plug in your phone and play whatever you’d like – such as music or guided meditations.
Once you’re floating weightless in skin-temperature water saturated with Epsom salt, the resulting deep relaxation – usually between 30 and 45 minutes into your float – causes your brainwaves to gradually transition from beta (wide-awake and alert) to theta (that between waking and sleeping state) – and your skin won’t wrinkle. The benefits of a one-hour session have been shown to relieve stress, reduce blood pressure, ease joint and muscle pain and enhance your mood.
This time I put in the earplugs, closed the tank immediately upon getting in, put a washcloth over my eyes and concentrated on the meditation music on which I had decided. After a few moments I was completely relaxed; a few times I started to think that being alone with my brain, just me and the meditation music, was going to be too much, but then I’d relax again and just float.
I enjoyed my hour and can’t wait to schedule another appointment, as with each hour spent floating away is an hour unplugged from all of the stress, inputs and media that fills my days, which means I can start fresh with new ideas and inspirations.
A HOW-TO FOR THE MONTH
Safeguarding Animal Vision
524 Moss St., 483-8704, EyeCareCenterForAnimals.com
This summer the Eye Center for Animals in New Orleans is encouraging pet owners to be vigilant for signs of cataracts in their animals’ eyes. For more than 20 years board-certified ophthalmologist and DVM Paul da Costa, owner of the Eye Center for Animals, has been advising pet owners and reuniting them with their sighted pets. His practice encourages pet owners to ask their veterinarians if their animals need a referral for cataract surgery. The center stresses that with cataract removal surgery there’s a window of opportunity for the pet to have the most successful outcome for vision restoration. After a certain point that window may close, so it’s important to understand your animal’s condition and the options available to safeguard their vision as much as possible.
– Mirella Cameran
Young’s Dry Cleaning’s Locker System
905 Harrison Ave., 872-0931; 6227 S. Claiborne Ave., 866-5371; YoungsDryCleaning.com
The third generation, family-run Young’s Dry Cleaning is expanding its innovative advanced locker system, which allows customers to place and pick up their orders at convenient metro locations. Customers communicate with the Young’s Express team via email or smart phone or night. There are already 10 lockers available in the downtown area; a new one launched in the Pan American Life building on Poydras Street in June and more are planned.
– Mirella Cameran