CEDAR FALLS — Early last year, Morgan Schoof floated an idea.
What if she could provide a place where stress and anxiety could be relaxed away, a place where people would be weighed down by nothing — not even gravity?
In late November, that idea was realized with the opening of Transcend Mind-Body Wellness & Floatation Clinic on Washington Street in Cedar Falls.
Transcend is the home of the Cedar Valley’s first float tank, which allows users a gravity-free, soothing experience.
“It’s meant to be a time to have complete relaxation,” said Schoof, who co-owns the business with her mother, Paula Schoof.
The float tank is 4 feet wide, 8 feet long and 7 feet tall. Clients enter the tank and close the door to relax in 10.5 inches of water, warmed to 95.5 F degrees, “a skin-receptor neutral” temperature, Schoof said.
Buoyancy is achieved with the 1,200 pounds of Epsom salt added to the tank. Epsom salt is a magnesium sulfate compound long associated with healing properties. Soaking in it in a float tank is known as flotation restricted environmental stimulation therapy, or REST.
Transcend offers 60- and 90-minute REST sessions. A swimsuit is optional, and clients can choose soothing music and mood lighting in the tank, or go for a complete quiet, dark, sensory deprivation experience.
“At the beginning (of a session) your mind is busy, but you transition into a state of quiet and calm,” Schoof said.
Between clients, the water is disinfected and sanitized with a system compliant with regulations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Tracy Mudd of Cedar Falls has had two float sessions since Transcend opened.
“When I got in the first time I was nervous, unsure what to expect,” she said. “I very seldom take time to spend in complete relaxation and shut off my mind. In there I feel completely relaxed.”
A study published in the journal Psychology & Health showed flotation therapy is effective as a stress-management tool, with positive effects on physiology (lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and lower blood pressure), well-being and performance.
A number of professional athletes tout the benefits of flotation therapy. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has a tank in his home, according to NCB Sports, and NBA superstar Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors books a float session every two weeks to relieve mind and muscle tension, reports Business Insider.
Studies also show flotation therapy can be used to help treat patients with chronic pain.
“We have a client who injured his back and comes weekly,” Schoof said.
At the core of Transcend is Schoof’s holistic approach to wellness. A graduate of Allen College, she’s a psychiatric nurse practitioner who has “always had a passion for functional medicine,” she said.
Shoof plans to add a second float tank to her business in March, and eventually would like to have a massage therapist on staff. She also provides life coaching and counseling, and offers a selection of natural health and beauty products and apparel.