BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- A growing alternative therapy for pain management and anxiety is keeping it simple.
All floating or flotation therapy requires is salt water and the dark.
The technique is popular on the West Coast, and is gaining momentum here in Western New York. There’s a flotation spa in Williamsville, but ‘The Flo’ in Allentown is the first of its kind in Buffalo.
It opened this fall, and frequent client Vincent Raphael swears by it.
“I just feel better. You know, you float in the tank, and you come out, and you really… it’s a cliche, but you feel like a million bucks,” Raphael told News 4.
He credits that amazing feeling to The Flo’s saltwater
“I’m an Arthritis and Gout sufferer. Gout is a form of Arthritis, so it pulls out the build-up of uric acid in my body, which is one of the causes of Gout,” he said.
Floating therapy is often used as an alternative therapy to manage pain, but it’s also used for anxiety, PTSD symptoms, or a way to sooth muscles after an intense workout.
“It’s not like in a bed where your back would end up being sore and you’d have to flip over, you have no pressure points in there,” said Sam Galbo, co-owner of The Flo.
That lack of pressure is thanks to 1,300 pounds of Epsom salt.
The high salt content lifts toxins from your body, and the darkness of the tank helps to relieve anxiety through sensory deprivation; after about 40 minutes of it, your body gets into a deep meditative state.
The session can last for 60 or 90 minutes, and starts at $55.
Anyone over age 18 can take part, except individuals with Epilepsy, as the sensory deprivation can trigger seizures.
Galbo co-owners The Flo with Joe Fambo.
Fambo told News 4 floating therapy is part of an overall shift in how people view wellness.
“It seems like that’s the direction a lot of people’s lives are going. People are juicing nowadays, going to yoga, it’s just nice to have an alternative to Western medicine nowadays,” Fambo told News 4.
Galbo said some local chiropractors have encouraged patients to visit The Flo for alternative treatment to ease back pain and tension, but it’s not widely prescribed by doctors in New York.
Floating therapy is currently unregulated, but Fambo told News 4 the growing interest in the therapy could force lawmakers to take notice.
“With more float centers popping up in New York, it seems like they’re going to have to deal with it at some point,” he said.