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 Natural Awakenings Lancaster-Berks

Bala Float Center : Encouraging Relaxation of Body and Mind

Mar 29, 2018 02:39PM ● By Gisele Rinaldi Siebold

The gift of a calm, peaceful place to retreat from life’s daily stressors meets guests as they walk through the door of Bala Float Center, Lancaster’s first and only float center. The lobby gathering place affords clients a space to take a breath and leave stress behind, with natural lighting, live plants, orchid floral decor and handcrafted furniture made by owner Chris Smeltz. This initial greeting is just the beginning of a worthwhile experience in deep relaxation. 


With ample time to prepare for floating, clients are invited to enter their own large, private float room, where they shower thoroughly prior to entering the floatation therapy room itself. During the 60-minute session, clients have complete control of the environment, including the music therapy and soft lighting, where they float in body-temperature water containing 1,000 pounds of dissolved Epsom salts that suspend the body effortlessly. 


The dense solution creates the effect of near-zero gravity. Every muscle in the body gradually relieves its functional tensions, easing internal organs, bones and bodily systems into a state of complete rest. 


Floatation therapy is a proven holistic health treatment, backed by decades of scientific research, begun in the 1950s by Dr. John C. Lily and Dr. Jay Shurley. Floating naturally moves the body into homeostasis, which occurs when body systems are balanced and at rest, allowing it to heal at the cellular level. Brainwave patterns relax into the theta brainwave state, where deep relaxation occurs that is beneficial to health and well-being. 


The mental benefits of floating include a heightened sense of creativity, improved mental clarity, enhanced alertness, increased endorphin production and accelerated learning and problem solving. In addition, floating physically benefits the body by reducing swelling, inflammation and joint pain, lowering blood pressure, increasing circulation, promoting detoxification and improving athletic performance.  


These benefits can last up to a week after a session. Removed from the constant influx of external stimuli and the need to fight gravity, a lightness of being is experienced that brings a sense of calm grounding and a feeling of happiness. Clinical neuropsychologist Justin Feinstein and his team of researchers at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, are currently completing clinical trials specifically for PTSD, anxiety and depression. 


Floating can be active or passive, and Smeltz explains the difference. “In passive relaxation floating, you simply float and clear your mind,” he says. “In active floating, you may perform meditation, mantras, self-hypnosis or use audio uploads for learning a new language, memorizing a speech or preparing for an exam. When the body is relaxed, the mind becomes highly suggestible, and any action taken during these states will enter the information into the subconscious.”  


Smeltz suggests that the deep state of relaxation brought by floating also helps clients to clearly visualize future goals and achievements such as improving a golf game or obtaining greater business success. “When the mind is clear and the ‘fight or flight’ response modern society tends to generate is removed, we open ourselves up for deeper meditation, prayer, self-reflection, sudden insights and inspirations, daily problem solving and the opportunity to change destructive thought patterns.”  


According to Smeltz, floating is a well-deserved gift to ourselves, with beneficial ripple effects. “Once people experience their stress and tension melt away as they float effortlessly in a quiet, peaceful setting, they have a renewed sense of energy and balance,” he describes. “This experience motivates people to increase self-care and implement changes to alleviate stress, creating a positive ripple effect on friends, family members and colleagues.  


Bala Float Center is located at 903 Nissley Rd., Unit H, in Lancaster. Single-session and membership pricing is available. For more information or to make an appointment, call 717-537-6955 or visit 

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