by Lea Kopke
Imagine a feeling of weightlessness, where the worries of the world are able to drift away and your body and mind are able to relax fully.
At Float Light in Appleton, guests are able to do just that inside private float suites or pods.
The tanks eliminate as many senses as possible by creating a precise, controlled environment where the Epsom salt water — dense enough to allow your body to float effortlessly — and air are heated to the same temperature as your skin so that your body loses its sense of gravity.
Guests are given the choice of music or silence, light or darkness and a number of different float periods (with the longest being an overnight stay).
They can also choose to use either a float pod, an egg-shaped tank which can be used with the top shell opened or closed, or a float suite, an 8.5 foot tall room with an 8 by 9 foot basin. Each is filled with only 10 inches of water.
Both suites offer additional amenities, including fresh linens, shower products and a private shower.
Jonathon Roug, a co-owner of Float Light alongside his wife Jessie, said it’s impossible to describe exactly what it feels like mentally and emotionally inside a tank, because each experience is so unique.
For most people, he said it’s like being in a waking dream or daydreaming.
“Imagine daydreaming actively while you’re in this tank suspended with no perception of anything,” he said. “The daydream becomes so vivid that (it) becomes the reality to the point where the image that you’re considering, or that you’re envisioning, becomes so here that you lose the sensation of even existing over here inside the tank and you become part of whatever it is you’re thinking about.”
After stepping out of the tank, people feel incredible and energized, many without former pains, and ready to take on the world.
“If you float at night, you’re not going to go to sleep at night,” Jonathon emphasized. “Like, this is like the type of, ‘I’m ready to go!’ type of energy.”
To add to the experience, Float Light also offers massage therapy as an additional service post-float.
Jonathon and Jessie got the idea to start their own float business in Wisconsin after having a negative float experience in Chicago years ago.
Jonathon said the two had a lot of criticisms of the facility, with one being the lack of communication from the staff.
“We weren’t really given any explanation of what this is,” he said. “Somebody was like, ‘Here’s your tank and, you know, go dive in.’”
Jonathon and Jessie set out to make their own facility with a procedure and process that could be replicated for each guest, allowing them to be educated about the services and amenities they’re getting.
First-time guests are given a rundown of what services they will receive, how they work and what benefits they may bring.
Jonathon said this method helps ease people’s anxieties before setting foot in their float tank so they can have the best possible experience.
Staff are given intensive training so they are prepared to educate, and Jonathon said his team is part of what makes the Float Light experience so special.
Rachel Porter and Daniel Martinez work as float guides and Rachelle Terrell and Megan Urbanek as massage therapists, with each bringing their own unique personalities and skills to the team.
“I know it’s different than probably most of the businesses, but people know us all by name,” Jonathon said. “They really do.”
Benefits of floating light
Float Light provides more than just a luxury spa experience (the business has dozens of five-star Google reviews and numerous Best of the Valley awards).
The floatation therapy it provides is used by many as a medical treatment for both mental and physical issues.
Float Light accepts payment through health savings accounts (HSA), flexible spending accounts (FSA) and some insurance plans.
Jonathon sees guests come in to treat fibromyalgia, arthritis, back pain and body pain in general.
For some people, float tanks can offer a transformable experience. People who struggle to walk can find themselves leaving the tank lighter and walking without pain.
“There’s a science behind that,” Jonathon said. “Like what’s actually happening in the tank is the reduction of the compression on the joints, but also the absorption of magnesium sulfate, or epsom salt, so that’s how the tank works.”
Guests also come to treat anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Justin Feinstein, a clinical neuropsychologist and researcher at a float lab in Tulsa, Oklahoma, found floatation therapy can help ease anxiety in a way that rivals some prescription drugs.
The treatment allows many users a shortcut to a state of meditation. According to the National Institutes of Health, meditation can lower blood pressure and ease symptoms of depression and anxiety.
In addition, Jonathon said guests simply going through periods of difficult times have found benefits in floating light to relieve stress.
Because more people are floating light than ever, this year Jonathon and Jessie began the process of expanding the business’s services.
One new offering unique to Northeast Wisconsin is the fire and ice service, based loosely around the Wim Hof method.
Two, luxurious water tanks sit next to each other in a private suite. One is kept warm, at about 105 degrees and the other cold, at about 43 degrees.
Guests can jump between each one to invigorate their immune systems.
“It’s similar to … you know, when I was younger, I’d go to a hotel with my family and I’d go from the hot tub to the pool,” Jonathon said. “And what that feeling you get is like, it invigorates the senses, but it turns out there’s science behind it. It’s actually good.”
The suite also features a sauna that doubles as a Finnish (hot rocks) and infrared sauna.
Another new feature is a salt cave, which blasts pulverized air into a suite as a form of halotherapy.
The suite can be used either as a private service room or a lounge space for the spa’s members.
Float Light has also added a fourth float tank and a second massage suite.
In the future, Jonathon said Float Light may expand again and even build additional locations, headed by other people passionate about the benefits of floating light.
As a board member for the Floatation Tank Association, Jonathon is one of the leading minds in the field and is continually learning more about float tanks and their benefits.
“We’ve been passionate members and players in our industry,” he said. “And we care about this experience, I think, like none other.”
Learn more at Facebook.com/floatlight. n
609 W College Ave. Appleton
920-363-0100 • [email protected]
Book online at floatlight.floathelm.com