GIVE THESE ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES A WHIRL. BY TAMMY LA GORCE
how do you spell relief?
;;; ;;;;;;; ;;;;;; Stranger Things did not do much for
the reputation of sensory-deprivation tanks. On that show, a
young girl with ESP is forcibly plunged into a tank to deepen
her powers. But what actually happens in sensory depriva-
tion tanks, which also go by the name float pods, is
much the opposite, as I found on a recent visit to
Serene Dreams Flotation Therapy Center
Here, after an hour floating in a giant, white-lidded tub that
looks a little like an albino hippopotamus with its mouth open,
you are likely to emerge utterly powerless—but in the best possible way. Daniel Serecka, a co-owner of the float studio—one
of several in New Jersey—espouses the physical benefits of a
one-hour session, which costs $75.
“Athletes love it for relieving sore muscles and joints,” says
Serecka. “And it helps detoxify you.”
But it doesn’t just relieve burdened bodies. A dip into de-
privation, even for those who don’t su;er physical pain, feels
revelatory, or at least it did for me.
After a five-minute introductory spiel, I was shown to one of
Serene Dreams’ three pods, each in a private room. Here, I was
left to figure out how much or how little I wanted to deprive
myself. Clothing—in the form of a bathing suit—is optional.
If you’re claustrophobic, you don’t have to close the hippo-mouth lid all the way, or even lower it at all. If you are afraid
of the dark, you can keep your eyes open and train them on an
optional, colored-light sequence that turns on and o; with the
press of a button. If you prefer to hear something other than
the cave-like sounds of your body, you can load your iPod with a
favorite audio program. One Serene Dream client uses foreign-language tutorials.
“He comes here and listens because there’s nothing
else to distract him in there,” says Serecka. “It helps
him focus on learning the language.”
When hobbled by stress, your sister reaches for red wine. Your boss swears by acupuncture for her back pain. And your best friend turns into a hot-yoga junkie when she gets the blues.
But as someone who has tried—and failed—to find your
own path to stress relief, you’re starting to wonder: Am I beyond help?
Here is what you should do: Go deeper.
New Jersey, you see, is teeming with healers. We wound-up New Jerseyans are never more than a exercise-ball toss
away from an alternative therapist. Yes, they practice outside the world of medical credentials and clinical trials, but
many have followers who swear they are getting results.
So why not you? Below, an exploration of six alternative
therapies aimed at refueling a sense of well-being among
those of us frazzled, made frantic or otherwise flattened by
life in New Jersey. One of them might soothe you, too.