January 2008

Inner Vision Float Center

Author: Linda Hopkins

Make the World Go Away!

“Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care? If so I can’t imagine why. We’ve all got time to die.”—Chicago

The lyrics to the classic tune resonated in Ron Burd’s mind when his best friend died of cancer at age 40. That’s when the Chicago commodities trader realized it was time to “clock out,” leaving behind the hectic pace of the trading floor to slow down and enjoy life’s journey.

After years vacationing on Hilton Head Island, Burd and his wife, Linda, decided to make it a permanent home. Residents since 1998, they recently opened Inner Vision Float Center, the first flotation therapy facility in South Carolina, offering area residents and visitors a chance to get off the treadmill of time and leave the weight of the world behind.

Burd discovered the benefits of floating fifteen years ago when seeking relief from chronic back pain. By establishing a float center on Hilton Head Island, his aim is to share this amazing therapy with the surrounding communities, eventually expanding it to a turnkey franchise. His goal is not to compete with, but to augment other health care givers. “My passion is bringing the myriad benefits to the American public,” he said.

An invitation to float
As a natural-born, self-confessed, classic Type A personality, I can tell you that the “R” word does not exist in my vocabulary. I laugh in the face of anyone who tells me to “just relax.” Try as I might, my inner alarm clock is always set to a deadline—someone else’s or my own—a constant “cuckoo,” atomically synchronized and permanently charged, popping out of his little house in my head to remind me of my daily race against time. When I was invited to try flotation therapy, known for its ability to put people like me into a state of deep relaxation, naturally, I was skeptical.

I arrived in my usual end-of-the-day, adrenalin driven, frazzled condition. With a “can’t hurt, might help” attitude, after a brief orientation, Burd, assured me I would be a different person in an hour.

Showering first, I plodded across to my private flotation room in a plush robe and slippers provided by the center. While floaters have the option of wearing a swimsuit, I chose to shed my inhibitions along with my watch, taking the plunge in the buff. Knowing that no one was watching, just the realization that I didn’t need to suck in my stomach or worry about my hair was enough to jumpstart my journey to oblivion.

Slipping into the pool of warm, silky, salt-saturated water, free of gravity, instantly light as a feather, I laid back and bobbed to the surface like a cork. (The shallow flotation pool contains about 10 inches of water, heated to body temperature, and 800 pounds of Epsom salts, which have the combined benefit of detoxifying the body and enabling effortless flotation.)

For the next hour, my world was reduced to an eight-by-eight-by-four-foot room. Given the option of soothing music or the sound of silence, I chose a melodious float. I also chose to shut out the light and enjoy the visual void. For now, nothing existed save the slow, rhythmic beat of my heart. As I began to breathe more deeply, the tensions of the day melted away. For the first time in my life, I literally lost all sense of time until the water began to stir, signaling the end of my session.

Did it work? Pulling myself out of the tank, I was miraculously mellow. After a warm shower, my skin felt amazingly soft. Dressing and returning to the lounge area, I sipped a cup of hot tea, reorienting myself to reality. That night, I slept better than I had in months, and the next day, the usual knots in my shoulders and kinks in my neck were gone. The effects are said to be cumulative, so you can bet I’ll be floating again soon.

Visit Inner Vision Float Center and experience the most effective all-natural stress relief available. Open Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m. and Sun. 1-4:30 p.m., call 843-682-4400 for an appointment or more information. Be sure to ask about corporate rates, packages and gift certificates.

Why float?
Discovered in 1954 by Dr. John C. Lilly, an American neuro-physiologist and psychoanalyst, flotation therapy has been proven appropriate for just about everybody, with a broad range of effective uses. The benefits are well-documented: Blood pressure and heart rate drop and oxygen intake improves, giving the floater a renewed sense of energy and calm. Here are a few reasons why you might go for a float:

• Stress reduction/anxiety relief: Shutting out all external stimuli, endorphins are produced which reduce stress hormones and relax you on a cellular level. Studies indicate that forty minutes of flotation is equivalent to eight hours of sleep.

• Pain management: Simulating zero gravity, chronic pain goes away when you are totally supported by water.

• Weight reduction/overcoming addictions: By bathing yourself in natural endorphins, the neurochemicals called the body’s own opiates, you can curb your desire to overeat or use drugs or alcohol.

• Creativity boost: Floating allows you to shut down the analytical left side of the brain and open up the more intuitive right side. Alert, but relaxed, problems that normally seem too complicated to tackle are suddenly solvable.

• Rapid recovery/enhanced sports performance: Recover rapidly from activity or sports related fatigue and soreness. Use your float time as a visualization tool to improve your skills and enhance performance.

To learn more about the history and benefits of floating, visit www.floataway.com or check out The Book of Floating, by Michael Hutchinson and Lee Perry, or simply call Inner Vision Float Center and see for yourself.

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