Sensory-depriving flotation therapy gaining popularity

- Eugene Kim is a first year medical student at the University of South Florida. From books to computers, it's safe to say his path to a medical doctor degree is filled with enlightenment. However, he feels most at home in the dark.

Multiple times a week, Eugene climbs into a sensory deprivation chamber at Sacred Floats and Gems in Tampa. The tank is seven feet long and filled with super-saturated salt, making him float effortlessly. There is nothing to touch and no sound, light, or smell while his body is floating. He says it creates a distraction-free zone where his mind can escape.

"I get to go in there for an hour and it's like I have a two hour-brain storm session about an idea that is bugging me. Or maybe I need to study for a medical school exam and I can run through these facts in my brain while I'm floating," Kim described.

Memi Rodriguez has worked at Sacred Floats and Gems for about four months. She said the 150-gallon tanks are filled with 1,000 pounds of magnesium salt-mixed with water. Rodriguez said the main goal is to calm all the senses and focus the mind.

"It really helps you focus in on what you need to take care of, and when you get out, you feel so rejuvenated and energized. You feel like you've had so much rest," she explained.

Clients range in age from 14 to 75 and business is expanding. Some regular floaters include athletes, artists, and students.

"The word is getting out there and a lot of people are attracted to this new type of therapy," said Rodriguez.

Meanwhile, Kim shares his experience with others any chance he gets.

"I try to bring as many of my friends here as I can. It's nice because it's not like someone guides you through the experience, it's not like someone gives you a pill. You just get to connect back into yourself," Kim explained.

A one-hour float costs $50 and a 90 minute float is $75. For the experienced floater, a two hour session will cost $90.

For more information about flotation therapy at Sacred Floats and Gems, visit http://sfgcompany.com/.

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