HOW THIS FLOATATION THERAPY SPA, THE FIRST AND ONLY ON THE ISLAND, HARNESSES THE POWER OF STILLNESS TO FOSTER TOTAL WELLNESS TRANSFORMATION
BY AMANDA McCOY • PHOTOS BY AMANDA DOMENECH
It only took 60 minutes for Jennifer Bane and Norma Lee to realize their wellness call to action. The mother and daughter duo had just experienced their first floatation therapy sessions at a spa across the bridge in New Jersey, and they felt immediately compelled to bring the salubrious concept to the Island.
The practice of flotation therapy, also known as Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy (fittingly abbreviated REST), has picked up steam over the last several years, but its origins date back nearly seven decades. In 1954, neuroscientist Dr. John C. Lilly developed float tanks to study the effects of sensory deprivation on the brain, and the first commercially available tank hit the market in the early ‘70s.
At Heaven Lee, the float tanks are filled with ten and a half inches of water that’s been heated to 93.5 degrees (the same temperature as the skin) and saturated with 900 pounds of medical grade Epsom salts. Floaters are instructed to put in earplugs, rinse off in the shower, and then enclose themselves in the tank for either a 60 or 90 minute session. The lights are on a timer, and while there is a light inside the tank, the owners recommend experiencing the sensation in total darkness. The high concentration of salt guarantees the body will float without any effort; some people even fall asleep.
“After a few minutes your body goes into the ultimate state of relaxation,” added Bane.
But the experience, HeavenLee’s owners explained, extend far beyond sweeping relaxation; by eliminating external stimuli including light, sound, and even touch, as the mineral enriched body temperature water makes floaters feel weightless the brain is able to completely shut off, equating to seven hours of uninterrupted meditation. It also offers a myriad of physical benefits.
“It’s like taking all the magnesium supplements for the month. It strengthens your bones, combats anxiety and depression, helps with physical pain, calms your nervous system, and more. When I come out of the pod, my feet feel light, and my physical ailments in my neck and shoulders are gone. It’s popular with athletes. Tom Brady has a float pod.”
In addition to the float tanks, the spa also has an infrared sauna that heats up to 152 degrees, two salt rooms (known as Halotherapy), and a crystal bed.
“Some things in life have no words,” the co-owner said of the crystal bed. “Everybody has their own experience. I don’t tell anyone what they are going to feel or what they are going to achieve. Oftentimes in life we feel like we are stuck in quicksand, trying to get our heads above water, and the crystal bed moves you forward. It uses seven quartz crystals, and each one aligns to one of your energy meridians, aka your chakras. This light energy stays within your system for 72 hours and longer.”
Heaven Lee also carries a panoply of all natural, restorative products, including salt lamps, eco-friendly shampoos, conditioners, and body oils.
“In Staten Island, we live in a rat race,” concluded Bane, a full time mom who also owns and operates a specialty grocery store in New Jersey and has been a personal trainer for 23 years. “We opened as a gift to our community. People walk in and ask if they can live here [laughs]. You feel the energy, the calmness, the peacefulness. We live in a chaotic world and when you come here, you find peace. People are looking for health answers. I believe that all the answers lie within yourself. When you say yes to your healing, healing will come.”
Heaven Lee Float Spa
236 Richmond Valley Road / 929.624.2227 / heavenleefloatspa.com