Imagine this: you leave the craziness of your day and — instead of heading for a massage — you slip into a warm float pod filled with muscle-melting magnesium salts and meditate near gravity-free. Afterward, you wrap up in a towel for a therapeutic sweat in a private infrared sauna, then finish off with a few minutes of cryotherapy to super-power your nervous system and crush any aches and pains.
That’s the experience at Pause Studio, and if, like most of us these days, your nervous system is shot and your senses are at max. capacity, this therapeutic sequence is a dream come true.
If you’ve tried cryo, infrared and float therapy before, you know what we’re talking about. But, if you have no idea what we’re talking about right now, we get that too.
Jeff Ono is the co-founder of Pause, the experiential wellness studios here in L.A. that offer float therapy, infrared sauna therapy, cryo, IV vitamin therapy and more. We asked him to chat with us about the benefits of these timely therapies for us in plain English…
The Founder of Pause Studio On The Benefits of Float Therapy
The Chalkboard: Jeff, for those who are totally uninitiated and have never climbed into a float pod, would you break down the benefits of the therapy?
Jeff Ono: When floating, there are three main components at work: magnesium, sensory depravation and floating near gravity free. Each one enhances the benefits of the others and all support one’s mental and physical state…
Let’s start with the 1200+ lbs of magnesium sulfate. Magnesium sulfate, an essential mineral that most of us are deficient in, supports the cardiovascular system, combats fatigue, positively affects bone mineral balance, relaxes muscles and helps promote ATP production.
Epsom salt baths are commonly used by athletes to promote muscle recovery and millions of others use it to stimulate relaxation. A typical Epsom bath contains just a cup or two of Epsom salts, but when floating you are basking in over 1200 lbs!
The next property at work is the near gravity-free environment that is created when you mix the requisite amount of water with the Epsom salt. When you lay back in the water you effortlessly eliminate the constant pressure of gravity on your body. Every inch of your body receives the benefits of full circulation. Your joints, tendons, ligaments unwind and relax. Your spine relaxes and expands and nutrients are delivered via unencumbered circulation.
The third component of this therapy is the sensory-deprived environment that is created when floating. We are bombarded with constant distractions and rarely disconnect from life to tune into our bodies. When floating you are basically forcing your mind and body to stop processing external stimuli. This often leads to a deep state of rest, a deep meditation. When this occurs, the stress hormones stop being produced and feel-good endorphins are stimulated. In this place of true rest, your mind and body are able to focus on areas of need and this can lead to elevated mood, reduction of anxiety, increased creativity, better sleep, brain optimization and more.
I’m sharing some health benefit studies at the end of our interview below. We are also kicking off our own study with UCLA Neuroscience soon!
TCM: Your water quality inside the pods at Pause is really interesting. Talk to us about that?
JO: The water in our pods is cleaner than any swimming pool you’ve ever been in. The purification systems on our float tanks are the most advanced available.
After each float, the water is recirculated through our filtration system three times. There are four core processes that keep our water clean.
01. The filtration system is able to filter particles from the water to 1 micron in size and are FDA compliant for drinking water (Class 1 Filtration). By comparison, standard pool and spa filter cartridges filter to 20-30 microns.
02. The water is blasted with ozone each time the water is filtered. Ozone transforms dirty water to drinking and water and it is 50 times more powerful then chlorine, while also killing bacteria 3,000 times faster. Ozone eliminates bacteria, mold and yeast, as well as organic material and viruses.
03. The water is also with UV light during the filtration process. UV works to purify by damaging cellular DNA. When anything undesirable in the pod meets these purifying rays, they are killed.
And remember, there is a reason why the Dead Sea has it’s name. — salt is an extremely hostile environment for any living organism. It has been shown in scientific literature that pathogenic microorganism cannot survive in concentrations higher than 10% salt and the concentration in our float pods solution is approximately 25% salt.
TCM: What really turned you on to this business and therapy personally?
JO: As a former executive in the health and fitness industry and former athlete, I had heard of flotation therapy and the myriad of benefits, however I never felt compelled to try it. In 2014, I felt that I had balance and was living in the present, but my soul was telling me something different. I abruptly left my job, my amazing wife and I were struggling to get pregnant — life had gotten to me and I wasn’t present anymore. I was tired, depleted and stressed.
Enter flotation therapy. Being in the health and fitness industry for 15+ years, I had grown skeptical of many new wellness modalities, especially those that espoused the mind body connection. My first session was at the end of a long day. I was told to “expect nothing, embrace nothing”. That concept was so damn foreign to me that it was difficult to grasp. When I emerged from the float pod afterward, I couldn’t account for the time I was in the pod. What was crystal clear was that I felt different.
As I was driving home I vividly remember looking at myself in the rear-view mirror and saying, “Holy shit.” I felt light. Giddy. My body felt refreshed. It felt as though I had awakened from a deep night’s sleep, but I also felt the endorphin-induced haze experienced after a competitive event. I was hooked.
TCM: Any great tips for making the most of a float session?
JO: Floating is literally the art of doing nothing and being at peace with it. The most important piece of advice that I have is to expect nothing.
Many come in with an expectation of how they are supposed to feel while floating and if that enters your mind perish the thought. Be free to accept whatever happens. There is no right way and no wrong way. The only thing to expect is that for 60 minutes you will be in a place where literally no outside noise, chatter or people can bother you.
There are many more tactical tips as well, including:
+ No caffeine (we know its hard!) for 4 to 6 hours prior to your session. You definitely don’t want that stimulant coursing through your body.
+ Hydrate well and definitely don’t come in full nor hungry as you don’t want your digestion system activated during your float
+ Don’t shave. Shaving prior to the session is definitely a no-no. Epsom salt is a magical mineral that hydrates, balances your internal organs, increases circulation and induces relaxation, but it can also sting if one has recently shaved.
We highly encourage everyone to turn off the light and music/meditation at least for a bit. Although both are comforting, there is no doubt that when all stimuli is eliminated the chance of a more profound, transformative experience is greatly increased.
TCM: What else does Pause offer that you’re excited about right now?
JO: All of our services have multiple benefits, most of which are synergistic. And the benefits are consistent with what I need right now: stress reduction, better sleep, mental clarity, physical recover, enhanced immunity and overall health optimization.
IV Vitamin Drip I am obsessed with our IV Vitamin Drip. I religiously receive an IV drip every Friday with Dr. Charles Tabone, our in-house Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine.
It is tough to consistently receive optimal vitamins, minerals and amino acids via diet. Each time I drip, I know that high-potency vitamin C, magnesium, zinc are getting to my blood. With each IV drip, I add 100mg of NAD+ which literally makes the mitochondrial process in my cells more effective. I wholeheartedly agree with those that state that NAD+ is the fountain of youth.
Contrast therapy is the marriage of our infrared sauna and cold plunge, another service that I am loving right now. The ability to jump back and forth between extreme heat and cold in the luxury of my own private room allows me the freedom to experiment with the trending modality on my own terms. It’s fun and I know that I am detoxing, increasing muscle recovery, elevating my immunity and I always leave with a fresh, clear state of mind.