By Jocelyn Brumbaugh
May 4, 2019
EBENSBURG, Pa. – Relief from conditions ranging from anxiety and arthritis to insomnia and chronic pain may be found in floatation therapy, according to the couple running a Pennsylvania wellness center.
Anthony and Becky SanGregorio established Laurel Highlands Therapeutic Academy about a year ago in the Ebensburg Mini Mall near Johnstown.
They recently added two Orbit floatation therapy pods, and Becky SanGregorio says Laurel Highlands is among five centers in the United States that have that option.
The idea behind floatation therapy is to give each client’s senses a rest, which means the Epsom salts used are scent-free.
Some studies have found that 90 minutes of floatation therapy feels like four hours of rest, Anthony SanGregorio said.
“It’ll be one of the best naps you’ll ever have,” he said.
Once a 90-minute floatation therapy session begins, 10 inches of water enters the pod from the bottom, along with 1,100 pounds of Epsom salt. As the water rises, so does the client, inside a pod designed to accommodate a 7-foot-6-inch athlete.
“It just kind of picks you up,” Becky SanGregorio.
Clients have reported improvements in several conditions by using floatation therapy, the SanGregorios said, including pre-natal discomfort, post-traumatic stress disorder, arthritis, chronic pain, headaches, ADHD, autism, insomnia, anxiety and depression.
“If nothing else, if it just helps stress level, that’s huge for life,” Becky SanGregorio said. “You can get your level of therapy out of it.”
Floatation therapy can also help with posture and blood flow because it holds the body in the best possible position, they said, and most clients report that their third session is the best experience, when they typically begin seeing the strongest results.
Clients have the option of playing nature sounds or calming music during each session, and there are also options to adjust lighting – designed to mimic a sunrise at the beginning of the session and a sunset at the end.
While traditional floatation pods or tanks filter water that stays in the pod, Orbit float pods completely drain and refill for each client.
The water used in each pod is kept at body temperature and is free of chlorines or bleaches.
“They’re just such a different level of cleanliness and quality,” Becky SanGregorio said.
The Orbit floatation pods at Laurel Highlands Therapeutic Academy’s wellness center are also accessible for elderly clients or those with limited mobility.
“Some of our best response has been from our older clients,” Anthony SanGregorio said.
Since installing both Orbit floatation pods, clients have traveled from as far as Pittsburgh; Hagerstown, Maryland; and even North Carolina to attend sessions.
The pods allow the SanGregorios to reach those who can’t be helped by massage therapy or don’t like to be touched.
“It’s just another level of relaxation,” Becky SanGregorio said. “Massage is not the answer for everybody.”
‘Everything they need’
A 90-minute session costs $75 and each floatation therapy room is equipped with a shower stall, earplugs, neck supports, towels and other items. It’s up to each client to wear a swimsuit or no clothing during a session.
“The idea is that people can come in and we have everything they need,” Anthony SanGregorio said.
Floatation therapy as an industry continues to grow, with celebrities and professional athletes installing floatation pods in their homes and using floatation therapy for recovery or preparation from their activities.
“It’s becoming a very big thing,” Becky SanGregorio said. “We’ve had a great response.”