Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania Edition
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Stress Simply Floats Away

Derived from the ancient Buddhist language Pali, “metta” translates to loving-kindness, and that is exactly what Metta Relaxation Company owner Stephanie Bealer wants customers to experience when they walk through the door.

After leaving the corporate world, the passionate advocate for self-care enjoyed a successful career in nutrition and reflexology before learning about flotation therapy from a friend. In the process of learning all she could about the therapy, she discovered that her son’s engineering mentor shared her interest and the two began a mission to float whenever and wherever possible. They attended an educational conference together, and ultimately decided to open their own float studio. Along the way, the two fell in love and are now married. Though Bealer won’t promise the same happily-ever-after result to everyone, she is certain that floating offers benefits to all who try it.

“Floating is unique in that it’s whatever you need it to be,” says Bealer. “No two sessions are the same. You may want to float for physical reasons one day, mental relief the next and spiritual enlightenment another time.” She explains that sensory deprivation plus the anti-gravity aspect of being gently supported by dense salt water allow both the body and brain to completely shut down and relax. “You lose all sense of time and space,” she says, adding that the perception is “of being in a vast, safe void.”

Floating is achieved in only 10 inches of water through a highly concentrated Epsom salt solution requiring about 900 to 1,000 pounds per tub. Each of the five open float rooms at Metta Relaxation Company was custom designed using Bealer’s experience in natural health, in conjunction with that of her husband’s in engineering. In addition to the large float tub, the private rooms are equipped with everything needed to float, including a shower, towels, body wash, shampoo and conditioner. A nearby primping station provides use of blow dryers, mirrors and cotton swabs for convenience after the session.

Open since September, Metta Relaxation Company is located in a 100-year-old building that formerly housed a family-run flower shop, which Bealer says is “filled with happy, positive energy.” She and her husband purchased the building in October 2014 and spent the better part of the following year creating the physical space they envisioned. “This was a labor of love down to every detail.” notes Bealer. “My sons helped hand-lay the pennies on the bathroom floor. The energy in this building from love and community support is amazing. All of our practitioners love this place as their own, because it is.”

There are currently six relaxation practitioners, in addition to Bealer, specializing in various modalities including massage therapy, reflexology, Reiki and other energy therapies. “The same care that went into this space went into assembling our team,” Bealer says. “All are incredibly gifted at what they do, working intuitively and integratively to offer the most profound customer experience.”

Because Bealer wants to ensure that everyone enjoys a personal float experience without preconceptions, she gives only practical tips related to things like shower temperature and body positioning to new customers. Those tips are also available on the company’s website.

Although she believes that even a single float can be beneficial, Bealer says the real benefit comes from floating on a regular basis. It takes a few sessions before the brain is able to quickly and easily enter the relaxed theta state. “The first float experience is a learning one,” explains Bealer. “On the second, you know what to expect, and by the third, a theta state is achieved more quickly. Once that happens, time can seem to pass rapidly, with 90 minutes sometimes feeling like five.”

Though some float spas offer 60-minute floats, Bealer decided to offer floats lasting 90 minutes. “Between the preand post-float showers, and allowing time for the mind to achieve the theta state of relaxation, we felt that 60 minutes just was not long enough for customers to enjoy all the benefits of floating,” she says, but adds that their pricing for 90 minutes is comparable to what some charge for only 60. “Our goal is to make the experience affordable and accessible.”

As an adjunct to services offered, Metta Relaxation Company also hosts workshops on topics including energy therapy, crystal healing, loving kindness meditation and art therapy. Pricing is varied, yet affordable, with some events offered on a donation basis.

Bealer says she feels “amazingly blessed” to be able to offer float therapy to the Bethlehem area. “It’s the most incredible feeling to witness customers entering with harried postures and stressed expressions emerge looking calm and relaxed. After all, that’s why we’re here.”

Metta Relaxation Co. is located at 618 W. Broad Street in Bethlehem. For more information, visit MettaRelax.com or call 610-419-2044. See ad, page 15.

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