Wausau’s first sensory deprivation tank now at ‘Modern Alernatives’

A study says these tanks can help with muscle relaxation, better sleep, and decrease pain, stress, and even anxiety
Published: Aug. 16, 2023 at 5:32 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - More people are floating into relaxation with the help of sensory deprivation tanks, also known as float pods. Wausau’s only float pod is currently at ‘Modern Alternatives,’ a holistic healing medicine practitioner.

Float pods first started back in the 1950s, when a medical practitioner and neuropsychiatrist wanted to learn more about consciousness. In recent years, the pods have become more popular and brought into the mainstream through athletes like Aaron Rodgers, and TV shows like Stranger Things.

With an abundance of TV shows, movies, and social media, it can be hard to turn off your mind. That’s where a sensory deprivation tank may come in handy.

“When you’re in the pod you can’t see, hear or feel really anything. So it allows your brain to calm down so you can better deal with stress. Allowing your body to heal better,” said Tracy Peterson, owner of Modern Alternatives LLC.

Tracy Peterson is a psychotherapist. her clients wanted alternatives for medications so she started looking into different therapies. One 2014 medical study looked at the beneficial effects of these tanks and found they can help with muscle relaxation, better sleep, decrease pain, stress, and even anxiety.

“It is weird thinking about floating in water that is very salty, for an hour, doing nothing,” said Peterson.

The pod holds 300 gallons of skin temperature solution. It’s mixed with 850 pounds of Epsom Salt, making the water as dense as the Dead Sea.

“It took my body a little while to relax. After a while you start losing the feeling between where your body ends and the water starts, so you’re not really aware that you’re floating,” said Natalie Cunningham, Support Staff at Modern Alternatives LLC.

“We’ve had several people fall asleep. I usually fall asleep. When the float is over there’s a chime that dings so they know the time is up,” said Peterson.

But for some, it’s so relaxing they have to be woken up. The first step is to knock on the pod. The second, opening the lid a bit and poking them with a pool noodle.

“‘If they still don’t open I would be calling the fire department because I’m not going to be opening a pod when someone is in there naked,” said Peterson.

Normally people go for about 60 minutes sessions, while some choose to go for 90 minutes. Peterson added there’s no need to worry if you fall asleep, the solution is so dense that it’s basically impossible to roll over.