Have you ever wanted to feel completely relaxed but just never could get around to it? Perhaps the dog’s always barking, the kids are always yelling or there’s always that bill to pay or work to finish. Leave it to Jeff and Val Marraccini, the husband and wife team behind Zero Gravity Float Company. This new business’s goal is to ensure complete and utter relaxation to all Pittsburghers. We sat down with the couple to learn more about their business and why it’s a great choice for Pittsburghers of all kinds!
PITTSBURGH BEAUTIFUL: Can you tell us a little bit more about what exactly Zero Gravity Float Co. does?
ZERO GRAVITY FLOAT CO: We offer flotation therapy to the South Hills of Pittsburgh. We have two tanks that are 4 feet by 8 feet with 10 inches of water and 800 pounds of Epsom salt. This creates a Dead Sea type effect – you float effortlessly. The tanks are sound and light proof. This makes it the perfect place to meditate and relax. The water is also heated to match the temperature of the surface of your skin. After a few minutes your body stops noticing the water and you kind of feel like you’re floating in nothing.
PB: Is there any reason as to why you use salt water?
ZGFC: The large amount of salt is what allows you to float.
PB: What are some of the benefits to floating like this?
ZGFC: There are a lot of different reasons to float. Some people float to meditate and clear their mind. They can relax and let their thoughts drift away. Meditation can help relieve stress and lower symptoms of anxiety and depression. Some of our clients have also said they sleep really well the night they float. Other people use it as a way to boost creativity. Because you don’t have any distractions, your mind can really focus on a subject and explore it. Athletes also benefit from floating because it’s an epsom salt bath for your entire body. Magnesium is absorbed through the skin and helps to relax sore muscles.
PB: Why not just meditate, do yoga, etc? What makes floating like this the ultimate in relaxation?
ZGFC: A lot of the people that have come to float don’t meditate regularly. They find it too hard to sit still for an hour and they can’t relax their mind. It can also be hard to find a truly quiet place to meditate. The tank is warm and quiet. Your phone isn’t ringing, your kids aren’t yelling, and your dog isn’t barking. And because you’re already in the tank, you don’t feel the need to stop early and go do something else. Floating is a bigger time commitment than meditating at home, but it also provides more rewards. We think yoga is great, and people should do it too. It’s a great compliment to floating. Yoga is more of an active meditation where you focus on your poses and your breath, whereas floating is just your breath. Your mind shuts off much more easily with floating.
PB: Can you tell us more about you? What originally piqued your interest in zero gravity floating?
ZGFC: We first learned about sensory deprivation tanks from the Joe Rogan Experience podcast and started researching them. We then both tried it and found that we really enjoyed it. We had been looking for a business endeavor that we could do together and this seemed like the perfect fit for us.
PB: Can you tell readers more about what you feel as you float? What can patrons expect?
ZGFC: Everyone showers before and after their float. You don’t feel much. When you first get in, you’ll notice the warm water. When you lay back, you’ll be surprised at how deep your head goes into the water without sinking or getting water in your eyes. It kind of frames your face really nicely. We play music for the first five minutes to help you relax and get acclimated. A lot of people feel like they’re slowly turning in the tank. The tanks aren’t big enough for that, but your mind has no point of reference. It’s a very pleasant feeling. After a few minutes, you stop feeling the water and you lose track of time. You might lightly fall asleep or drift somewhere in between. The music comes back on for the last two minutes.
The cool thing about floating is that everyone can experience something different, and even your first float can be completely different from your next. The vast majority of people do feel much more relaxed after their float and feel a release in their tight muscles. They often have a post-float glow. It’s like a natural high. It can be a little intimidating to get into a dark, enclosed space for the first time, but once you’re inside the tank, you quickly realize it feels much bigger than you’d expect. Some people leave the door open, but it’s completely dark when you close it and that removes all sense of the space inside. A lot of people feel like they’re in a vast, open space.
It can be a little scary the first time, but you just have to breathe for a minute and you’ll relax. We always remind people that they can leave the door open the entire time. We have some soft lights in the room to make you more comfortable. We haven’t had anyone get out early, but we have had quite a few keep the door open the first time.
PB: Are there any medical issues that would be best not to try floating?
ZGFC: We ask that people with heart issues or diabetes consult their doctor before floating. We’ve never heard of anyone having a problem, but your blood pressure will likely decrease in there and we prefer to err on the side of caution. It’s very safe though. Pregnant women are even allowed and many of them find relief from getting the pressure off of their backs and hips.