f you were one of the record number of people who searched online for some variation of “how to deal with stress and anxiety” in 2020, you may have noticed something new pop up among the tips on breathing techniques and exercise recommendations – the benefits of flotation therapy.

Flotation therapy is not a new concept. The practice of floating in body-temperature, highly-concentrated salt water, without any sensory input of light or sound, has been around since the 1950s. In the decades since, scientific studies have continued to back up claims that floating helps some people relive stress, reduce anxiety and ease muscle tension. But it’s only in the last few years that the flotation therapy industry has been getting the mainstream attention it deserves. 

Then a national pandemic happened; suddenly, finding new ways to relax was a trending topic. And in a seemingly perfect example of a need meeting the moment, a new flotation therapy studio opened in Shreveport.

Float Shreveport opened its doors in June 2020 in the Azalea 714 Spa. Owners Joseph and Lindi Griffith conceptualized the floating pool studio after taking a trip to Israel, where the couple had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “Our church took a group of us to tour through Israel, visiting the places Jesus lived, learning about the Jewish faith and experiencing the sights of the Holy Land,” Lindi said. “One of our stops was at the Dead Sea where we all got to spend time floating in the water. And it was unlike any other body of water I had been in. The water is so buoyant you can pick your feet up off the bottom of the sea and you are ‘carried’ by the water.”

The experience was so remarkable for the couple that they wanted to find a way to re-live the experience without traveling across the globe. After two years of research and visiting flotation therapy spas across the country, the Griffiths were ready to open their own studio in their hometown.

While sensory deprivation tanks are common for flotation therapy, Float Shreveport offers floating pools instead. The studio has two float suites, each with its own floating pool, private shower, and dressing room.  Each pool is filled with a foot of water, which is kept at body-temperature, combined with nearly 1,000 pounds of Dead Sea and Epsom salts. Soundproof and lightproof rooms help make the experience sensory free, although music can be part of the float at a client’s request. 

The mental benefits of floating can include stress reduction, deep relaxation, and increased dopamine levels. But the physical benefits are notable as well; clients have reported relief from muscle discomfort, joint pains, fibromyalgia and lower back pain.

“My husband floats for relaxation and pain relief,” said Lindi. “He has moderate back pain and floating in the Epsom salt helps reduce inflammation that has built up and soothes his muscle and joint pain.”

For Lindi, floating for relaxation is the goal. “I almost always fall asleep while floating and wake up feeling like I just had the best night’s sleep of my life,” she said. “Being a wife and mom for two little ones means that getting time when I’m alone and experiencing peace and quiet can be quite challenging. We don’t realize how much our minds need times of rest and silence.”

After having floated many times, Lindi said the experience only continues to get better and better. “I’m always aware of how badly I needed the time floating as soon as I finish my session,” she said.

“I always come out feeling completely relaxed and refreshed, both mind and body.”