Find your nirvana: Experience sensory deprivation floating in Truckee | SierraSun.com

Find your nirvana: Experience sensory deprivation floating in Truckee

TRUCKEE, Calif. — The words "health" and "wellness" often bring to mind a physical activity, a new diet or class to attend.

But for two Truckee locals, a major part of health and wellness involves allowing your body and mind to relax and do nothing at all.

A similar mental state to meditation, their go-to stress and pain relief is unlike anything else — sensory deprivation floating.

"We knew after our first or second float," said Cari Klenk. "We were going to have a tank, for Truckee."

FLOATING AN IDEA

Klenk and her partner, J Luchs, are the creators of RISE Float House in a home business in Tahoe Donner, and it really is a float "house" — it's their home that they open to the community by appointment to purchase float sessions.

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After only having floated a handful of times three years ago, they knew it was something they — and everyone — needed for life, Klenk said.

"It was very profound how much it impacted us," she said. "We wanted to keep going to float, back-to-back."

With their original float center located in Carson City, the pair knew another option closer to Truckee was needed.

One year later, they accomplished their goal — owning a float tank and creating the first float business in North Tahoe-Truckee by early 2015.

Klenk and Luchs operate RISE using methods passed down by mentors who've learned directly from Dr. John C. Lilly, the inventor of the sensory deprivation float tank.

Luchs echoed Klenk's "this is it" feeling.

"Floating has changed my life. No matter what, there will always be a tank in my life," he said. "I would rather have a tank than a hot tub or a pool, and I see the future having people with these in their homes, in airports, gyms, hospitals — it really is for everyone."

'FLOATING IS FUN'

"Floating" is done in a personal heated pool, if you will. RISE features a tank made by Samadhi Tank Company, which started in 1972 and was the first company to create tanks commercially.

The RISE tank is an enclosed tank, the dimensions of which are approximately 8 feet long. 5 feet wide and 4 feet deep, with a door that never locks for safety purposes.

The tank cancels out light and sound, but is not airtight — there is plenty of air to breathe comfortably. The tank holds approximately 700 pounds of Epsom salts dissolved in roughly 10 inches of water, which is heated to body temperature.

The tank has a built-in, constant filtration system. In addition to providing health benefits for stress and muscle ache relief, the Epsom salts allow the person to easily lie on his or her back and float on the water's surface with no possibility of drowning, tipping over or immersing one's face in the water.

Sensory deprivation allows you to calm your mind and forces you into a meditative state — although one should use the word "force" lightly, as floating on the warm water really is an immensely comfortable and natural sensation.

"Floating is fun, but it has psychological benefits," said Klenk, who shifted her career path from psychology to creating RISE after learning that being in such profound solitude could be the healing agent for people, rather than traditional therapy. "The care we give to people while they're here is different than at other places — we are here for them; to sit in silence or speak with us, or go get on with their day."

A LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCE

Being in such a vulnerable state allows people to turn inward, Klenk said, and hearing only the sound of your own breath and heartbeat allows you to drift into a meditative and dreamlike state during an hour-plus period, something many train their bodies to attain over time.

"Sometimes things come up in the tank that people need to process, and we're in a position to help guide people if they have a life-changing experience and need to take a step back," she said. "We're really here for them, and we're creating a space for transformation for people, if that's what they're looking for.

"Floating of course is fun too, but we hold space for people to come here and heal in whatever way they need to."

Klenk described the "humanness" that naturally arises for those who participate in sensory deprivation floating.

"Really being by yourself and looking inward brings awareness to everything," she said. "It illuminates your life when you can be that present, when you can feel yourself and feel others. Being that open scares people, but one of the reasons I knew it would be great for our community is because we are so healthy and conscious, we care about ourselves and others.

"Caring for ourselves allows us to take care of others and build this community from a place of love and compassion — floating gives you the organic feeling of being compassionate with ease."

Cassandra Walker is a features and entertainment reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at cwalker@sierrasun.com, 530-550-2654 or @snow1cass.