This is a time like never before when it comes to technological and biological advancements. People are faster, more efficient and fortunately more informed than ever. However, for all its worth, people are busier, more stressed and more exhausted.
The increase of input, activity and overall demand of the daily grind has become too much for the standard issue biocomputer (brain) to handle and as a result many people are fighting severe burnout and breakdown.
It was Dr. Mark Kelley’s own experience with life overload that led him to try floatation therapy and ultimately open Neuro Fitness Wellness Center in Ann Arbor.
“I’m an orthopedic surgeon,” he says, “I was practicing at St. Joe’s and affiliated with the University of Michigan and essentially it was very stressful. I was doing a lot of work, working a lot of late nights and I started developing atrial fibrillation. I tried a lot of things to deal with that, and deal with the stress of the job. One of the things I started to do in 2012 was floatation therapy. I went to a floatation center in Southfield about once a month and it was a very calming helpful tool. I started talking to some other people about developing a float center because I was traveling to Southfield and I thought this would be a wonderful thing for Ann Arbor.”
Floatation Therapy, also known as sensory deprivation, is a 60 or 90-minute zero gravity experience that provides stress/anxiety reduction, pain relief, improved athletic recovery/performance, meditative opportunities, and skin detoxification.
The doors of Neuro Fitness Wellness Center opened more than three years ago. In addition to offering Floatation Therapy they also have Cryotherapy, Neuroptimal Brain Training, Salt Therapy, and Licensed Professional Counselor Peg Kelley, Mark’s sister, operates her practice on site offering a unique combination of therapies.
Marcella Chrisman, a tax analyst from Dexter, has an unlimited service membership at Neuro Fitness Wellness Center and uses all the treatments.
“I initially went there for cryotherapy,” she says, “however, I noticed they had float rooms and I decided to try it out. I find for me that an hour and a half is too long. Sixty minutes is just right, and it is very relaxing.”
Similar to Dr. Mark Kelley’s story, Chrisman knew she had to address her stress and stepped into a greater commitment once she realized the benefits of this type of concentrated self-care.
“I started with the plan where you pay $35 a month where you can use one service and then any additional services you use is $35 for those,” said Chrisman, “and work started getting very intense, and I thought okay I’ve got to do something to help myself de-stress and keep myself calm and even-tempered. I thought, all right, I’m just going to rework my budget. I know that using unlimited services is an investment, and I reworked my budget and I don’t even miss the things that I dropped by the wayside to pay that $200 a month. It’s just been so worth it.”
The vision of Neuro (Nerve) Fitness Wellness Center is in the name, and the goal is simple.
“Anything you can do to reduce nervous system activity,” says Peg Kelley, “In many ways the go, go, go, always on my phone, always checking my email. . . The hard charging lifestyle creates stress, and the sympathetic nervous system gets activated and the stress hormone Cortisol rushes through your body, so all of these interventions are designed to reduce stress and reduce cortisol in your system, so there is a scientific aspect to this.
“For example, the flotation not only helps with relaxation, but also the salt itself has therapeutic properties with taking in magnesium, and then the zero gravity reduces all the stress of your spine, muscles, and skull.”
The removal of sensory input is the key component to the floatation therapy. In essence, it’s a break from your body as an aid for relaxation and meditation.
“I was looking for a stress reliever”, says Mark Kelley, “I started trying to do some meditation and realized I wasn’t very good at it, but when I got there I was like ‘oh this is really good’, and my heart’s calming down so I took that next step and said ‘I’m going to try this in a float tank’ that’s when I really got hooked, and what the flotation does is really set you up to have a successful meditation. It’s removing the distractions and creating a meditative environment. And we know for sure meditation has a tremendous body of literature behind it that it’s really good for you.”
What: NeuroFitness is a modern day wellness center offering flotation, cryo, Himalayan salt and neurofeedback therapies, which help alleviate stress and optimize your mind and body for peak performance, happiness and well being.
Where: 6360 Jackson Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Hours: Open Wednesday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.