By Jennifer Nelson, MNN

Up for a float? I’m not talking about down river or in the backyard pool, but at a flotation spa near you. If you live in a progressive city such as Portland, Seattle or D.C., you may have heard about flotation therapy. Otherwise, you might have no idea that this new trend is popping up across the country.

Though it sounds woo-woo wind chimes and fairy dust crystals, it’s a sensory deprivation healing modality that helps the body both physically and mentally. Studies performed in the United States and Sweden indicate that flotation therapy (tested in tanks) delivers wide-ranging benefits including significant reductions in not only stress, but also chronic pain, swelling, headaches, depression and insomnia, all while lowering blood pressure and improving skin.

“Several studies show ongoing flotation chamber sessions can positively ‘reset’ stress response hormones like cortisol, ACTH and epinephrine — and much of the research found that these positive effects last months after ‘floats.’ Studies on flotation’s brain impact showed it improved creativity in jazz musicians and boosted focus in academic examinations,” says Mia Kyricos, chief brand officer for the Spafinder Wellness Trend Report.