Kelly Caldwell needed a break—from pretty much everything. Her job in advertising, her fight against depression, and, especially, her effort to overcome PTSD from surviving sexual assault. She had to choose to either sink or . . . float. She chose the latter, and things have been looking up ever since—especially when Caldwell herself takes a float inside one of the three “pods” at Drift.
Caldwell, who opened Drift one year ago with her mother, Robin, explains that floating has been around since the 1950s, and if you’re one of those who can’t put the phone down, quiet your brain, or lie still for an hour, this is the thing you probably need the most. The benefits of a reduced sensory experience, as these giant egg-shaped, salt-water tanks provide, include pain relief from ailments like arthritis, decreased blood pressure, and increased endorphins. “I’m not one to sit for five minutes,” says Justine Liptec after her first float. “But I’m glad I did 90 minutes. It took me a few minutes to settle in and figure out how my body’s reacting to this water thing and to shut my brain down. Now, I feel wonderful.”
These days, Caldwell does, too. “Floating was a huge part of my recovery,” she says, “and I have real drive to help people and provide tools for healing. My job is to provide spaces where people can do their own work.” Along with its pods, Drift offers infrared sauna services, an oxygen bar, and a Lucia Light experience.
The Float Tank //
Twelve hundred pounds of Epsom salt–saturated water sparkles with calming lights in the soundproof orb in your private float suite. After a quick shower, cover any cuts on your skin with petroleum jelly, insert earplugs, step into the tank, and close the giant lid—ostensibly all the way down with just a sliver of an opening (or more if you need the space). Music and lights usher you into relaxation, then fade 10 minutes in. For the next 60 or 90 minutes, you’ll float in two feet of salt water and just be. Songs, thoughts, ideas, even random phrases like “Run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread man” zigzag through your brain until you give into the suspension, to the nothingness of space, to calm and weightlessness, while your brain and body restore and reset.
Infrared Sauna //
Before floating, after exercise, or just to get that glorious feeling of elevated wellbeing from sweating out toxins, try the infrared sauna (and catch up on your favorite Netflix show on the screen inside). Sweating has many beneficial effects, and this sauna provides three various wavelengths—near, mid, and far—which means each provides different and deeper effects. Caldwell also offers what might be the best package membership in town—30 minutes of unlimited sauna use for $100. (To compare, one session is $25.) For an increased “zen-sational” feeling, visit the oxygen bar in the lounge and breathe deeply with an oxygen session. A single-time use, disposable cannula goes into your nose, and scented or unscented oxygen will give a fresh boost to your whole system, which purportedly helps with sleep, headaches, focus, and even hangovers.
Lucia Light //
You probably don’t think much about your pineal gland, but it’s there, right in the center of your brain, and it’s kind of a big deal. The Lucia Light, created by a neurologist and a psychologist, combines solid and flickering white lights that stimulate the pineal gland to produce mind-activating hormones. The lights can usher you quickly into a state akin to deep meditation, which translates into reported benefits such as abject joy, bliss, increased creativity, and peace. This is a deeply unique experience for how it reaches the consciousness of each individual. Caveat: the Lucia Light is not intended for anyone with light-sensitive epilepsy.
Drift Float & Spa, 644 N Main St, Greenville. driftgreenville.com, (864) 414-2388