Before she was a health coach, Jackie Fetter, owner of Honest Living and Honest Floating, said she was a “typical” 25-year-old — eating fast-food, french fries and processed meats, drinking alcohol and smoking — a “pretty standard American diet,” she recalled.
But, it turned out, she wasn’t “typical” at all.
Her cholesterol levels were out of control. She was diagnosed with anxiety and depression, and was prescribed medicine to take for the rest of her life.
“I was not going to take pills for 50 years,” she said. “I’m way too budget conscious and don’t want that much medication in my body ... I didn’t want to be stuck in a loop of doctor visits and prescriptions.”
Instead, she changed her life.
At first, she was “cosmopolitan healthy,” she said. She may have fit in a size zero and lowered her cholesterol, but she didn’t feel “authentic.” When she started a more natural diet and became a certified health coach, she began to feel better.
Then, in 2013, her father committed suicide. The sudden loss left her emotionally and physically devastated.
It wasn’t until she climbed into an isolation tank months later that she found some relief.
At fist, the quiet darkness of the tank led her to panic. She said she could hear her heart beating loudly in her chest, and without distractions, all she could do was think.
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“When you first get in, you’re really aware ... I didn’t realize how much I had circling around my mind,” she said. “Then you start to relax and the sensation of your skin and arms and legs just disappear. You’re just floating there.”
She started to “melt.”
“It was like watching an ice sculpture melt down to nothing,” she said.
After an hour in the tank, she emerged completely relaxed, finding herself again.
“For someone who focuses on their health, I thought if I was having such a hard time, then other people must be having a really hard time, too,” Fetter said.
She believed others could benefit from floating and she had to have a tank of her own.
The four-by-eight-foot Samadhi tank from California arrived in November 2014 and was installed into the basement of her Cedar Rapids home. In the next month or so, Fetter will open a commercial location downtown, where she’ll move the tank and refill it with 300 gallons of skin-temperature water, 650 pounds of Epsom salt and 50 pounds of Dead Sea salt.
Most clients choose a 60-minute session, but Fetter recommends trying a package of several sessions. It’s not only more cost-effective, but it also typically takes three to four tries to see results, she said.
For more experienced floaters, Fetter also offers 90-minute, two- or even three-hour sessions. When she opens the commercial location, she plans to offer overnight floats.
The longer you stay in the tank, Fetter explained, the more you can relax and meditate.
For some, the idea of getting into a dark, quiet tank might sound a little claustrophobic, but Fetter said trying new things is the “point of life.”
“The greatest things you do come from being uncomfortable,” she said. “It might not feel like it’s for you, but you don’t know until you give it a fair try.”