The Ground Floor: Ely spa adds flotation pod for 'fade-away sensation'

Flotation therapy used for stress, pain management

Tammy Bryant, owner of Cloud 9 Massage & Spa sits in one of the massage rooms in Ely on Friday, September 16, 2016. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Tammy Bryant, owner of Cloud 9 Massage & Spa sits in one of the massage rooms in Ely on Friday, September 16, 2016. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

Tammy Bryant is bringing big city amenities to small-town Ely.

Bryant opened Cloud 9 Spa and Massage in downtown Ely in April 2015. The business offers a variety of massage and spa treatments such as Lomi Lomi (a Hawaiian-influenced massage) and Ashiatsu (a massage that applies the pressure of bare feet).

In July, she added a flotation therapy pod — a lidded fiberglass structure filled with 13 inches of water and 1,100 pounds of Epsom salt for a zero-gravity effect. Clients float in the pod for sessions from 60 to 120 minutes, with the lid open or closed and with music and adjustable lighting.

Bryant said flotation therapy is used to reduce stress, manage pain and treat a variety of conditions from depression to skin ailments.

“It’s also used to achieve a meditative state,” Bryant said. “If you go in without music and lights, all five senses are taken away.”

Bryant, who graduated from Carlson College of Massage Therapy in Anamosa in 2013, first learned about flotation therapy from an article written by television personality Dr. Mehmet Oz. In it, he described its use in treating post-traumatic stress disorder.

In January, she drove through a snowstorm to Madison, Wisc., to try a float pod for the first time.

“I wanted to see and touch everything,” she said.

She next traveled to St. Louis to try a float room, a different type of flotation structure.

“I wanted to try every single type within reason,” she said. “The float room felt too big. It was more like stepping into a sauna, and I didn’t get that fade-away sensation that I got in the pod.”

She also tried a float tank, but found it too claustrophobic and flimsy for her liking.

Sold on the idea of adding a float pod to her business, Bryant had to find space to put it. In May, she moved Cloud 9 to a larger building across the street from its first location and started constructing a special room to house the pod.


Bryant said the float pod, which she has named “Victoria,” was an immediate success. Since its launch in July, floats have been scheduled on all but a handful of days.

“It was a big risk bringing it here, but people are really taking a liking to it,” she said.

Bryant said she wants to further expand Cloud 9’s flotation therapy services into water therapy for athletes.

At a Glance

— Owner: Tammy Bryant

— Business: Cloud 9 Massage and Spa

— Address: 1685 Dows Street, Ely

— Phone: (319) 929-2126

— website:

Know a company that’s been in business for less than a year that’d be ideal for “The Ground Floor”? Contact Michael Chevy Castranova at



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