Marlon and Jillian Trespeces offer a buoyant alternative to stress. RoundTable photo

Stress levels are up. The current political climate has many feeling tense, sad, anxious, or depressed, and they are not alone. According to the American Psychological Association’s February 15 report, “Stress in America: Coping with Change,” two-thirds of Americans – including a majority of Republicans and Democrats – say they are stressed about the future.

Evanstonians need not fear because this creative and bustling metropolis is brimming with many options for dealing with stress including therapy, exercise, yoga, artistic creation, religious observance, civic involvement, and meditation.

Evanston Float Center, 800 Dempster St., can be a welcome addition to any anti-stress arsenal. The Center offers float and massage therapy, individually and in combination. Those looking to clear their heads and knead out achy muscles need look no further.

The Evanston Float Center is owned and managed by the charming husband-and-wife team of Marlon and Jillian Trespeces. He is a trained massage therapist and she runs the office and administrative part of the business. Their business has been open since January 2016 and already is fully booked at 35 floats per week, with a waiting list. The couple is in the process of adding a second float tank and expect it to be operational in about three weeks.

The float: After checking in, selecting shower shoes, and signing a waiver, the soon-to-be floater is taken to a spotless room complete with a shower, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, Q-tips, and a thick white towel. Clients remove jewelry and contacts, and are given a fresh pair of ear plugs to help keep salted water out of aural canals. Each floater showers and washes his or her hair prior to going into the float tank, entered through a door by the shower. There is a light fixture on the ceiling and soft music piped in through speakers.

Many floaters want the full sensory deprivation experience and choose to float in silent darkness. Knobs on the left side of the tank allow the floater to control both the light and the music, and the tanks are insulated against sound. The water is kept at a comfortable 93 degrees Fahrenheit. A float can last for an hour or 90 minutes.

The buoyancy stems from over 800 pounds of dissolved Epsom salt in the water, which is microfiltered three times after each float and sanitized using a combination of ozone gas and hydrogen peroxide (peroxone).

There are certain medical or physical conditions that may exclude one from floating, and float center personnel can answer some questions. One should wait at least two weeks after having a spray tan or hair coloring treatment, and should not float within 24 hours of shaving or waxing. Floating is safe for women in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Mr. Trespeces said one customer, a veteran who is an amputee, said he felt the most whole during his float.  

This intrepid reporter took the plunge recently and came away feeling relaxed and rested, no doubt in part because she fell asleep mid-float – a solid 50-minute nap in a dark float tank. She would never have believed it. … and it was marvelous.