Earlier this year, I had my house tented for termites—and that’s a whole lot of fun, especially with multiple pets. We checked into a local hotel room that was more like a one-bedroom apartment, complete with kitchen. I noticed a stack of boxes at the check-in counter that had been delivered by a prepared meal company. Read more
“When people get out of the float, they’re really raw,” Destiny Beck said.
What she meant is that after 90 minutes of floating in an isolation tank, where your feeling of physical existence is nearly wiped away, you can feel new, exposed or emotional when you get out.
The experience, aftermath and benefits are as different as the people floating, she said.
Beck is the co-owner, with her husband, Matt, of Float8 Wellness Lounge, opening in Deerfield Beach on Aug. 22.
Float8 has three pods and one special float suite, a giant walk-in tub with walls to the ceiling. Each gleaming white pod, space-y sleek, is filled with 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt and water. The water is roughly the same temperature as the surface of your skin, 93 degrees. The salt allows you to float effortlessly, and the temperature, Destiny says, is meant to prevent you from feeling where your body touches the water. Each session lasts 90 minutes, a long time (or not) when it’s just you and your thoughts in there. When you step into the tank, you close the lid and turn off the light and just… exist. No light. No sound. Just you.
My experience wasn’t particularly profound or life changing. I didn’t have a spiritual awakening or for feel like I was floating in outer space. But I did feel that rawness Destiny was talking about. While I was floating, there wasn’t any outside stimulus to distract me or detract me from myself.
Laying there naked, feeling the slimy salt water coat my skin, I began to notice that my thoughts carried a common theme. I was worrying about all kinds of things—about work, about what people thought of me, about my parents, even about what I was going to eat after. Once I noticed that worry and anxiety took up most of my thoughts, I was able to say, “Don’t worry.” I accepted the thoughts and eventually pushed them away.
At one point I sort of dozed off in a half-wake, half-dream state (it’s nearly impossible to drown in the tank. You’re floating so easily, it’s almost like laying on a bed.), and my mind just wandered. I didn’t have to analyze my thoughts. After that, I was in a more relaxed mood, and by the time ethereal music flooded the pod and the green light clicked on—my cue to get out—I felt good.
I spoke with partners Brian Lester and Barbara Alfonco on the phone a couple hours later, after they had both floated for the first time. There were striking parallels between our experiences.
Lester, who said he’d been waiting a whopping 17 years to try floating, Alfonco and I all went into the pod with no expectations.
“I feel like when we expect things, then it’s not what we get,” Alfonco said.
We all also noted that our bodies felt good after, and back pain and other muscular pain went away. That’s likely a result of the Epsom soak, which is one reason athletes like Tom Brady and Steph Curry float.
When Lester got out of the tank, he said he felt very emotional, “like I was being born again,” he said. Maybe it was that out-of-this world music (amplified by the way sound carries underwater), he pondered. “I almost felt like crying. It was really peaceful.”
They both purchased packages so they can continue floating.
Floatation therapy, sensory deprivation chambers or isolation tanks aren’t new. Comedian Joe Rogan is probably one of the most outspoken public figures on the benefits of this practice, and Matt and Destiny learned about it by listening to his podcast, the Joe Rogan Experience. Watch him talk about floating here.
They’ve been into floating ever since, and their passion led them to open the first multi-tank float center in South Florida. The studio has a meditation room/library, lounge area with organic teas and snacks, and bathrooms with lotion, q-tips and other post-soak necessaries. Local artwork by Jason Koerner, Kazilla and others is on rotation, and books, a journal and coloring books help you relax and reset after the float.
When I got into my stiflingly hot car and drove along the congested streets after the float, I felt happy. I even laughed when I got stuck behind a senior driving 20 MPH on a 45 MPH road.
I didn’t attain enlightenment during my float. Didn’t experience nirvana. Just a few hours where the stress of the world couldn’t touch me.
A 4-mile beach run (usually carrying gear and wearing combat boots) is typical of what Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens would have done with his brother, John Owens, of Deerfield Beach, when Ryan trained to become a Navy SEAL.
The brothers would indeed serve the U.S. as part of the elite Navy’s Sea, Air and Land Forces (SEALs) program. John, who is deployed now, was five years older than Ryan.
At age 36, on Jan. 29, 2017, Ryan was in Yemen with SEAL Team 6. He died of wounds he endured during a nighttime raid. It was Ryan’s 12th deployment as a SEAL, and his 18th year in the U.S. Navy.
To honor and celebrate his brother’s life, John started The Ryan Owens Memorial Run.
Money raised from the run will go to build a memorial for Ryan in Lauderdale by the Sea, said Holly Owens, John’s wife and Ryan’s sister-in-law. The cost to run or walk the 4-mile timed beach course is $40 for adults and $20 for kids 12 and younger who can participate in a 1-mile run. The run commences with opening ceremonies at 8 a.m. and the race starts at 9 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 4, at 149 SE 21st Ave. in Deerfield Beach.
This is the first year of The Ryan Owens Memorial Run. The City of Deerfield Beach has agreed to co-sponsor what will become an annual race. And while proceeds from the 2017 event will go to Ryan’s memorial, future races will help pay for other memorials and benefit families of fallen Navy SEALs, Holly says.
Ryan, who grew up in Coral Springs, was larger than life, she says.
“He was and is a superhero. Everything [he and John] did was extreme in life,” Holly says. “The family is very competitive and has always raced together. I think that is why John decided to do this and thought it was the best way to go about remembering Ryan and honoring and celebrating him every year.”
Along with his SEAL Trident and Basic Parachutist wings, Ryan qualified to wear many medals, including a Silver Star w/Combat “V” Navy.
The Owens family is planning more than just the run. All registered runners can enjoy a free after-party in the beach parking lot, complete with food trucks, a beer garden and live music.
Later that evening, there will be a dinner and silent auction at the Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club, 2425 Maya Palm Drive, Boca Raton. Tickets for the dinner and auction, which starts at 5:30 p.m. with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, are $140 until Sept. 1; then they increase in price to $150.
To sign up for the race or dinner or learn more about Ryan and his legacy, go to https://nakedwarriorproject.com/.
My new kind of Boca birthday celebration
Aren’t you and/or your partner getting tired of going to the same birthday dinner over and over again? My waistline and my wallet are pretty much over it.
Kids birthday parties are one thing (and take up enough of my valuable weekend time, am I right?). But I’m really starting to feel strongly that I don’t need to go overboard every year celebrating the big “36” or “43” (no offense) on a busy Friday or Saturday night. I know I might sound overly cranky, but family time is precious these days!
That’s why for the past three years, I’ve subbed in a rockin’ workout class for my birthday celebration in lieu of an expensive and time-consuming dinner. And I serve champagne and cupcakes afterwards … which are essentially guilt-free indulgences since we just worked out.
My celebratory workout of choice? Pound. Rockout. Workout. Pound is a 45 minute, full body cardio and strength class that utilizes Ripstix, a weighted set of drumsticks. It’s inspired by the infectious and energizing fun of playing the drums.
I typically hold my birthday class at Organic Movements in east Boca Raton under the instruction of Connie Mullen Fitness. She’s fantastic and even inspired me to get my own teaching certification this past spring. And I taught my first-ever Pound class on my 35th birthday this year! I figured it would be a great mid-30’s exercise (pun intended) in stepping out of my comfort zone. And it went great!
We rocked out at 6 p.m., toasted with champagne and cake at 6:45 p.m., and were home to our husbands and children by 8:30 p.m. on a Monday evening. It was the perfect Boca birthday celebration in my book.
If you want to rock out and hold your own “Pound and Pour” fitness party for a birthday or bachelorette like I did, be sure to check out ConnieMullenFitness.com for more information.
Whether snorkeling or scuba diving is second nature or a brand-new hobby, there are plenty of sites across South Florida for everyone—and a chance to explore life beneath the Atlantic Ocean. Here’s our summer dive list to get you started.
Blue Heron Bridge at Phil Foster Park
Voted “Best Shore Dive in the USA,” this snorkel spot on the Intracoastal Waterway in Lake Worth is prime snorkeling real estate to see batfish, frogfish, octopus, pipefish, seahorses and sea turtles, to name a few. It’s ideal for new divers, snorkelers and photographers because of its shallow depth between 5 and 20 feet. Grab a pair of goggles, a set of fins and a snorkel, and take in the sights.
Named after the Breakers Hotel, this West Palm Beach site is great for Open Water-certified divers, with depths of 50 to 65 feet. The east side of the dive is deeper, and divers who want to lobster or spearfish are allowed to do so. In the spring and summer, keep an eye out for green, hawksbill and loggerhead turtles.
Lady Luck Wreck
This casino-themed shipwreck in Pompano Beach gives divers the chance to explore 16 rooms, the captain’s deck, engine room, galley and surroundings. Look for the statue of the mermaid cocktail waitress, the faux casino in the main deck and other details, which were designed by Pompano artist Dennis MacDonald. Nikole Heath of Force-E in Boca Raton says this is one of the most popular dives in the area and is between 80 and 130 feet deep.
San Remo Reef
For a change of pace, try night diving or drift diving at San Remo Reef. The caves and overhangs make for great scenery and are home to octopus, squid and tropical fish. This reef is only 3 miles north of the Boca Inlet, and the depth ranges from 45 to 65 feet.
Sea Emperor Wreck
Also known as the “Aqua Zoo,” the Sea Emperor in Boca Raton is the perfect place to spot moray eels, stingrays and nurse sharks. The barge is upside down and contains 1,600 tons of drainage culverts at a depth of 70 feet. A second dive site, the United Caribbean wreck, is only 300 feet south of the “Aqua Zoo” and is easily accessible—just follow the coral trail.
A Boca Raton resident plans to compete in November’s New York City Marathon and next year’s Boston Marathon—challenges that are difficult enough on two feet. But Ashwin Kalyandurg, a fourth-year medical student at Nova Southeastern University, plans to navigate the 26.2-mile course on his hands, to raise money for charity. Read more
Palm Beach County is known for sun, fun, sober homes and a drug problem that has spiraled out of control.
Delray Beach alone has about 700 sober homes, housing some 7,000 recovering addicts. That’s more than 10 percent of the city’s population, according to NBC News.
Yet opioid addiction and drug-related overdoses and death have reached epidemic proportions. The problem is so bad that in early May Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency, earmarking nearly $30 million in federal money for services aimed at drug use prevention, treatment and recovery.
There are people on the front lines already trying to make a dent in the problem. Dolores, who asked not to use her last name, is a local nurse practitioner and addiction specialist who contracts with hospitals and psychiatric facilities from Palm Beach to Miami. I asked her to share what she sees daily in her work with addicts.
“Nearly all of them start very innocently, Dolores says, “and then it becomes a huge problem.”
A typical scenario, according to Dolores’ experience, is a person goes to the emergency department for unbearable back pain, claiming to have tried every over-the-counter remedy to no avail. The person goes home with a three-day supply of opioids.
That’s proper care. According to healthcare best practices or guidelines people should only be on opioids for three days at a time.
But this person is still in pain after three days and goes to his or her primary care doctor with the same complaint. This time, the patient might leave with a week-long prescription for opioids. In no time, some of these people become addicted to the pills, Dolores says.
“We live in a society where people want a quick fix,” she says.
Part of the responsibility lies with patients, she added. Providers might recommend physical therapy instead of pain meds, or weight loss for a patient with painful knees, for example. But that’s too hard. They’d rather have a pill, Dolores says.
And the healthcare system wants to oblige. Pills are covered by insurance; whereas massage, weight loss programs and other healthy alternatives are usually not.
The problem spirals from there. We’ve done a great job as a state at shutting down pill mills. But the pain remains unresolved. So patients that can no longer get opioids turn to heroine, Dolores says.
What many people don’t know is that the heroine epidemic has created a population of people of all ages who are injecting drugs and becoming positive for hepatitis C, she says.
“We are losing the war on drugs,” Dolores says. “We have young kids coming from all over the United States to Florida, which is the addiction state of the U.S. These young kids are addicted and a ton of them are hep C positive.”
According to NBC News, many of the young people who come to Florida to get sober end up dying. They become disconnected from family and friends and end up in a community of former and current addicts.
To make matters worse, the drugs are more deadly than ever. Dealers, according to Dolores, have laced drugs, from heroine to weed, with addictive drugs like fentanyl to create a pipeline of hooked customers.
An overdose on fentanyl, coupled with heroin, slows a person’s respiration until that person stops breathing, she says.
Add to that the post-traumatic stress that happens when one former or current addict sees another die from a heroin overdose, she says.
By the time Dolores encounters these people, they’ve usually attempted suicide, are withdrawing and desperate for yet another quick fix. She says she does everything she can to ease their withdrawal symptoms without prescribing something that will once again feed the addiction.
“I love them all. But they’re persuasive. I have to be strong and methodical,” she says.
People can help themselves and prevent addiction by becoming familiar with how these drugs should be used, if they’re needed. The Florida Medical Association recommends that doctors follow these recommendations from the CDC, when prescribing opioids. Get to know the recommendations, take steps to protect yourself and don’t always look for that quick fix.
Is it safe to say that the rain and stormy weather is behind us? We really hope so! In the spirit of wishful thinking, we’re jumping into the summer frame of mind this week by featuring some of our favorite products and tips that will keep your skin healthy during the season of sunburns.
Copaiba: Snake Oil or Silver Bullet?
Arthritis sufferers who are looking for an alternative to traditional medications for relieving their joint pain might come across an increasingly popular remedy—an essential oil, copaiba.
But does it help?
Florida Atlantic University (FAU) researchers in Boca put Copaifera reticulate, or copaiba, to the test. They looked at available scientific studies on the essential oil and concluded that, aside from some basic research (not on humans) and individual case reports, there isn’t enough credible evidence to say copaiba is effective for treating the pain or inflammation of inflammatory arthritis.
One of my favorite pastimes during the summer is outdoor parties and grilling. While I love raw food, let’s be realistic—not everyone can or should stick to one dietary theory 100 percent, and sometimes you just want to fire up that grill! If you are like me and want to indulge guilt-free and vegetarian, without harming your body with heavily processed animal proteins, then check out my top recommendations for the best plant-based hot dogs, veggie burgers and potato chips. All of these items are available at Whole Foods Market on Glades Road.
If you are what you eat, why not eat smart foods? Or Smart Dogs, in this case? These are great, non-GMO hot dogs by Lightlife that are bursting with flavor. Because they are plant-based and have zero cholesterol, you can rest assured that you won’t be compromising your heart health. However, your taste buds will thank you for the delicious treat.
The Beyond Burger
For those who want to avoid gluten, dairy and soy, I recommend The Beyond Burger by Beyond Meat. It is the latest veggie burger on the market and it is incredible! It is rich, sizzles on the grill and is delicious. Accessorize it with pickles, ketchup, mayo, mustard and any other fixings and you will be completely satisfied.
Follow Your Heart American Cheese Slices
This cheese is my new favorite alternative to dairy cheese. If you haven’t tried this dairy-free, soy-free and gluten-free cheese, then you are missing out. This cheese is actually made from coconut oil, which is known to help boost metabolism. How about cheese that can help you lose weight? Yes, please.
Green Lite Burger Buns
If you are looking to avoid gluten but are tired of eating bread that tastes like cardboard, then check out Green Lite brand. They have delicious rolls, white bread and burger buns, just to name a few. The reason why I try to avoid gluten is because it can be irritating to the body and cause inflammation. While some people are gluten-intolerant, I find many people are gluten-sensitive without even knowing it. To find out how gluten affects you, try avoiding it for two weeks and see how you feel.
Sweet Potato Chips
When it comes to potato chips, I like to have Terra Sweet Potato Chips. They come in 6 different varieties and bring you that crispy crunch that only a potato chip can provide. However, unlike white potato chips, you are getting extra minerals and fiber. Just don’t tell the kids they are good for them until they try these chips for themselves!