Member of old Rockford family brings a first to town
by BETH ALTENA
Thirty-year-old Lucas Harger is no stranger to Rockford. The 1999 Rockford grad had his first job at the Corner Bar at age 16 and also worked at Waldon Books in the former North Kent Mall, was an art assistant to local artist Jerry Berta, and worked in a store in the Hush Puppie Factory Direct mall. Many old-time residents will remember his grandfather Vance Harger or his Myrna Harger, who used to be the school librarian. His family built housing for Wolverine in the early 1900s. Harger left Rockford for many years, but has now returned with Just Relax Floatation, a unique way to de-stress, focus mental and physical energy, and improve health. It is a homecoming that has been good for many reasons.
“I was always interested in meditation and finding a way to block things out,” Harger said of the monkey depictions located in his suite at MVP Athletic Club, 515 E. Division in Rockford. His interest in meditation and focusing mental energy led him to try floatation—relaxing in a tank filled with soothing warm water and 800 pounds of dissolved Epsom salts. He was so struck by the positive effects of the experience he began his own business and now has two tanks available here in Rockford. It is a mind and body healing experience that is not available elsewhere in West Michigan.
The tanks were originally designed for mental studies, and soon the benefits were recognized. Harger said they are useful for soothing anxiety, for clearing the mind for an important decision, are useful in smoking cessation, and for healing the body with the beneficial effects of the salts. Users literally float in the 94-degree water, bouyed by the salt water. Some experience sensory deprivation in the quiet dark while others may prefer to have music played. Either way, the results are striking.
“It’s a weird kind of energy,” Harger said. “It’s not like how you feel after an energy drink. It’s like the energy you have when you are really well rested.”
Harger said some people float for just an hour while others float as long as several hours. He has had anxious or even claustrophobic people try the tanks, and are soon soothed. “You can get out whenever you want. You have total control.” He said the tanks—roomy at four by eight feet—are much more infinite than confining.
The salts, in addition to offering a gravity-free experience, are also healthful and ease aches and pains. Sometimes called “lazy yoga,” floatation allows a state-of-mind rest that some people have to work on for years to achieve. He said the more people use the tanks, the quicker they become to shut out the static of a busy mental state.
“A lot of what your mind is doing all day long is processing what you see and hear,” Harger said. When your mind slows down, you experience a deeper mind connection. He highly recommends it to those preparing for a test or to study or to anyone who has other reasons to become more calm. Harger said that the people who may be most anxious about floating are very often the ones who can benefit the most from the experience.
Harger chose his old hometown for his business for a variety of reasons, and said the athletic club is a great fit for his floatation business. Taking a time out in one of his tanks can be a great way to wind down after a tough workout or a treat to reward oneself for the effort. He offers package deals with no expiration and no limit on who uses the tank time. Businesses are invited to buy time for staff and the gift of floatation is one anyone can use. Rates come down with package purchases and start at $40 for one hour, up to 10 hours for just $200.
“We are a small business, we have to be very flexible for our customers,” Harger said. Floatation is by appointment only.
For now Harger still has a day job, but said the business is self-supporting. Ideally he would like to build the company enough that he can work there full time and see his customers more regularly. He is glad to be back to his Rockford roots with Just Relax Floatation and is pleased with the growth of his young business.
“I could invest in someone else’s company or I could invest in my own,” he said. “In the long run, it’s better to invest in your own.”
Visit Just Relax Floatation online at justrelaxfloatation.com or call (616) 822-6186.