BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Doctors often say, "Avoid the salt." Unless you're floating on top of it. Its healing powers have attracted visitors to the Dead Sea for thousands of years, and now the wellness trend has a home in Baton Rouge. Fleauxt is only the second business in the state to offer flotation and dry salt therapy.
Floating in 800 pounds of dissolved Epsom salt is said to help with everything from chronic pain to stress. Insomnia, addiction, arthritis and migraines are other conditions that advocates say can benefit from flotation therapy.
"Stress manifests itself in the body physically, so it doesn't matter if it's emotional stress, financial stress, school stress," said Dr. Alvin Jaufre.
The local chiropractor is a repeat customer who said he likes to try out alternative therapies before advising his patients. After four floats, he now tells patients to supplement their adjustments with flotation therapy.
The idea is total sensory deprivation. You're encouraged to float without any clothes, in complete darkness and silence. Sessions last either one hour or 90 minutes.
"I know when life gets crazy, it's like, 'OK I need to get in there,'" said owner Jamie Shakotko. "Just get away from the cell phone, get away from the horns honking, get away from the traffic."
Shakotko is the local publisher of Natural Awakenings magazine. She opened Fleauxt with husband Curtis after experiencing the benefits first-hand. She said one hour in the float room is equivalent to four hours of deep rest.
"When I first did it, it was for back pain," she explained. "Now I get in there to shut out from the world."
The business also offers dry salt therapy, which consists of a dimly-lit room where pharmaceutical-grade salt is circulated through the air. 45-minute sessions offer customers the chance to sit back and relax in a lounge chair or take part in weekly yoga classes. Shakotko said breathing the salt deep into the lungs helps with a number of other conditions.
"It helps with bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, it helps with allergies, sinus issues, asthma, any kind of respiratory issues, and it also settles on the skin, so any skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis and acne," she explained.
There's also a play room for kids with the floor covered in pink Himalayan salt. It has the appearance and texture of course sand.
Fleauxt opened in October 2015 and attracts customers of all ages. Shakotko said an 80-year-old couple is among their clients, as well as several people originally skeptical of the concept.
"The engineer types that come in, they're like, 'What is this?,' or 'I got it for Christmas, I thought I would try it,' but then they come out and they're like, 'Wow, that was interesting.'"
The price for a first-time floater is $49. Dry salt therapy costs $25 for a 45-minute session. Monthly packages are also available.
Fleauxt is located at 8312 Jefferson Highway. Call 283-0520 for more information.