The Sounds of Silence

At Inngi Float, the experience is uniquely personal, meditative and, for many, profound

inngi-float

Courtesy INNGI FLOAT

I feel like an embryo. Or at least what I imagine an embryo feels like. Lying inside a dark, silent, egg-shaped pod, floating in 10 inches of water, I’m as solitary and detached as I can be, totally alone with my thoughts. 

I’m at Inngi Float, a facility that opened last fall in Highlands Ranch, offering customers one-hour floats inside one of five private rooms, four of them equipped with a single very large, hinged pod and one “suite” with an open, rectangular flotation area. The water inside contains medical-grade Epsom salts, so I’m weightless and buoyant— no worries about drowning. The experience aims for both physical and mental benefits; the magnesium sulfate-infused water is touted for its healing properties for everything from psoriasis to joint pain. And the silence is golden.

“After the first five minutes, there’s no light or sound inside the pod,” says the very personable attendant at the front desk who pre- pares me for my first float. “Whatever happens in there, embrace the comfort or discomfort, because that’s your body’s way of telling you what you need. It’s like meditation.”

Inngi Float is the brainchild of Erik and Wendy Skaalerud, already well known in the Denver health and wellness community for their 27 Orange Theory Fitness franchises. “It’s a new industry,” Wendy says, “so there is no typical customer response, but we’ve heard everything from ‘Hallelujah—that’s the best hour of my life!’ to ‘I’ve been baptized by the gods of relaxation.’ ”

The notion of flotation for wellness has been around since the 1950s, when it was used as part of mind-expanding experiments in California, “but no one has ever wrapped it up into a high-end therapeutic experience,” says Erik, who was first exposed to flotation as a teenager.

The Skaaleruds—who met when they were 13, dated on and off through high school and their 20s and married at age 32—decided to launch Inngi Float (“inngi” means “to inspire” in Norwegian) after mega-success at Orange Theory. “We both have entrepreneurial backgrounds and started a business financing company 14 years ago, which opened a lot of doors for us, including Orange Theory,” Erik says. “We opened the third Orange Theory studio in the world here.” 

Wendy says they fell in love with Orange Theory because “it appeals to the 82 percent of the population that is afraid to work out. We have the elite 18 percent too, but we felt that our job was to attract that 82 percent. ” The studios draw a wide range of people— “our youngest is age 14 and our oldest is 92”—and offer hourlong classes that allow clients to work out against themselves at the pace that works for them. “It’s a powerful environment,” Wendy says, “super supportive and not competitive.” “A feel-good business,” Erik adds. 

Inngi Float, which uses pods from Hungary that have stringent cleaning and filtration systems, is similarly aimed at personal wellness. “We wanted to create an environment that encouraged people to live their best lives from the inside out,” Wendy says. “An hour of floating equals four hours of sleep, but not everyone sleeps in the pods. For example, I don’t—but the sub-meaning of ‘inngi’ is ‘to file,’ and when I am in a pod, I find a deep relaxation that allows me to file my thoughts, which can be hard for me to do normally. People let in what they are willing to let in.”

Clients, they say, range from extreme athletes to people with chronic pain to those who want to meditate to younger people with ADD or similar afflictions who respond well to quiet. “We have a good network in Colorado—people here love fitness and love being well—and we’re on the tipping point of this thing,” Erik says. “It’s a growing industry, and we hope to be across the country one day.” (A second location in the Denver area is coming soon.)

Hallelujah, indeed. 

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