A guide to living local in New Hampshire

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Whole Health:

Nashua Center's Services Climb to Peak of Wellness

Story and Photos by Brian Guidi

Time stops as you lie in pitch blackness. Limbs and body are weightless, and, eventually, the interfaces among the air, the water and skin disappear.

In a state of deep relaxation, one can feel in a void – a breathable vacuum without light, color or any external stimulus. A pool of warm, salt water infused with 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt supports without effort.

Eventually, any concept of time disappears.

This is not a space flight simulator. It’s a visit to the float pod – a sensory deprivation chamber – at the recently opened Peak Recovery and Health Center in Nashua. While the service can provide complete blackness and silence, a person can also choose to illuminate the pod with subtle colored lighting, as well as listening to soothing ambient music or a selection of your choosing.

At 93.5 degrees Fahrenheit, the water temperature is tightly controlled to provide a thermal balance with the greatest level of comfort.

According to manager Michelle “Mo” Wheeler, a Boston Marathoner and Iron Man tri-athlete, guided meditation is a popular and effective audio option for the service.

Recovery can generally be defined as the return to a normal state of health, while wellness is a continued state of good health, particularly as an actively pursued goal. During our lives, most of us will experience some degree of setback to the physicality of our human condition, as well as to our emotional or mental state as a result of life’s typical stressors.

Fortunately, there are many options for relief.

No one believes that more than Colin Cook of Brookline, who opened Peak earlier this year. He is a triathlete, triathlon coach and a 12-time Iron Man finisher.

“While I was certainly excited about the potential of helping other athletes,” he said. “I realized there was so many more people that could benefit outside of athletes.”

In addition to the float pod, Peak offers other unconventional, scientifically based methods to aid in the treatment of physical injury, state-of-mind betterment and general health. The West Coast embraced these treatments years ago, but the trend toward natural healing and the general adoption of alternative medicines and treatments has swept across the country, providing local access to services that would previously require a lengthy road trip.

While the float pod offers extreme relaxation and stress relief, other services are available depending on a client’s therapeutic goals and desired outcomes, including whole body cryotherapy.

Cryotherapy uses extreme cold to “stimulate your body’s natural healing mechanism,” according to Peak’s website. The chamber uses cold nitrogen gas to generate temperatures between minus 180 degrees Fahrenheit to minus 240 degrees Fahrenheit, which lowers the surface temperature of the skin by 30 to 50 degrees during a two-to-three-minute treatment.

Don’t worry; this is not frostbite-inducing and the treatment is well-supervised by the courteous and knowledgeable staff at the center, whom must also be fully trained and certified on the equipment and process.

The advertised benefits for this type of treatment encompass a variety of physiological characteristics related to sports and fitness, health and wellness as well as beautification.

Peak’s most popular treatment is photobiomodulation, or PBM. While it looks similar to an old-school tanning bed, the comparison ends there.

PBM uses high-intensity LED illumination tuned to specific wavelengths, power densities and dosages to target specific healing goals. The center touts PBM benefits of muscle tissue repair, inflammation reduction and wound healing as well as the treatment of disorders including anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia, acne, burns and many more.

Other treatments include cryofacials, infrared sauna, compression therapy and an anti-gravity treadmill. There are also plans to add chair massage.

Customers can pay for individual services as well as packages or rolling subscription options. Peak also offers licensed therapists to assist in defining treatment strategies and employing those strategies consistent with the customer’s desired goals.

Cook said he hopes one day everyone will realize that, “there are natural ways to heal ourselves naturally.”

For more information, visit peakrecoveryandhealthcenter.com.