“This is a place for people to seek relief of physical and emotional distress in a natural way,” said Dr. Howard Weissman. “When clients come to see me, they get an individualized assessment of their symptoms and challenges and a customized holistic treatment plan.” (Jackie Pilossoph, Pioneer Press)
Dr. Howard Weissman vividly remembers trips he took to Israel as a young boy, where he floated in the Dead Sea.
“It’s a sea where nothing lives except for therapeutic benefits,” he said. “People go there from all around the world to heal.”
Since it isn’t easy to pick up and go to Israel, Weissman said he decided to bring the Dead Sea here, to his Northbrook holistic treatment center, The Chicago Stress Relief Center.
Designed for men and women experiencing chronic or acute pain, depression, anxiety, stress, or chronic illness, the center offers “The Ocean Float Room,” where clients spend an hour floating in a tank filled with 93.5 degree water containing 1,000 pounds of magnesium sulfate, also known as Epsom salt.
“It allows the body to float with zero gravity, which allows every muscle in the body to completely relax,” said Weissman, who holds a doctorate from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology and founded his practice in 1993, moving it to Northbrook 10 years ago. “It turns off the left side of the brain that tends to obsess or worry or be stuck in a place of fear, and activates the right side, which creates a relaxation response.”
The Ocean Float Room, which is manufactured in London, has a private spa-like feel and includes the option for music, skylights and a luxurious rain shower.
“It brings you to a state of complete, deep relaxation,” said Elizabeth Bystrycki, a Michigan resident who scheduled a float while visiting a friend. “My mind goes blank and releases all stress.”
Weissman explained that the benefits of flotation therapy include diminished fatigue; improved sleep, focus and energy; improvement of arthritis, back pain, skin disorder pain and headaches; lower blood pressure; and prevention of sports injuries. He also said the effects are cumulative, meaning the more regularly you float, the greater the benefits.
Michael Fine of Glenview, a client of The Chicago Stress Relief Center, said flotation therapy has helped both his chronic pain and sleep issues.
“You close your eyes and it’s hard to tell where your body ends and the water begins,” said Fine, who suffers from chronic residual limb pain, due to losing his arm five years ago in a car accident. “Because of the deepness of sleep, you shift to an advanced stage of REM sleep, which after an hour gives you the equivalent to seven hours of sleep.”
In addition to flotation therapy, The Chicago Stress Relief Center offers individual, couples and family therapy with Weissman, along with other integrative stress relief services that include Chinese energy medicine, herbal therapy, a far-infrared sauna, acupuncture, deep tissue massage and cranial sacral massage.
“This is a place for people to seek relief of physical and emotional distress in a natural way,” said Weissman, who prior to starting The Chicago Stress Relief Center spent several years as a staff psychologist for various psychiatric and medical hospitals, including Rush Presbyterian and Illinois Masonic.
“When clients come to see me, whether it’s for (obsessive compulsive disorder), generalized anxiety, chronic pain or (post-traumatic stress disorder), they get an individualized assessment of their symptoms and challenges and a customized holistic treatment plan.”
The Chicago Stress Relief Center accepts Medicare and is an out-of-network provider for all other insurance plans.
“I can feel myself stretching, almost like a butterfly, just letting go of everything,” said Bystrycki.
“Helping people deal with pain and life challenges is what I was put on this planet for,” Weissman said. “I’m good at helping them shore up their internal resources so that they can transcend.”
The Chicago Stress Relief Center is located at 1440 Techny Road in Northbrook. For more information, visit Stressreliefcenter.com or call (847) 412-0922.
Jackie Pilossoph is a freelance reporter for Pioneer Press.
March 19, 2015