Stress has been a big part of my life for as long I can remember. Genetically, I was pretty unlucky when it came to family history of mental illness, particularly generalized anxiety and panic disorder. I have battled these two mental illness for as long as I can remember. My last two years of high school especially were filled with daily panic attacks and mind-numbing stress. Needless to say, when The Good Five Cent Cigar offered a free destressing session at Flo Destressing Center, which just opened up in Wakefield, I jumped at the opportunity,

As I walked into Flo Destressing Center, I was greeted by Heather Newkirk, who owns the business. She led me into the room where the magic would take place. I was under the impression she was going to give me some sort of massage or lead me in some meditation. Once I entered the room I knew I was in for something different. There was a strange unit in the room that resembled a bed but had copper bars on each side and a hexagon shaped box that attached to the top.

Heather explained that the technology the Flo unit uses is extracted from an electromagnetic signal and put into a field containing only the extracted information. When this field is combined with pleasant music, it causes the human body to destress.

I know very little about science and I did not completely understand the technology that had been explained. I was nervous, but it was time to start the session. I took off my shoes and jewelry and layed down in the unit. Heather strapped my feet in, tucked me into a blanket and moved the hexagon box over my chest. Then she turned off the lights and played a peaceful woodwind song.

The moment I closed my eyes, I immediately felt a shift in energy. It felt as though the music was painting visuals of memories in my mind. I saw the visuals of what I saw of the audience when I was dancing at my senior dance recital, I saw my best friend dancing and laughing in the driver’s seat of her car and I saw my sister running towards me on a beach we visited on our family vacation to San Diego. It was almost like watching a montage of happy memories in a movie about my life. A feeling of comfort rushed over me and I was in a zen state of mind.

Suddenly, the song changed and so did the memories. I started to see more triggering memories like the bathroom floor of my high school, the place I ran to when I felt swings of panic during the school day. Then I saw the same mess I made in my room over a two week period last year when I was too anxious to leave my house. I saw my pale reflection as I stared at the school nurse’s mirror after my state of panic caused me fall down a flight of stairs.

 In my everyday life, when these dark times popped into my head I did everything I could to push them away. However, while I was lying down on the machine I did not feel shameful or upset. Instead, I welcomed these memories. I felt at peace with them.

Heather came back in about a half hour later and brought me to my feet. We sat down and talked about the session. I told her about the all the memories I saw and the peace I felt within them. She told me that the technology used is typically very helpful in accepting past trauma. She also informed me once I went into the unit she felt “good energy” from me. I was given a glass of water which Heather said was made with “happiness and gratitude” and I went on my way.

After the destressing session, I understand that those unsettling memories I revisited are in the past. Last year I let my anxiety run my life and it crippled me. However, I have come a long way since then. Today I am happy, strong and more importantly, I believe in myself more than I ever have before. This experience gave the chance to make peace with who I used to be and become proud of who I am now.