Murphy was missing.

The 1-year-old boxer lab mix, who normally rushes to say hello to anybody who pops by Solasta Wellness Center, was nowhere to be found. And then his owners, Joe and Debbi Alberto, happened to peek inside a therapy room. There he was, lounging like a camel-colored couch potato on top of their new Biomat on a massage table.

And now it’s become his afternoon routine, said Joe, who co-owns the east side healing center with Debbi. Every day around 2 p.m. the pup disappears for his own self-prescribed half-hour healing session. It’s not a surprise, though. The company behind the Biomat told the couple animals love the pad. (And don’t worry, everything gets cleaned before clients relax on the Biomat.)

The Biomat is a pad filled with small tubes of crushed tourmaline and amethyst crystals, which produce negative ions. The pad is heated by Far Infrared Rays, which, according to the Biomat website, were discovered by NASA to be the safest, most beneficial light wave. The rays can penetrate six to eight inches into the body, and are said to reduce stress and fatigue.

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Negative ions — odorless, tasteless and invisible molecules that are abundant in certain environments, including forests, mountain tops and waterfalls — are said to do a body good, even a dog body, such as Murphy’s.

“Once they reach our bloodstream, negative ions are believed to produce biochemical reactions that increase levels of the mood chemical serotonin, helping to alleviate depression, relieve stress, and boost our daytime energy,” reports the website

Negative ions also are a way to counteract positive ions, which, despite the sunny label, aren’t so great for us. And the world is constantly bombarding us with positive ions, in the form of environmental toxins, including pollen and the smoke from wildfires in the air, and office equipment, such as printers, which spew ozone.

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“All those things get caught in our body and our body starts to fight that as though it’s an intruder,” said Joe, a reiki and massage therapist. “We start responding with these illness type of symptoms. When negative ions bind to the positive ions that are in those pollens and environmental pollutants then your body can now remove them. It processes it out of the body and you return to better health.”

The Biomat also is said to help reduce inflammation in joints, which provides better movement and range of motion. It can promote circulation and improve serotonin levels in your brain, which can be depleted by working in an office, according to WebMD: “Room air circulation, heat and humidity, the proximity of grounded devices that may emit counteracting positive ions (such as computer monitors) may affect output levels (of a negative-ion generator).”

A Biomat session is simple: Joe cranks the heat to the appropriate level and you lie down on the comfortable table. The relaxing music plays and you’re left alone in the room to zone out for 15 minutes.

One session is $25, four sessions are $75. The mat can be used without heat for those who might have negative responses; the crystals still produce the negative ions, Joe said.

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Solasta will offer a grand opening from 10 a.m. to close Sept. 4-5, with an aromatherapy workshop; guest lectures on emotional causes of physical ailments, hypnosis, past life regression and energy work; and reduced rates for dry salt therapy and Biomat sessions.

One recent Solasta client, a former military man dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, was pleasantly surprised by his results.

“He lay down on the mat and even before the session was over, he started giggling,” Joe said. “He said ‘I don’t even know why I was laughing.’ And that had to do with serotonin levels improving so quickly.”

Use is contraindicated for people who might be sensitive to heat, such as those with multiple sclerosis and active cancers, those on chemotherapies and people who are pregnant. Those who are sick with a cold, flu or COVID-19 should also wait until they’re healthier to avoid overcharging the immune system.

Contact the writer: 636-0270

Contact the writer: 636-0270

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