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Official Announcement of Maui Calm


Maui Calm Project Aims to Combat Post-Traumatic Stress

for Victims of Maui Wildfires at No Cost to Them


This innovative emergency response uses Floatation Therapy to help address Maui’s unprecedented surge in PTSD

 

The Maui Calm Project, an initiative of the Float Research Collective (a Maui-based nonprofit), is racing to provide emergency response clinical float therapy to treat anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in Maui Fire survivors and the community. The project aims to bypass the cultural and financial barriers that have prevented many island residents from receiving effective mental health treatment in the wake of the tragedy by providing free floatation therapy inside state-of-the-art facilities placed in the areas most affected by the 2023 natural disaster. 


Following a major community trauma, the downward spiral towards long-term PTSD begins to set in within the first year, which can affect entire populations for decades. In an effort to tackle Maui’s pressing mental health needs, the project has opened up a limited number of corporate sponsorships in order to greatly accelerate their response to protect the people of Maui from chronic PTSD. 

 

The Maui Calm project is being led by Dr. Justin Feinstein, a clinical neuropsychologist and national authority on clinical float therapy. For the past 10 years, Dr. Feinstein has published numerous peer-reviewed studies showing that clinical float therapy is a safe and highly effective treatment for reducing stress and anxiety, including in patients with PTSD.


“Ten months post-disaster, Maui is facing a horrible mental health crisis. Thousands of residents are still displaced, drug overdoses are up nearly 50%, and many in our island community are suffering the effects of severe PTSD with limited access or means to acquire proper care,” said Dr. Feinstein. “Through the Maui Calm Project, we aim to minimize the long-term impacts of acute trauma-related stress and anxiety by bringing a clinically proven treatment to the island that circumvents common roadblocks related to traditional treatment programs. We’re proud to introduce this concept in Maui as the first completely free float therapy treatment made available to natural disaster survivors. With our new sponsorship and public donation programs, we should be able to make a swift and significant positive impact on Maui’s mental health.”

 

Float therapy is a clinically proven and completely safe treatment for the management of pain, stress, and anxiety. The therapy involves floating effortlessly in a pool of skin-temperature water that has been saturated with over a thousand pounds of Epsom salt. The treatment leverages the magnesium-rich properties of Epsom salt in pools specially designed to limit stimulation on the human nervous system in order to calm all sensory channels, delivering a natural alternative to highly addictive medications like benzodiazepines and opioids. Studies have shown that float therapy rapidly reduces stress and anxiety, lowers cortisol levels, slows respiration and brain activity, and reflexively reduces blood pressure levels by up to 15 points.

 

A member and representative of partnering agency and supporter of this initiative, Jim Hill from the Epsom Salt Council added, “Float therapy in Epsom salt has a multitude of therapeutic benefits - from muscle relaxation to stress relief to improved sleep quality - all of which can ease the suffering and anxiety that many fire survivors on Maui are currently experiencing. They have faced terror and unimaginable loss, and now they are on the road to recovery and rebuilding the community. We are proud to support this critical humanitarian effort that has the potential to treat similar mental health disasters across the nation or even the world.”

 

Utilizing large shipping containers, the Maui Calm Project is building float facilities that can be rapidly deployed and moved around the island for easy access. The modern float pool design will be completely open with no enclosures in order to remove any feelings of claustrophobia, a common struggle for highly anxious populations. Each facility will have three private float rooms with their own showers and infrared lighting controls to adjust the ambiance for peak relaxation and peace of mind. 

 

Since its launch, the project has received support from a number of local government officials, organizations and businesses, including a $238,000 grant received last month from the Maui Strong Fund of the Hawai’i Community Foundation to cover the first full year of operational costs once the facility arrives. The International Association of Fire Fighters Center of Excellence and the Maui Fire Department have also provided letters of support advocating for the use of float therapy to help Maui first responders cope with the after-effects of this tragedy.

 

For more information on the project and to learn more about how you can donate or become an official sponsor, visit MauiCalm.org

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