You may have tried out massages and meditation, but what do you know about floatation therapy and halotherapy? Holistic wellness guru and NJMOMpreneur Bronwyn Lyman brings together every imaginable health and wellness service under one roof at Float Haven Health Spa in Pitman. The destination – because that’s what it is, really – is Bronwyn’s brainchild after she left Kodiak, Alaska to come home to New Jersey to fulfill her dreams of opening an all-inclusive holistic wellness center that would help people with ailments ranging from common colds and coughs to complex conditions like PTSD and fibromyalgia. We chatted with Bronwyn about how she first turned to natural solutions to help her boys with digestion and sleep issues, how she changed careers at age 40 to become a massage therapist as a single mom, and all the wholesome family fun that Pitman offers. Read on for your daily dose of boutique relaxation.
Owner of Float Haven Health Spa & NJMOMpreneur: Bronwyn Lyman
NJMOM: What do you offer to your clients and how is it different than other professionals in your field?
Bronwyn: Float Haven Health Spa is a dream that came out of a need to find everything I wanted in a holistic spa, in a single location. Throughout New Jersey, although there are various float centers, a place with a salt room, yoga studios, and massage therapy, I couldn’t seem to find somewhere that offered it all. As a busy mom, I didn’t have time to drive between all of these places. Float Haven offers floating, halotherapy, massage, laser therapy, Reiki, detox foot baths, meditation, 4D ultrasound, and holistic facial treatments – all under one roof. We have regular classes on topics from pain management to singing bowls, yoga, nutrition, essential oils, acu-yoga (acupuncture + yoga), Reiki share, and more. So many people can be helped by the vast array of Float Haven’s services; we have clients with colds and coughs, allergies/asthma, COPD, cystic fibrosis, rare lung conditions, PTSD, anxiety/depression, chronic and acute muscle pain, autism, fibromyalgia, arthritis, and more.
Not only am I one of Float Haven’s owners, I am also a massage therapist and an integrative nutrition coach working out of the wellness center. As for my massage services, I feel I offer something very different than people are used to in terms of bodywork. I am known for deep tissue and focus work while using various modalities in one session. A client may experience cupping, laser therapy, kinesiology taping, myofascial work with tools, and more in a single session. Many therapists will not work with children, but I welcome all ages in search of healing.
NJMOM: What inspired you to get into your line of work?
Bronwyn: When I was a teenager, my sister had a horrible reaction to getting her booster immunizations (seizures and Guillain Barre) and it was really tough to watch someone have such terrible side effects from a medication. I had a job in my early 20s and after a no-show they required me to go to a counselor in order to stay employed with them. The doctor prescribed me an anti-anxiety/anti-depressant my-antidepressant-info. One dose and my legs were shaking and I couldn’t sit still. Needless to say, I didn’t take it again. It was from that moment on that I became wary of using medications.
When I had my first child, he was colic and had motion sickness. As he got older, we learned after months of counseling, blood sugar tests, and elimination diet that his moods and anger were affected by food dyes and corn syrup. I found natural solutions for sleeping, coughs, and aches that worked for us. Massage was one of these solutions that helped my boys with digestion and sleep (and worked wonders for me during my pregnancies!). The original plan was for me to go to massage school and return to Kodiak, Alaska and turn the B&B I owned there into a women’s center. Instead, I moved back to New Jersey and transformed the idea into more of a holistic wellness center which became Float Haven.
NJMOM: What is your favorite part about your business?
Bronwyn: Seeing and hearing reactions from clients’ faces after they’ve had a treatment or hearing from moms about how much better their children feel. To know you have played a part in helping someone find healing is so rewarding. I’m also in love with our salt room; it’s my favorite spot in Float Haven.
NJMOM: What is your background in your business expertise?
Bronwyn: I come from a family of business owners. We are the third generation to own a business in my hometown. When I lived in Alaska, my ex-husband and I owned a ship fabrication business, bed and breakfast, and a gift shop. As for the holistic side of things, that’s been a part of our lifestyle since having children.
NJMOM: What are you most proud of in your career?
Bronwyn: I’m not sure which one I’m prouder about: taking the steps I needed to provide for my family (graduating from massage school as a single mom at 40) or seeing my dream of a holistic wellness center come true.
NJMOM: What is something few people know about you?
Bronwyn: I’m pretty much an open book, so this is a tough question. I’ve traveled to all 50 states and my favorite is Alaska, where I lived for almost 15 years, followed closely by South Dakota and Wyoming.
NJMOM: What can we expect from you next year – personally and professionally?
Bronwyn: Personally, I plan to get some traveling back in my life. My kids and I miss the adventures of traveling. Professionally I will be rolling out more on the health coaching side of things. I’m not certain if it will be classes, private clients, or a mixture of the two. I have a vision for Float Haven helping more kids/adults with autism, and really want to reach out to more people struggling with anxiety and PTSD.
NJMOM: What charitable cause are you most passionate about?
Bronwyn: I don’t have one in particular that I’m drawn to the most. My heartstrings get tugged the most towards PTSD, anxiety/depression, and autism. I’d really like to do more in these areas through Float Haven. I must follow after my grandmother because she volunteered in too many charities to count. There are so many great ones in the area that are amazing. I think two of my favorite are Angels of God and Ranch Hope.
NJMOM: Who is your role model?
Bronwyn: All of the women in my family. They have giving hearts and volunteer their time, money, and skills to numerous families and charities. Grandmom Jones was a huge role model for all of us. She was a dedicated wife and mother, a nurse, owner of a successful business with my grandfather, leader in our church, and still managed to volunteer tons of time. She made stockings for soldiers, lap blankets for veterans, gowns for Operation Smile, head covers for newborns and cancer patients, was on the auxiliary for Ranch Hope, and volunteered at the Ranch Hope Thrift Store. She even donated her body to the medical school where she studied to become a nurse. Anyone who knew her knew how kind, caring and giving she was. She also taught me how to have a good work ethic (“time to lean means you have time to clean”). I think I started waiting on customers in the fabric store when I was 5 or 6 years old.
NJMOM: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Bronwyn: You need to foster your kids’ friendships. This might mean you need to lose some of your friends, but it will be worth it when you have well-behaved and respectful children. I really didn’t understand this when I was first told, but as my children were exposed to a few of my friends’ kids who were doing things I found unacceptable and mine started to show some of those same behaviors, I got it. In the same sense, I found children I thought of as great kids, with parents who held the same morals as I, and arranged play dates to help foster those friendships. That and, “teach them to say daddy first, so when they call out in the middle of the night you don’t have to get up.”
NJMOM: Do you have a favorite quote you live by?
Be the change you wish to see in the world.
I believe it is within each one of us to make the difference for the whole. If we just sit around and talk or judge or type out on social media or actual media, we’re doing nothing but sending out negativity and hot air. If you really want to see a change in anything, YOU need to be the one to do it. I use this as a mantra for how I live my life. I truly believe, if we all followed the BE, our society would be in a much happier place. For now, my goal is to BE the change in health and wellness via Float Haven.
NJMOM: What are your favorite things to do in New Jersey with your family?
Bronwyn: We head to Ocean City for a stroll on the boardwalk a few times a year and meet up with college friends several times in the summer. The best time to go is in May and September when things are open but not crowded. LBI is an excellent place to visit for its great beaches and the added bonus is that we get to meet up with our Alaskan friends. We enjoy visiting Red Bank Battlefield year-round when we want to get a nice walk and some fresh air without having to drive too far. We often find lots to do right here in our tiny town of Pitman – we have a beautiful downtown with restaurants, shops, art gallery, theater, and Alcyon Lake with trail and park. Pitman also has Fourth of July and Christmas parades, craft shows, Harry Potter Fest, and numerous other activities throughout the year.
NJMOM: What is the best part about being a mom for you?
Bronwyn: Watching my kids experience the ups and downs in life. The best is hearing them laugh and having them tell me about something they’ve done that makes them proud.
NJMOM: What are your favorite businesses in New Jersey?
Bronwyn: I love the businesses right here in my hometown of Pitman. We have gift shops, hair salons, ceramics, a painting place, printing, theater, wine bar, breweries, art gallery, plenty of delicious eateries that are all great, and of course, the businesses that reside within Float Haven (Raised at the Haven, Wonder Time LLC, Beauty Within, Luna Massage and Meditation, Seeds of Love and Kristin Booth).
NJMOM: Where do you reside and vacation in New Jersey?
Bronwyn: I live in Pitman, NJ. We only do day trips in NJ and we go to Ocean City and LBI.
NJMOM: What advice might you have for a fellow NJMOMpreneur who is just starting out?
Bronwyn: Don’t give up on your ideas and dreams. If you believe in yourself and your idea, and keep working towards it, it WILL happen. I pitched Float Haven to numerous possible investors hearing one ‘no’ after another. One man even took a red pen to my business plan and marked it up like a teacher grading a paper, then said no one would ever invest in me. I believed so strongly in the need for a place like our wellness center, that I was not going to allow a few no’s to stop me.
Also, don’t discount the support of family. Without the financial backing of my family, Float Haven would still be a dream. My sister and brother-in-law took a look at my business plan; they too saw the value and need for a wellness center. Ironically, our former family doctor’s building (where my sister got those booster shots) was listed for sale. It was more than we could do with our business plan, but my sister became determined as me to make this happen. She sat down with my Dad, showed him the plan and how it would help us, the town, and hopefully something to pass down to our kids, and he decided to purchase the building and rent it to his girls.
NJMOM: Anything else you’d like to tell moms in New Jersey?
Bronwyn: Float Haven came to be because of you. I wanted to create a place for holistic health and wellness that offered safe alternatives to modern medicine.