Before my experience with float therapy (or floating), if someone asked me to get in a pool of an Epsom water mix in the dark with no sound or light I would surely say no! The fear of being in the water in the dark was enough to keep me from trying it. Adding the possibility of drowning with salt water made it a never for me. I’ve always been told “never say never.” Whelp, that turned out to be true. When my neck, back, migraines, and muscle issues continued to progress and chiropractic care only doing so much, I had to turn to other measures that would benefit my situation without being costly and have longer lasting benefits along with the chiropractic care. I read up years ago on how athletes used this therapy and realized that there was a center near me. It was a distance away, but I was willing to try anything.
I found a Groupon online for the Float Therapy and Wellness Spa that I wanted to experience for the float therapy. This deal seemed to be right on time.
What is Float Therapy?
Float therapy also known as floating, is a method in which one lays in a solution of salinated water (1,200 pounds of Epsom salt) in a dark quiet environment deprived of light and sound. With the heated to skin temperature, salinated water (that makes you buoyant), it basically feels like floating on air. This therapy is used for body pain, stress relief, relaxation, meditation, addiction therapy, recuperation from an activity, or just life in general.
So why not just take a bath? What makes floating so special? Well, let me tell you. Float therapy is unique because unlike taking a bath in a confined tub with Epsom salt, the float tank is large enough for your full body to lie flat. Plus, the amount of salt makes floating effortless and the heated to skin temperature never gets cold causing you to not lose focus of your relaxation. Might I also add that unlike a bath where your electronic frequencies can penetrate into your bathroom or the disturbance from your neighbor (i.e. apartment) or outside (i.e. housemates, city), the tank and pod is specifically built to block out frequencies from the outside world, causing complete deprivation.
Benefits of Floating
Since we are water and water is life, this is the perfect environment to be in to heal your body and mind. The most sought after relaxing vacations evolve around water. When most of us think about a vacation or a means of relaxing we think of a beach, a waterfall, a gondola (which operates on water), the spa, or something as simple as a bath. Why not reap the benefits of water with an enhancement? So what exactly are the benefits of floating?
- Epsom salt is an anti-inflammatory, exfoliant, detoxifier
- Epsom salt for skin: muscle relaxant, softens skin, boosts magnesium levels
- Epsom salt for hair: frizz reducer, split end mender, anti-aging, volumizes hair
- Aids digestion and constipation
- Reduces stress and anxiety, promoting a better sleep
- Puts you in a theta wave state that allows you to tap into your creativity
- Aids in reducing depression
- Strengthens immune health
- Reduces blood pressure and improves circulation
- Helps jet lag
- Improves concentration
Float Therapy and Wellness Spa
The location that I went to was the Float Therapy and Wellness Spa. The spa was clean, professional, inviting, comforting, and relaxing. The perfect temperature atmosphere puts you in a relaxing mode to help you fall into your float faster. The guide was very knowledgeable. She explained everything and if there were any questions, she answered them flawlessly. She advised me that you need to be at least 18 years of age to float and 16 with an adults consent (this is dependent upon the facility). The location verifies this with a simple driver’s license.
This location had an option of using a float room or a pod. The room was like a body sized pool with a foot of water in it and the pod was like walnut shell that you open and close. Seriously, it looks like a sleep hibernation pod from a space movie. The pod is smaller than the room, but they offer similar benefits. It’s all a matter of preference. I opted for the room.
The sessions that you can purchase are for 30, 60, or 90 minutes. In my opinion, the session you choose is dependent upon how deep you want to float. For example, if you want to just contemplate then the 30 minutes is best. If you are a beginner and want to just try it out or simply relax, meditate or recuperate, then the 60 minutes is best. If you are advanced, want a deeper float, or there for body pain and want lasting results, then the 90 minutes is best.
After I filled out an intake form and waiver, I was given a guided tour of the facility, shown the bathrooms, enhancement, other spa rooms, and ended at my float room. I was given instructions about the before, after, and the float rooms safety measures. I was advised that along with the Epsom, there is a UV filtration system that sterilizes pool and cleanses the water, which is drained after each session. I was also told that each room was cleaned, sanitized, and each float tested before the next session. So basically sterilization was in full effect here. After my guide left, I began the experience.
In the actual float room there was a welcome basket with everything you could think of provided. Included in the basket was: a tiny bottle of water, ear plugs, towels, robe, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, makeup remover, a hair dryer, styling products, Vaseline (to cover cuts) and slippers (I rather bring my own, the preference is yours). You can opt to bring all of your own items, but there is no need to.
The tank contains customizable color changing lights and designs for the pre-float which is when the lights and the soothing music is on. You don’t have to customize your lights and designs, but felt like personalizing your float makes you feel more in control and comfortable. You are required to take a shower, from hair to toes, to wash off any oils and product from the body before getting into the float tank. After getting myself situated in my private room. I decided to begin my float.
Once I sat in the water, I took 3 deep breaths to calm my nervous system and my mind. Amazingly, the water literally felt like I was sitting on a cloud. My legs automatically started floating while I was sitting there. I just knew this was going to be a breeze. My pre-float ended, the music and lights were fading. I laid back in the water staring in the dark and instantly realized that I was going to have an issue: relaxing my head and neck without physically trying. As humans we tend to hold our heads up unconsciously. For example, when babies are sitting up, they have to learn how to hold their head up. It was like this in the water. No matter how hard I tried to just relax, my head and neck instinctively tried to hold itself afloat. There was a floatable head rest that I ended up using for some time. Eventually, I got used to the water holding my head, but my float was ending.
During the phase of being in full float mode (relaxation), it didn’t feel like loneliness yet I was alone. It felt like home. The full relaxation phase is tough to explain. It’s like emptiness and everything at the same time. Just being, no body, just consciousness. I knew that I was in a tank, but not feeling my body caused my mind to go into a lucid state or as some call it conscious dreaming or lucid dreaming. I was glad that I went in with a focus or I would have been confused or scared. Everyone’s experience will vary, just be mindful that your experience is unique to you.
Other than my head afloat issue, the experience was extremely relaxing. There were no disturbances. You couldn’t even hear conversations in the hall. It was truly a deprivation experience. I could lie there for hours, but eventually my skin would start to do some strange things and I would probably dehydrate from all of that salt.
Once my float was over, the music slowly turned back on and there was a voice over the intercom that brought me back to reality. I needed to leave. I lied there for a few more minutes getting my body and mind back in tact, back on the same wavelength waiting for the lights to come on so that I will not be disoriented leaving the tank. Once out of the tank, I proceed to take another shower to wash the salt water out of my hair and off of my body, lotion up, trashed my ear plugs, and got dressed. There was an option for doing an enhancement at the end of my float to elevate the experience. You can opt for the spa services (they will be an add on and cost extra). I chose the hydro massage bed enhancement. An enhancement allows for deeper relaxation, and more detoxification. The enhancements included an infrared sauna, 3D massage chair, or the hydro massage bed. To be honest, I should have chose the infrared sauna. I would have had a more elevated experience. I must admit though, the enhancement was enhancing. All puns aside, everything about this float therapy session was what my body and mind needed.
Going in with head and neck pain issues was resolved temporarily (few days). I feel like I was not able to fully resolve my head and neck issues for a longer lasting timeframe due to having that issue of fully relaxing. My muscle pain was subdued for 1 week and a half, which to me was a long time considering my severity. My migraines were averted for a week. Felt so good to be migraine and headache free. That week felt like a vacation. As for relaxation, deprogramming from life, and rejuvenating, this was a spot on treatment. I must say, being a skeptic and fearful has caused me to miss out of this one of a kind therapy.
Before I conclude, I would like to offer some tips for your float session. There are not many; however, they are extremely beneficial.
- Go into your float with a focus on your mind. For example, to be pain free, whatever you are contemplating, to be stress free, to get a deep relaxation, to heal from recuperation, or to meditate. This will help you fall into your float faster.
- Let go of the fear and worry of the experience. You will not drown if you fall asleep. If you are claustrophobic, do not be, the tank (room) is over 6 feet long so this is not a confined space. You have total control over your experience. If you feel uncomfortable there is always an alert button inside of the room within arms reach.
- Put your earplugs in before taking the shower, they form and seal better when dry. Trust me, I put them in after my shower and with my hand still being moist they did not form the proper seal.
- Thoroughly pre-wash before heading to the facility. It saves you wash time, there is a timer on your float. You don’t want your float to start before you get out of the shower. Remember you paid for a set amount of time, so get all the time you can.
- Do not shave or wax before floating, it will sting! If you have any cuts, cover it with the Vaseline (petroleum) provided to prevent any stinging and burning.
- Remove your contacts! Just in case you happen to get the salinized water in your eyes, you don’t want to experience that pain. Note: Good thing I did because I accidentally touched my face and rubbed my eye.
- Eat a small meal at least an hour before floating. This will provide an uninterrupted float from your digestive system.
- Do not drink caffeine before your float. Caffeine is made to energize and the last thing you want to to be energized while trying to relax.
Overall, the float therapy experience was the perfect break that is needed from constantly being around electronics 24/7 with all of those frequencies being emitted and well as frequencies that other people emit. I definitely would add more float sessions to my self-care and health-care routine. Have you had a float therapy session experience that you would like to share? Do you have any tips for beginner floaters? Feel free to share in the comment section below.