Flotation (floatation) therapy, though not new, is becoming increasingly more popular as studies are finding it can benefit a wide variety of people! From those that are in sports, to those with chronic pain, to even those that just want to relax. It's essentially hitting the "reset" button!
hat is it?
It's floating in a pod/tank filled with approximately 200 gallons of water and 800 pounds of Epsom salt for an hour. Similar to as if you were floating in the Dead Sea! While floating, your body absorbs the salt minerals and flotation therapy gives you all sorts of benefits.
Some use this therapy to enter a relaxed and meditative state. But you don't just have to be interested in meditation to do this. It can help you with
- Pain relief
- Lowering blood pressure
- Reducing stress, anxiety, & depression
- Improving your mood
- Easing muscle ache
- Chronic symptoms
- Migraine relief
- Improving sleep
- Magnesium levels
You can do this when pregnant too! I wish I knew this for all the hip and joint pain I experienced. Just make sure you get the okay from your doctor.
It was actually on my birthday when I decided I wanted to try something new. I thought, "Gosh darn it. I've survived this long. I deserve to float."
A quick google search to see where I should go and
I don't have a fear of tight spaces or the dark, which would keep most people from doing this. Instead, my fears were how I was going to survive
You see, I get bored easily and my husband jokingly (is he though?) calls me a workaholic.
But like the brave woman I am, I pushed those fears aside, ripped open the front doors, and marched right into my appointment.
Once my room was ready, the float employee led me to my private room and gave me a little spiel about how it all works.
Here are some general things to know and some noteworthy things that stuck out to me:
- You're supposed to shower before you get in and when you leave (showers are there). No conditioner the first time though.
- The tank is not actually all that warm. For some reason, I pictured a big steaming bath. The water is 96 degrees (around body temp) which to me is lukewarm, almost
cold,since I like my baths HOT. I suggest taking a colder shower before so the tank feels warm and saving your steaming shower for after.
- They don't tell you anything about what you should wear, because ultimately it's up to you. I arrived with my swimsuit under my clothes because I wasn't sure what to expect. Even after seeing it was a private room, I just decided to keep it on because I felt more comfortable that way. But yes, you can be naked.
- Just know you will be made aware of any cuts you didn't know you had when you get in the water. My place provided a protectant cream for the cuts you did know about, along with distilled water if you get any salt water in your eyes.
- Bring some lotion for when you're done because the salt will really dry out your skin.
- If they offer ear plugs, take them. Or bring your own. Unless you like the feeling of water in your ears days after you're done!
Okay, moving on
During my first shower, the tub filled up automatically and I got in to start my floating. I had chosen a "zen" music station and a light show happened for the first 10 minutes.
I struggled with knowing what to do with my head at first. It seemed like I wasn't completely relaxing properly because I could feel my neck and shoulders tensing up.
I took my hair out the top knot it was in and that helped my head feel not as heavy. I then saw this round
Once I felt my neck tension start to go away, I just let myself float in the dark and tried to clear my head.
It is a pretty cool sensation, I can't lie. The feeling is what you would feel like if you were in space (is what I'm told). If you really let yourself relax though, you feel like you're floating in mid-air (that I know).
I wasn't meditating and I didn't fall
I had initially just wanted to do a half hour because I thought that's all I could handle. However, they recommend an hour because it takes some people just a half hour to finally let themselves relax.
So, okay, an hour it was, but I was then left wondering what to do with my umm...45 more minutes.
I found myself getting a tad bored (which I thought would happen) so I took advantage of the weightless feeling and "swam" by pushing myself off the edges and doing some awesome gymnast moves, Olympic style.
The salt. Oh, the salt.
Imagine you're at the ocean for the first time and you're a little shocked by how your eyes burn when the salt water hits them. Take that up a couple of notches and that's what it felt like for me.
Though, admittedly, that's user error. Nowhere do they suggest to swim and dance in your peaceful serene floating tank.
Okay, swimming over. Back to relaxing.
As I was floating and staring up at this big egg-shaped plastic lid (the lights were automatic and came on because I was moving so much), I realized there was a handle to pull the top down.
Now, most people might be freaking out about being in a closed coffin (ahem tank), but that didn't bother me as much.
In fact, I thought it might enhance the experience or why else would it be there? I had to get up a bit to reach the handle and as I was pulling it down it gave out a freakishly loud creak that startled me so much I fell back into the water.
Who falls in a floating tank??
Who has two thumbs and is clumsy??
So I decided this was a sign I should stop trying to move so much and just be. This could be a life lesson too. I spent the rest of my time floating, relaxing, and praying.
A voice came on (no, it wasn't God) with the light show to give me a little warning and the tub started to automatically drain.
I popped out, body physically feeling lighter and more relaxed, showered, got dressed, and made my way home.
So, conclusion. Should you try it? Should you not?
I personally didn't have a "mind-blowing-my-life-is-now-insanely-more-peaceful" experience, but honestly, I'm not sure if I could with my personality. Though there are enough people out there saying how much they were able to relax that I think it's a good enough reason for you to give it a try.
Insanely peaceful experience or not, I do gotta say it was nice to float and be weightless in the dark and quiet. No phone. No fussy baby. Nobody asking me anything. And whether I totally "let go" or not, there are still all those physical benefits!
A quiet floating hour may be heaven to some and torture for others. Many people report that the more times they do it, the faster they relax and the
But even if you're like me and find an hour of doing nothing a little difficult, I think it's worth a try. At least once. Maybe it will show you that you need to learn to slow down!
I'm really curious to know what you think about flotation therapy, if you've tried it, and if you ever would.