Floating...You Gotta Try It
A couple of years ago when I first saw an ad for a place where you pay to float in a pod, I thought it was the stupidest thing ever. I can float in my bathtub for free after spending $5 at the dollar store for some water wings.
Last summer, my Adventure Sisters saw a Groupon for a local float place, so a couple of us decided that for $7, it was worth saying we did it.
It was one of the most relaxing experiences of my life…on par with, maybe even more relaxing than, a massage.
Fast forward to January. I knew it was important to do whatever I could to take care of myself. Grieving is hard work. It places high demands on your energy, your thoughts, your emotions, your body. So when I saw a Groupon for float therapy, I grabbed it.
I showed up at Newport Float Therapy this morning and encountered not a simple pod but a tank with a steel door. This was more daunting than the simple pod I’d floated in previously. But I was comforted knowing I was in complete control of that door being open or closed. Also, I was assured that this tank was certified for cleanliness like none other. Yes, there’s some governing body somewhere that invests their time in making sure float tanks are clean, and according to the owner, these are the cream of the crop.
After showering, I stepped, or rather tripped, into the tank. If you decide to try it, just remember to enter the water carefully, without splashing. If you happen to carelessly plop down into the water and splash it into your eyes like I did — it burns. It’s salt water on steroids. And when you try to rub the salt water out of your eyes, you discover that your fingers are covered in salt water also. After this realization, I used the handy dandy spray bottle of water provided to rinse out my eyes and then gingerly lowered myself into the water and began my float.
The water was warm, the tank completely dark and silent.
You may be starting to hyperventilate. I realize it’s not for everyone. You can actually keep the door cracked for some light if you prefer.
I did exit the tank for a second because I got a little paranoid that I wasn’t wearing the earplugs they provide. I wondered if somehow the salt water would seep through my eardrum and cause erosion in my cranium. Once the earplugs were securely inserted, I carefully got back in the water and continued my float.
It’s the most amazing thing — your body is not touching anything but water; you’re not hearing anything; and you don’t see anything. It is sensory deprivation. Anyone who knows me knows that I researched this before AND after I did it. There are studies that say floating MAY have a positive impact on anxiety, depression, and chronic pain and that it may contribute to an overall sense of well-being. It has even been used for PTSD.
Today was no different than my first float. After getting re-settled following the earplug emergency, my mind was free of intrusive thoughts, my body was relaxed, and I’m pretty sure I fell asleep because I did that jerking thing like when you’re in bed and all of a sudden wake yourself up, but when you do that in the float tank, it creates a nice subtle wave affect. When the music began to play in the tank after an hour, I emerged from the warm salty water feeling completely relaxed and tranquil. And I still feel like that.
I have one more float on the Groupon. Thinking of doing the membership. It’s that good.
So go ahead. Make fun of me. I’m now one of those people who pays to float in a dark, silent pod. Or in this case, a tank.