There are still many people out there that have not heard of floating so I wanted to be sure to share my experience. I am a fan of all healthy ways that help promote relaxation. When it comes to relationships and managing emotions, knowing what a calm state feels like and the ability to get yourself into a calm state is an essential characteristic of maintaining lasting relationships because our minds are at optimal function and rationality when we are calm. It is what enables us to communicate, understand and problem solve well. I encourage my clients to practice a lifestyle of relaxation as much as possible. It is essential to managing mental health and relationships.
Turns out floating has many benefits, relaxation being only one of them. Floating basically means you soak in an enclosed “pod” full of a ton of Epson salt. These pods are meant to provide sensory deprivation, the air and water (which is only maybe 2 feet deep?) are kept at body temperature, you wear ear plugs to minimize sound and keep water out of your ears, and the pods have a switch to turn off all light once you are ready and comfortable so there remains only darkness, comfort and quiet. It is a rare experience to have our senses that still and quiet. There is so much salt used that it creates complete buoyancy. The only thing you need to do is lay in a comfortable position and unwind. You can even doze off without worry.
These pods have been around since the seventies but they are making quite a comeback and becoming a new trend. Epson salt is a pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate which are readily absorbed through the skin and promotes a number of health benefits such as improved muscle and nerve function, reduces inflammation, and even helps prevent hardening of the arteries leading to better heart health. I just wanted to address floating for relaxation purposes for this blog. I will let you do your own research if you haven’t already on the effects of Epson salt but there is just a small bit to peak your interest for now!
I tried FloatSeattle/Float Bellevue on a weekend getaway for my first float which offered superb services but look forward to trying it again at FloatOn, The Float Shoppe or Enso Float which are locations in the Portland metro. I will keep you posted on their reviews when I get around to it!
Things you may wish to know as a first-time floater:
- Yes, you float naked.
- You are provided a private room that has towels, a shower, shampoo, soap etc and everything else you need to float. All you need to bring is you. And maybe a hair brush/comb.
- Bring one of their small hand towels in the pod with you to lap over the bar that is used to open and close the pod. It is handy in case you happen to get salt water in your eyes or have an itch. Be sure to dry your hands first as you do not want this salt water in your eyes!
- Do not shave the day of your float. If you happen to have any cuts, they give you Vaseline to put over them as that water will make them sting!
- Don’t worry about being claustrophobic, you can always leave the pod open or leave it cracked if that bothers you. Also, they are bigger than you might expect and you have an easy way out, any time you need it, so that also helps.
- Leave the light on if you want. Some pods also have music and some people even choose to keep the music playing. Point is, make yourself comfortable and get acquainted with things on your first float. I spent time moving around and holding the sides to get still, flipping the light on and off just to get comfy. You can keep your arms down to the side, turned up or even fold your hands behind your head, which I found to be most comfortable.
- I have heard some people get a bit disoriented or even motion sickness due to the sensation of not feeling grounded with any senses. I suggest touching the walls, turning the light on or sitting up once you first feel those feelings. You don’t need to tough things out just for them to get worse.
- Go in with no expectation other than to observe the experience for whatever it ends up being. Let your thoughts be, take care and make yourself comfortable, and don’t worry about the time. The lights and music will automatically turn on at the end of your float.
I value many things like yoga, prayer and meditation, and massage for relaxation as well but floating for me, in particular, I found quite valuable because there is so rarely time that I am alone and uninterrupted! I would gladly pay for that experience again!
Good luck with your first float! I would love to hear more about it!
In addition to the lifestyle changes we encourage, therapy offers more internal and cognitive tools to help one relax, manage stress and regulate intense emotions. Don’t hesitate to contact us for help.