Today I experienced my first float therapy session. Talk about being relaxed! I’m still so relaxed that it’s hard to stay awake to finish writing this post, but I want to tell you about it while my float is still fresh in my mind.
Float (or flotation) therapy is becoming a very popular method for deep relaxation. I had never heard of a float tank before my step-son gave me a gift certificate (thanks, Nick!). I’m open to anything that might help me physically, emotionally, or spiritually, so I was pretty excited because floating is said to have all of those benefits.
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What is Float Therapy?
Float (or flotation) therapy is also commonly referred to as sensory deprivation or REST (Reduced Environmental Stimulus Therapy).
Basically, float therapy gives you a quiet, perfectly comfortable private room to disconnect from the busyness (sometimes chaos) of life. The goal is to disconnect with the external world and reconnect with your inner self. It’s a self-care activity that comes with great benefit.
The float tank has 10″-12″ of water with 1200 pounds of high quality Epsom salt added to it. The salt makes the water extremely buoyant so your body easily floats at the surface. Epsom salt also has Magnesium Sulfate, so you get the health benefits of the Magnesium of which many people are deficient.
The water and air are skin temperature, so it’s all very comfortable. The temperature combined with the buoyancy of the water creates a feeling of weightlessness.
The float spa where I went had two different styles of float tanks. I was in one that was like a large egg-shaped pod with hydraulic hinges that easily opened and closed the lid. It had an optional light under the water, and pretty little lights on the top that looked like stars.
There was a little towel and a fresh water spritz bottle available in case I got water in my eyes. I didn’t but it was nice to know it was there just in case.
The other tank style was more like a small room; so you step over a 12 inch ledge as you go through the door to what was essentially a huge bathtub.
My Float Therapy Experience
Since this was my first float, I went into it with no expectations. I didn’t know what it would look like, feel like, or even what I wanted out of the experience.
The float was a true spa experience. Everything about it from the moment I walked into the building was very soothing and relaxing. They provided personal instructions and made sure I understood everything I needed to know.
I started by showering right in the float tank room to remove any oils that would end up in the water. I also removed my jewelry and put in the ear plugs they provided.
Once my session began, I had no problem closing the lid. I didn’t feel closed in, but others may need to work up to fully closing the pod. Then I had to make a few decisions on what would be most comfortable for me.
- Head support: I decided to use an optional styrofoam head rest. I didn’t necessarily need it, but I tried it both with and without, and decided to use it.
- Arms: I then had to figure out where it would be most comfortable to put my arms. Some people like their arms up by their head. I settled on just letting them float straight at my side.
- Lighting: I immediately was comfortable with turning off the underwater light but I left the star lights on in the top of the tank.
- Sound: There was relaxation music playing and I had control of the volume. I often listen to meditation-type music as I fall asleep, so I enjoyed the music and it played an important role in helping me relax. Some people may feel more comfortable with total silence, it’s all a matter of personal preference.
Ah… I’m now comfortable and it’s time to turn off my thoughts just like meditating. I haven’t meditated regularly in a while, so it took me some time to truly let go of my thoughts.
The first thing I noticed is how I could hear my breathing almost like from within me. It’s really hard to explain, but it was sort of like hearing my breaths from inside of me versus with my ears.
The concept of time was interesting. At one point it seemed like it was going to be a long time, yet it felt surprisingly short when the lights came back on to indicate the float time had come to an end.
For me, I felt the float was like a deep meditation. I have meditated in the past and I know I get better at slowing my thoughts the more I meditate.
Related Reading: Meditation: What It Is | Why You Should Do It | How To Start
Since everything was so new to me, it took me a while to get settled so I could truly slow my thoughts and fully relax. Now that I know what to expect in general, as well as some specifics such as what’s most comfortable for me, I have no doubt that next time I will more quickly go into that state of consciousness where everything seems to “just be” and ideas mysteriously come to mind.
The After Float Experience
You’d think after being in water for an hour that my skin would have been wrinkly. Nope! It felt really soft and the Epsom salt must have prevented the wrinkling that normally happens after a long bath.
There was a float lounge available for reflection and decompression. The dim lights and relaxing music helped me take the much needed time to come out of a deep feeling of relaxation.
They served delicious tea which was a nice touch while I was taking this time for self-care. The name brand was Tiesta Tea and was served in a tea seeping cup. I recently purchased an electric kettle so I already placed an Amazon order for the Tiesta tea and a tea seeping cup (both pictured below from Amazon) so I can pamper myself with the whole experience.
The float lounge also had journals available so people could optionally write down what they were feeling or about their float experience. I enjoyed reading the thoughts and experiences of previous “floaters.”
It seemed that many used the float therapy to help with emotional pain such as depression, anxiety, grief, etc. One mom wrote about having lost her son to an overdose just 17 days prior to her journal entry. Others spoke about their struggle with depression or feeling stuck.
I talked with a woman while in the lounge who floats once per week. She has fibromyalgia and float therapy takes her pain from a 7, 8, or 9 to a 2, 3, or 4. What a fantastic all-natural way to get pain relief! She also said she sleeps better for about 2 nights after each float.
Do I Recommend Float Therapy?
Yes! Based on my experience with float therapy, I think it’s a fantastic self-care activity. Not only does it provide quiet time to escape the craziness life sometimes presents, it also has wonderful all-natural physical benefits. (Read my article about easing the overwhelm of life chaos.)
My experience was at the Floating Light located in Appleton, WI. I was not provided any discount nor was I asked to write this article. I am doing so because I want to share my positive experience in hopes that others will try float therapy and enjoy the benefits.
Although it’s the closest float spa from our home, it’s still a few hours away. If there were one close to home, I would absolutely be there again in a week.
Discount for You: The Floating Light gives all their customers a promotional code to pass out to others who might want to try float therapy. Use the code ellenburgan to receive $10 off a 90-minute float or 3-hour float, and $5 off a 60-minute float journey. I thank you ahead of time for using my promotional code as I will receive “float bucks” each time my code is used.
You won’t be able to get the benefits of float therapy in your own bath tub, but adding a couple hand fulls of Epsom salt to your bath water will provide benefit.
Now that I am familiar with the process, I’m sure I’d be able to more quickly get into a deep meditative state and really reap the benefits of the float therapy. I’ve also read that the benefits get deeper after the first few float therapy sessions. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts about float therapy – drop me a comment below!
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