So today was my first float.
For those of you who don’t know, I suffer from mild anxiety. So when a friend told me about the new Sensory Deprivation Float Center that just opened where I live, I was skeptical but optimistic. After a flu bug ravaged my home and two weeks off work, I was a ball of stress. I haven’t been able to put pen to paper in what feels like forever. That puts me behind on deadlines, which further stresses me out, which creates a vicious cycle.
Today I had my first appointment at the Harmony Isolation Float Center. And I was nervous going in, again mostly becasue of my anxiety. What if I can’t breathe? How sanitary is it? Do I have to be *gulp* naked?
After giving me the tour of the spa (and it IS a spa, complete with post-float meditation rooms, hot beverages, and even table games and puzzles) and answering all my (many, obnoxious) questions, I was taken to my private room for my float.
There’s a shower for a pre-soak rinse (and a post-soak clean up), fluffy cotton towels, and a generally relaxing atmosphere in the room. They show me how the machine works, set my timer, and I’m on my own.
The tank door doesn’t lock or even latch. There’s no being trapped inside. I could even, had I wanted to, left the tank door cracked or full open during the soak.
The water is body temperature and full of epsom salts, so much salt that it’s impossible NOT to float. There were a few small pool noodles and a neck pillow, all of which I end up tossing out of the tank five minutes into the float. I didn’t need them and would brush up against one every so often, jerking me from my float-trance.
There was a small blue light in the tank. I thought I’d need it, since I have a mild dislike of small enclosed spaces, but I quickly turned it off. The tank wasn’t huge but it was plenty roomy and I rarely ever felt the edges. There was a warmer in the tank in case I got cold, but I didn’t need that either. I was never cold, and never overly warm. Rather, there was a sensation of not being in water at all, and eventually I didn’t even feel the water cradling me. Around what I assume is the 30 minute mark (time passes in a very odd way in the tank, first seeming painfully slow, then, a sensation of ‘It’s already been 90 minutes?!?!) the hallucinations set in. I say hallucinations, but that’s not a great word for it. Dreams maybe? Errant ideas? My muscles became numb, my body relaxed, and my mind drifted. At first my anxiety tried to take hold (Is that my phone ringing? Did I miss my exit timer?) but that quickly gave way to other things, peaceful things. Occasionally I would stretch out, flexing this muscle or that joint, not becasue I needed to, but becasue it simply felt SO GOOD.
When I finally crawled out of the tank it was something akin to being born again. My arms and legs were heavy from the return to gravity, my eyes fighting to adjust to the harsh light (even though it was actually a very warm, mild light in reality). But more than that, my mind was clear. The stress I’d been carrying in my neck, shoulders, and back were gone.
I’m DEFINITELY going back. I can see how this sort of therapy would really benefit people with joint pain, stress, anxiety, and injuries. For me, it was a way to let go of the crap holding me down and refresh myself. If you’ve been thinking of going–GO. If you’re scared or nervous, GO ANYWAY. I promise you won’t regret it!