Why You Have To Try Float Therapy
I tried float therapy and I’m in love!
If you are interested in trying meditation, already do it, or just want to see what zero gravity feels like, then you have to experience this.
Imagine feeling completely weightless. Imagine being free from any expectations and unbothered by any stimulation. It’s not often we get to experience true peace and quiet. Float therapy gets you pretty close!
I’m sure you might be thinking “what is float therapy, what does it entail, and why is this girl so obsessed with it?”
This post talks about what float therapy is, how it works, my personal experience, and tips for first timers! By the end of this, you’ll have a better understanding of what it is and if it’s right for you.
"When you are forced to be with yourself, you find yourself."
WHAT IS FLOAT THERAPY?
Float therapy, or sensory deprivation, is a relatively recent alternative to traditional meditation practices. Meditation is the practice of being present, quieting the mind, and learning to just be with yourself and your thoughts. For some, this may sound kind of scary, and to be honest, it can be. We are so busy in our daily lives that we rarely have time to stop and just be with our thoughts and really listen. However, this practice can be relaxing, freeing, and can help improve both mental and physical health. In my experience, as well as other's I'm sure, sitting or lying meditation can be hard starting out. Surrounding lights and noises can be distracting, and the urge to fidget is real! Not to mention the constant readjusting to find a "comfortable" position. Although meditation involves learning to sit with these distractions and discomforts, it can be tough to stick with starting out. That is why float therapy is a great option, especially if you are new to meditation!
In float therapy, you lay in an enclosed tub filled shallowly with water that has a high concentration of Epsom salt, which makes you float. The water is just deep enough for you to comfortably float without feeling the bottom beneath you. Although the point is to experience complete sensory deprivation, this can be intimidating for many, at least starting out. The float tanks have adjustable lights and music to customize your experience to make you more comfortable - that way if you're not ready for complete sensory deprivation, you can still enjoy the experience. The point is to float and meditate without outside stimulation and distractions. Float therapy can have mental and physical benefits such as mental clarity, reduced stress, and improved skin.
BEFORE - Upon arriving, there is some paperwork that has to be filled out. It asks general questions about your health and any specific concerns. Then, you are taken back to the float room where you are briefed on the process and how the tank works. The float tank is basically a giant tub with a lid. Before entering the float tank, you are required to shower (most places will have a shower in the float room) and rinse off any hair or skin products. Towels and earplugs are provided, as well as a floating headrest.
DURING - You can enter the float tank in a swimming suit or nude. After carefully getting into the tank, you pull the top down with you as you sit. You can adjust the light or music level so that you are comfortable. Then you lay back, relax, and enjoy! The length of time varies, but if you get antsy, you can always get out and take a break. You can start with everything off, or start with the music and lights on until you get relaxed, then turn them off. When your session is over, the light comes back on if it was off, and a voice comes on the speaker gently telling you that your session is over.
AFTER - Once your session is over, you shower off again to rinse the salt off and get dressed. Some places might have a lounge for you to relax in after your float session so that you can slowly readjust to all of the stimulation, and bring some of that peace and relaxation back into your active life.
My personal experience
The first time I floated, I was a little nervous just because I didn't know exactly what to expect. Although I'm not claustrophobic, the thought of lying in an enclosed space for an hour was a little scary. When I arrived, I was greeted and walked through all of the instructions. The woman made sure I didn't have any more questions and before leaving, she asked me what my preference for music was. I quickly showered and got into the float tank. Once I closed the top, I floated with the music and light on for the first 20 minutes or so until I felt relaxed and less nervous. Then I shut the light off and floated in the dark for the last 40 minutes. While I did find it hard to calm my thoughts, the feeling of zero gravity added a whole new element to my mediative experience. The feeling of absolutely nothing is really cool and extremely physically relaxing. Afterwards, I hung out in the lounge and took advantage of the relaxing atmosphere and music, as well as free tea and water. I left feeling more calm and relaxed.
My second time visiting, I was greeted by name! Such a warming feeling. I was more excited for this float session because I knew what to expect and was more relaxed going in. This time, I started my float with just the music on. About half way through I turned the music off and floated in complete darkness and silence. Laying there with my eyes open in the dark, no light or sound, was a crazy experience. After really calming my mind and breathing, I got to a point where I felt nothing my my heartbeat. I left this session feeling even more relaxed and mentally clear than the first time.
tips for first timers
- Do your research! - Find a place that looks safe and welcoming. Make sure you feel comfortable with the staff and that they are willing to answer all of your questions. Sensory deprivation is becoming popular in many areas - I just googled searched "sensory deprivation in my area". If you live in Northern Virginia, I highly recommend checking out the place where I floated - Mystic Flow Wellness Center in Gainesville. They are so friendly and welcoming, and my entire experience there was amazing! They are also affordable and have great package options!
- Eat beforehand! - You don't want to eat right before, but you also don't want to go in on an empty stomach! I made that mistake the first time and was listening to my stomach growl the whole time!
- Use the bathroom before! - At most places, you will be floating for at least an hour. Make sure you go before so you don't have to interrupt your float session!
- Do not shave within 24 hours of floating! - Freshly shaven skin means open pores and possible cuts you are unaware of. The epsom salt in the water will definitely burn if you have shaved right before or have any open cuts on the skin.
- Listen to you gut! - If you have claustrophobia or are even slightly afraid of enclosed spaces, this may not be the best option for you. Make sure you are listening to your mind and body, and definitely don't do something that might send you into a panic. The right place will even let you go in and look at the float tanks before deciding to book a session.
Whether you are into meditation or are looking for a cool experience, I highly recommend trying float therapy. You may be surprised when you realize the mental and physical benefits that come from just floating!