I did my first float last night and wanted to describe in detail what that experience was like for me. First, let me start by discussing what floating is and how I got interested in the first place. I have been listening to a lot of podcasts over the years and the term floating comes up quite a bit. Float tanks are sensory reduction tanks in which you climb into a pod (or something similar) that has 12 inches of water and 1200 lbs. of Epsom salt. The idea is that you float on your back and feel completely weightless as though you are floating in space. It is typically dark and quiet to let your mind and body completely relax. I will back up a little bit more for a moment. Years ago my doctor had mentioned that when my joints and body were really stiff, sore and swollen that taking baths with Epsom salt would be beneficial since Epsom is so good for arthritic pain. The caveat is that all that salt is not necessarily great for septic systems so I used this technique when my body really needed. The idea that these tanks have 1200 lbs. of Epsom salt make them wonderful for pain in general, back pain, neck pain, joint pain, muscle soreness and other types of pain.
I did some research and found a place near my home to try out a tank. They have pods or a room. Last night was my first visit but won’t be my last. I was in a pod and will try a room next time. My experience starts with a lovely couple at the front desk that are more than welcoming and really take time with me since this is my first visit. There is a short video you watch and waiver to sign. They explain to me that I can choose a light color and music track. I have also thought that you enter these things in the pitch black and complete silence. They explain that I can turn this all off but for the first visit I may want light, music, or both. They take me to my room and inside the room is a shower, pod and filtration system. They explain that I will need to shower first to ensure that I do not have any makeup, location, perfume or anything else on my body or hair and the I climb into the pod.
There is a huge lid that I closed when I climb in and the pod is big enough to sit up in so it is not like a tanning bed which I originally had thought. I pull the lid down and lie back. I instantly start to float and try to relax. My body did not relax at first and felt my neck and back tighten up as though I had to keep myself a float instead of just letting go and letting the water hold me. If you have ever tried to totally relax in a savanssana yoga pose it is very difficult and this was too. I turned off the light and music and realize it was pitch black and completely silent. I got a little un-easy so I turned on the music but left the light off. You are in there for 90 minutes but obviously you have no idea how long you have been in there until the voice tells you that your float is complete. I did eventually start to relax and even dosed off for a brief moment but I don’t think I could actually sleep in the pod. At some moment in my float my body felt cold and I got distracted so I tried to warm back up but instead decided to cut my float short and jump in the hot shower. I turned back on my light and sat up in the pod. I did some stretches then climbed out to a hot shower. As it turns out I only cut my float short by 5 minutes so for 85 minutes things were comfortable and relaxing.
I explained to the couple that I got cold and they said they would make a note on my account for a little warmer water and also suggested that I try the room next time since it stays a little warmer naturally. Also, I’ll be careful next time to not take a warm shower but try and endure a cold shower so the water will feel warmer as well. My body runs cold and with my Raynaud’s I really don’t like feeling cold, but I did like the experience enough to try it again and see how I do.
When I went in my hips and lower back were very sore. I have been limping just slightly due to hip pain I have encountered since our move. I think hauling heavy boxes, walking lots of stairs and not being able to really rest and relax have caused my body pain and fatigue. When I left the float place my body felt great and I slept really well. I woke up this morning feeling really good as well, and then headed out for my walk. By the time I had finished my walk, my hips were hurting again and I had that slight limp. I need to watch this and try and fix it and just perhaps floating, massage, yoga and general rest are just what I need.