When some team members from Buoyant came to Whole Foods and introduced* me to float therapy a couple months ago, I was all ears. I’ll try anything once. Besides, It’s my last week in the Midwest! And what better way to treat myself other than floating in a sensory deprivation tank?
Float therapy is exactly what it sounds like. You float in a water tank with 850 pounds of epsom salt in complete silence and darkness for 60 minutes. The basic concept here is that floating reduces external stimuli as much as possible to help the body achieve a natural restorative state. Some people compare the experience of floating to meditation or even yoga.
When I told people that I was going to try this, I would get two reactions; That sounds relaxing, or that sounds absolutely ridiculous! A quick google search before my appointment yielded some unexpected benefits to floating. Stress reduction and anxiety relief were the benefits that sealed the deal for me.
When I arrived, I signed a waiver and was quickly escorted to my changing room. Mind you, the changing/ locker rooms were so tranquil. The light linens and the succulents all over the building made me feel at home. From there, I was instructed to change into my robe, shower and wash my hair(or wear a shower cap) to prepare for my session. Hygiene is really important here and I appreciated that. As I showered, I even got to see my tank fill up with water. The tanks are drained and cleaned between customers. I was told this was something unique to Buoyant vs the other float spa’s in STL. The assurance that no one else was stewing in the water before me made me more comfortable getting into the tank.
The tank was larger than I expected it to be. I’m not quite claustrophobic but I hate feeling “stuck” in small places. I was able to sit completely up with the tank closed. I could also stretch my arms out while floating and didn’t touch the sides of the tank.
After the tank was full of water, nature sounds began to play and eased me into my session. I didn’t know what to expect. The only point of reference I had was that episode of The Simpsons where Lisa goes on a spiritual journey while in a sensory deprivation tank.
As the light dimmed to a complete darkness I realized I really didn’t have to do anything to float. My mind wandered but it was the good, mindful kind of thinking. I thought about the shower cap on my head and how quiet everything was. The only sound I could hear was my grumbling stomach and the sound of the water seeping into my shower cap. I began to think about my locs and if anyone invented shower caps that could actually accommodate them. Would a place like this carry them if they did exist?? After awhile, there was no clear line between consciousness and unconsciousness. I eventually drifted off into a half sleep, half daydreaming purgatory until the end of my session.
When my session was complete, the peaceful nature sounds began and the light eased back on to alert me it was time to go. I showered, washed and dried my hair. Though I’ve heard of people who have, I did not have any type of dramatic life-changing experience from my first floating experience, but I did notice some benefits. Most noticeably, I felt very relaxed and calm the rest of the day, even when I returned to the beautiful chaos of packing for a cross country move. Even now, a day later, I feel more at ease than I have in weeks.
It felt fantastic to be able to unplug for an hour and be at peace with my thoughts. Although it’s a little bit of a splurge with sessions ranging from $80 each or $65 for a monthly membership, I’d definitely try it again!
Have you ever floated? Would you take a dip into a sensory deprivation tank?
*This float session was complimentary and provided by Buoyant Float Spa. I didn’t receive compensation and as always, the opinions expressed here are my own.