I couldn’t talk. My body felt lethargic. My movements were slow.
I just finished my first float, and it was one of the few moments in my life where I felt completely and utterly relaxed.
I knew what to expect when I walked into TrueREST Float Spa that morning, but from the second you step in the door, the atmosphere almost forces you into a calm state; from the water fountain and music in the lobby, to the peaceful and helpful attendant who walks you through every step of the process.
A TrueREST float experience begins with a video, partly instructional and partly full of strange visuals and geometric shapes, meant to help ease your mind into a theta state. (The relaxed state which your brain will enter when you float.)
I felt very comfortable and at home with the assistance of the attendant, and the spa room, which includes a beautiful standing shower for you to clean and rinse before floating, along with other amenities.
For those unfamiliar, float therapy involves 60 minutes in a zero gravity environment; you float in a sensory-deprivation pod of 1,200 pounds of Epsom salt and water. The therapy is known to relieve pain, help de-stress, relax, increase healing, improve sleep, creativity and other brain functions. Float therapy is used from the serious to the simple: to relieve serious injuries, depression, PTSD, or to simply release stress and feel better, inside and out.
It might sound and look odd at first, but think about it: you’re spending an hour alone with yourself, blocking out every other sense, to achieve ultimate relaxation and rest. How can that not be beneficial?
If you’re looking to float, I’d stress that it takes practice, and that every float is different. Just like meditation or any new form of practice, it will take time to learn to rest and relax.
When I first laid in the pod, it took some time for the weird factor to wear off. You also have to find what works for you, as far as keeping the lights on or off, the pod open or shut, to use the pillow or not, and finding the right position. I have no idea how long it took me to become acclimated and find my perfect combination – there is no sense of time in the pod. For me, it was pod closed, lights on, no music, arms up and pillow around my neck. Once I became comfortable in that position, I truly felt relaxed, and I’m pretty sure I fell asleep because it wasn’t long before I heard the music alerting me that my float would be up soon.
After, all my senses felt unlike anything I’d experienced before. My limbs were heavy and slow to move, my mind clear, and the shower I took after felt as if it lasted much longer than it did.
The attendant asked how my float was while I was doing my hair (TrueREST provides you with hair dryers, straighteners, etc. to get ready for the rest of your day), and I felt like I had to remember how to speak. As if the connection between my brain and my mouth had been temporarily turned off.
This feeling went away shortly into my oxygen bar experience. I know the act of breathing in scented oxygen isn’t a new concept, but it’s still bizarre to me. It’s especially strange when you can feel the effects – I don’t remember the scent I chose, but it contained mint along with several other flavors and was meant to energize your body and mind.
One thing I would recommend is to schedule a float on a day when you don’t have a lot else going on. I had a very busy day of work after my float, most of which included being outside in the heat, and I wish I had chosen otherwise.
What was interesting though was after I had came home from four to five hours of little water and no food, immersed in 90 degree weather and exhausted from the activities, I didn’t feel completely drained somehow. I remember showering the day off me and my brain was buzzing with ideas and a sense of creativity I hadn’t felt in a long time. Was it the float, I wondered? Was it all in my head?
Guess I won’t know until I float again.
If you’re planning to float, don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as possible. From my first experience and hearing about others’, the more you know and the more comfortable you feel, the better your float will be!
Don’t be afraid to try it if you’re claustrophobic. I don’t typically feel that way, but I was a little uneasy at first with the pod door closed. I eventually felt too cold with it open, and found my own comfortability with it shut. But again, everyone and every float is different!
The Epsom salt will do amazing things for your skin. Your hair, not so much. At first I was amazed that my typically flat, thin hair was full of so much volume as I was blowdrying it after. But it also dries it out A LOT. If you’re someone with already dry hair (like me), I would recommend using the shower cap, I know I definitely will the next time I float. But if your hair isn’t dry, you might like what it can do for you!