Mindfulness

Week 1, Adventure 1 | Flotation Therapy

Welcome back!  I appreciate you coming back to check in on my latest adventure!

As you hopefully learned in my first post, I am on a quest to try new things and live up life as a single, independent, fun-loving, 30-something lady.  For my first official adventure this year I decided to start with something relaxing that I have talked about doing for several years, but had never gotten around to booking – flotation therapy.  (You are probably beginning to see a trend regarding my follow-through, huh? 🙂 )  It also didn’t hurt that a friend of mine mentioned having tried it recently, pulling the idea to the front of my brain!

On Thursday, the official start of my ‘year of adventure’, I experience flotation therapy at Weightless Ky a local place the focuses on flotation therapy and also offers saunas, yoga, and massages – all sorts of wellbeing and self-care related services.

Once I mentioned to co-workers/friends/family that I was going to be partaking in flotation therapy, everyone was asking me what exactly was flotation therapy.  A question, I would wager you all have as well!

Flotation therapy is a form of water therapy where you can experience sensory deprivation by floating in the dark, in a small-ish pool filled with medical grade Epsom salt.  The second question everyone asked me was why would I want to do this; the answer: stress relief, relaxation, and to try something new!

Whats the process?  How did it work?

Basically, when I arrived, a member of the staff welcomed me to the facility and guided me to my room.  The facility is sort of like a tanning bed parlor, where everyone has their own private room.  In your room, you have your pool (to me, it looked like a giant egg) and a private shower.

The process:  to start the session you shower, rinsing off any lotions, hair product, or debris you may have carried in from outside.  At this time you can also put in ear plugs to keep the salt water from creeping into you ear canal.  Then … you enter you pool (au naturel or in your bathing suit – the choice is yours!) and close the lid.  Next, you float. Where I went, you float for 90 minutes (which was a unique challenge in its own!) Finally, you wrap up your session with a second shower to rinse the salt off your body.

At the recommendation of the woman who welcomed me and showed me to my room, I opted to float in total darkness (if the idea of floating in the dark freaks you out, you can turn on a light),without music or any sort of noise to get the full experience of sensory deprivation.  I am glad I did, but boy did it take some time to get used!

To those of you that know me this wont be a surprise, but it took me quite a while relax and fully leverage the experience.  When I first got into the tank, I spent at least the first 30 minutes trying to what floating position was most comfortable.

Where do I put my arms?  Was I more comfortable with them over my head?  Or down at my side?  I kept switching back and forth trying to decide which was most comfortable.  I also went down a worry rabbit hole around if I kept my arms overhead, were my shoulder creeping to close to my ears and encouraging my tendency for bad posture?

Does anyone else obsess about these sort of things?

Once I figured out how I wanted my arms, then I spent a while contemplating the head support pillow that the facility provided.  Did I like the pillow?  Or no?  I must have moved the head pillow a dozen times.  If you are curious I settled on no head support. Not sure if you are though!

Also during that first 30 minutes, I had to battle the phantom itch.  You know what I mean, the type of facial itch that only seems to arise when you can’t touch your face.  The facility recommend that I avoid touching myself face so as not to inadvertently transfer salt to my face.  I assume the salt can irritate the skin on your face, not 100% clear on this one.

Once I found my ideal float position, I then really had to work on quieting my mind.  I was thinking about everything.  Literally everything.  My brain ran through the following and more

  • Huh, it’s really dark in this egg.  And is it weird that I am not bothered by the darkness?  Should I be?
  • How it was nice to have the day off of work
  • Was it wrong that I was taking time to float when Texas had been devastated from Harvey?
  • Did I remember to change the laundry around?
  • What else did I need to / want to accomplish on my day off?
  • How long had I been floating?  How much longer did I have?

I could go on and on, but i am sure you get the idea … my brain was going every which direction!

Finally, during the last 30 minutes, after an extremely concentrated effort to relax and some deep breathing exercises, I was able to relax and fully enjoy the experience.  In fact, I became so relaxed that I completely fell asleep and was jolted awake when the light and jets turned back on indicating that it was the end of my float!

I went into my float a little stressed (maybe more than a little, something I am working to better manage!) and wondering what on earth I was going to do for 90 minutes.  I concluded my float calm and relaxed, and thinking 90 minutes went waaay too quickly!

I thoroughly enjoyed my flotation therapy experience and would definitely be open to trying it again!  I would also encourage any of you to give it a try!  If you do give it a try (or have tried it previously), please let me know how you like your float!  I would also love to know if anyone else has issues calming down and sinking into the experience.  🙂

My next challenge is going to be more physically adventurous in nature, so I hope you come back and visit me!

Ali

P.S. – If you have any suggestions for me around what I should try this year please drop me a note or leave a comment.  I think I am going to need help coming up with 52 adventures!

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