RELAXATION – What a wonderful thought. Something that, for some reason, just does not come easy for me. I love the IDEA of relaxing, but when it comes down to it, I just can’t. I have trouble just shutting everything out. One of my favorite things to do to try and relax is to get a massage. But even then, my mind is awake and my muscles don’t fully relax.
I had heard some things about float therapy, and although I was skeptical, I was intrigued. I had forgotten all about it until recently, when I found a deal that offered a session for half off.
For those not familiar with float therapy, it’s a technique that allows a state of calm and relaxation. The whole thing takes place in an oversized tub filled with a foot of water that contains enough salt to help you float in the water. Its goal is to help remove any distraction or stress to help promote both physical and mental benefits, such as pain reduction, better sleep, reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure — just to name a few.
While the whole thing seems a little gimmick-y to me, I was willing to try. So last week, I scheduled a session at Just Float in Pasadena. When you first walk in, you check-in at the counter and if it’s your first time, they have you fill out a couple forms and watch a 5-minute video on an iPad that tells you what to expect before, during, and after your float. There are 11 “suites” and each person gets their own. Inside, there’s a small area to get changed and a shower. On the wall next to the shower, there is a door that leads into the floatation tank.
Before your float, they ask you to shower to remove any oils, lotions, or fragrances. Once you’ve showered and ready to start your float, you enter the tank, sit down, and push a button on the wall. Then all you do is lean back, relax, and the lights and music eventually fade off.
I definitely underestimated just how dark and quiet it would be in there. When the lights first turned off, a sense of panic came over me. I became very anxious and scared. I didn’t even think I would be able to make it to the end of the session. Sensory deprivation is no joke. It definitely took me awhile to really allow myself to let go – literally and figuratively. Though it took a little longer for me to relax, I was finally able to. BUT… it didn’t last long. I eventually got restless and started playing in the water. Total relaxation is not easy. Hey… it’s harder than you would think!
After your float, the lights turn back on and you exit the tank and take another shower to remove any salty residue. They have a small room where you can sit, talk with other floaters, drink tea, or read afterwards.
Although I didn’t achieve total relaxation, I will say that my muscles felt much better after. My neck, shoulders, and upper back are usually always tense and for the first time, my muscles felt relaxed. I also felt a little calmer and refreshed. Maybe it did work a little….
I can’t say I loved it, but I wouldn’t say I hated it. I’m a fan of the idea and would like to see if float therapy is the solution to get rid of all the effects of everyday stressors. While the initial experience was a bit terrifying, I will definitely give it another chance. Hopefully with less anxiety and more relaxation this time.