The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea. ~Isak Dinesen
I love the truth of this quote, but it’s likely Dinesen never tried float therapy. If she had, I’m quite sure she’d add it to her list of salt water cures.
Ten inches of body temperature water. About 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt. No light. No external sound. Nothing.
I recently spent an hour in a floating chamber at Zee Float
in Hamilton. Their website promises a generous list of benefits from floating, including relieving pain and stress, improving sleep, alleviating stress and promoting relaxation, and many more.
I was drawn in by the idea of zero stimulation. My days, like yours, are filled with phones ringing and text messages buzzing and never-ending emails and places to be (5 minutes ago!) and meals and laundry and groceries and activities and deadlines – basically non-stop stimulation coming at me. I am always doing and going, never just being.
Zee Float offers a relaxing spa-like atmosphere and I started to relax as soon as I walked in. After a brief tour, I was shown to my float tank (there are three different tanks – I enjoyed the Oasis Tank) and given instructions. It’s a very simple process, but things like a pre- (and post) float showers are essential, along with wearing ear plugs.
And then I floated. 60 minutes of…nothing.
Pro Float Cabin
No light – just total darkness. I couldn’t even see my hand in front of my face. No sound – other than my breath and heartbeat, and the occasional ripple of the skin-temperature water. The only stimulation was internal – trying to turn off my brain and slow down my thoughts. It feels so foreign and strange to do nothing, to simply be.
The experience of floating effortlessly is new to me. It didn’t feel like it should be possible. It was almost like lying in a tank of jello, or on a pile of soft fluffy pillows, totally supported, but without pressure points. The feeling of total body support is probably what surprised me the most. I didn’t expect to be able to achieve such utter body relaxation. (Will continue to work on the utter mind relaxation, but one step at a time).
60 minutes feels like a good amount of time to lose yourself (they offer some 90-minute floats as well, which I’ll try next time, because there is definitely a next time). I completely lost track of time and had no way of knowing how much time had passed. I don’t think I fell asleep, but I came close, as in when your brain waves shift to theta, that blissful place of almost-sleep.
The biggest challenge for me during my float was to slow my breathing down. I tend to take shallow breaths and rarely concentrate on taking full, deep breaths as I go about my day. There is such a difference when you can breathe mindfully. The air inside the pod was warm and humid, so I really had to focus on those deep, cleansing breaths.
Eventually, the soft music comes on, gently letting you know that your time floating is up. It’s a bit strange stepping out of the pod, after having felt weightless for the past hour. A salt-removing shower is the first step (showers are in the same space as the float tank, so it’s all very easy and private) before you dry off and get dressed.
After leaving your private room, there’s a lovely lounge to experience while you slowly prepare to get back to reality. There are comfy chaises to relax on, soft lights, a salt lamp, kombucha on tap (yum!) and tea, books to read or to write in and an oxygen bar.
There’s also a beautiful meditation room, something to try another time.
And the verdict? Did my float session do what I hoped it would?
A definite yes! I generally sleep well, but that night was one of the deepest sleeps I’ve had in a long time. Things that might normally wake me up in the night…didn’t. The next day, some of my chronic back pain had eased. It didn’t, and hasn’t, gone away, but there was noticeable relief the day after floating. I am curious to see what would happen with more regular floats – perhaps floating provides cumulative results?
I guess there’s only one way to find out…
Check out Zee Float at 430 York Blvd. in Hamilton. You can read more about floating here
and you can even book online.
If I had to choose one word to describe my first floating experience?