Until recently, all I knew about float tanks was limited to the Simpson’s episode where Homer and Lisa are angry with one another and go to float tanks, and they get repossessed with Homer still in one. I never thought I would use one because, well, claustrophobia. But, a co-worker’s husband went to a new float tank place in town this week and posted a picture — these float tanks aren’t enclosed!
Floating is basically automatic in the tub — it uses 1,000 pounds of Epsom salts. The super-saturated solution, like the Dead Sea, makes you buoyant. Plus, the magnesium is believed to help relieve muscle soreness and replenish electrolytes — the reason many of us soak in them at home.
In addition to the benefits of Epsom salts, floating also adds a relaxing element because of the sensory deprivation even though that sounds super creepy. Similarly to meditation, you’re removing all distractions from around you. I am terrible at turning my mind off, and I didn’t quite get there with my first experience. But it was relaxing and felt healing — and I even booked a second appointment.
I scheduled my first visit online, and when I arrived at the facility I found it similar to a nice day spa, massage studio or yoga studio. There was a large, well-appointed lobby, a quiet room for post-float, a restroom, and private float rooms.
Each room is the size of a large bedroom and fashionably decorated, with a shelf area and bench, a shower, and the float tank (really a tub in this instance).
It did take me a while to “surrender” to the experience, and I was holding my head in a position that wasn’t comfortable, but eventually I relaxed my neck and it was great. Figuring out if I wanted my arms internally or externally rotated was the only other thing I had to figure out.
The room was slightly warm, matching the temperature of the water. Eventually the lights turned off and I did turn off the blue tub light. I am pretty uncomfortable in my own skin and expected to feel odd floating naked in a tub in a room, but it wasn’t uncomfortable at all. The tub is large enough that you don’t feel at all constrained in space.
At the end of the session music starts gently playing and the water starts circulating so that you know your time is up. After you get out of the tub, you take a shower in the room. They had great shampoo (I love unexpectedly great shampoo). I spent a moment in the quiet room to drink some water and I left feeling relaxed and comfortable. I signed up for a trial week so I have several more appointments scheduled. I anticipate I’ll return to the float tank after some hard workouts, much like massage.
I live in the Midwest where most things are reasonably priced. The first time fee was $45 for an hour. The regular retail price is $56. Monthly memberships with unlimited floats are $99.
Looking for other posts in our “#ExtraSalt” series?
Have you tried a float tank? Are you an Epsom salt bath fan?