I recently had the opportunity to try floatation therapy, otherwise known as floating, c/o Go With the Float in Easthampton, MA. I had heard of salt water therapy before, and was eager to experience it myself. If you’re curious about what floating is, read on to find out what floating could do for you!
People use flotation therapy for health and wellness, to relieve stress, recover from injuries and chronic pain, fight addiction, and more. Being in a floatation cabin removes all outside stimuli. There is no light, no sound, nothing to influence our minds and bodies. The therapeutic benefits of floating come from the ability to allow the mind to just “be” without external distractions. Your mind is free to go where it needs to go, and your body no longer needs to fight gravity, allowing it to rest, de-stress and heal.
Writing this now makes me want to go back into the floatation cabin. Floating is truly a restorative experience! After my session, I felt so relaxed and at peace. Driving home, it also felt as if my neck, shoulders, and spine were in perfect alignment, like where they should be in space.
Here is what it’s really like to float.
Getting Ready to Float
The minute my husband and I walked into Go With the Float, we felt a sense of calm and peace. The owner, Stephen Bryla, was pleased to hear we felt that way, as the studio was designed to offer guests a sense of tranquility before and after their floating sessions.
After signing a release form stating we understood the safety and hygiene expectations, and slipping off our shoes, we were given a tour of the studio. The main areas of interest to us were the restroom, hair dryer/makeup room, and the floatation rooms themselves. Everything was super clean and tidy. My husband and I are persnickety about cleanliness. It was a huge relief to see how clean the facilities were. I also caught a glimpse of their impressive salt stock, ready for use!
In the Floatation Room
Although only one person at a time is allowed to float in each tank, Stephen went over the instructions with us together in one room. Towels are provided, as well as a new pair of earplugs that must be inserted into each ear to keep the water out. Like a pool or sauna, floaters must shower before and after each float for hygienic reasons. Outside of each tank there are showers with dispensers of soap and shampoo from Sage Meadow Farms in Easthampton, MA. Stephen and Go With the Float really thought of everything to make guests feel comfortable. Both my husband and I felt confident about this new and novel experience.
Once Stephen had finished educating us, I was left alone to undress, shower, and get into the tank. It is recommended to float in the nude, so the skin has no clothing restrictions. Floating is about removing all sensory stimuli, and since touch is a stimulus, it was sans the swimsuits my husband and I each brought! As Stephen had explained, a swimsuit on the skin can interfere with the sensory deprivation process.
In the Floatation Cabin
As you can see from the photo above, the float cabin is very clean. At no point in time was I concerned about cleanliness during my experience with Go With the Float. After showering, I stepped into the floatation tank. I kept my hair down to be completely free. After pressing the button above the light, at the opposite side of the tank, I was submerged into darkness. The tank had less than eight inches of water in it, so I laid down gingerly, and to my amazement, my body really did float with no effort on my part! My head did not submerge. I would say the water rimmed my face just above my ears, with my ears under the water, hence the necessary ear plugs. After getting used to the sensation, I allowed my body to relax. It sure did! For the majority of my 60 minute float, I laid with my hands up behind my head. There is also a disc provided in each room that can be used if one prefers to have a little support under the head, though I found it wasn’t necessary.
The Zen Experience
About 15 minutes in, I felt my heart fill up with love for my two daughters and husband. I really felt full of love, with an acceptance that this was who I truly was. Such an interesting thought, that made me feel good! Despite all the trials and tribulations of life, this is where my mind chose to go. Thinking back on it, it makes me incredibly happy that even when I was deprived of all my senses, sight, hearing, touch, my family is what I thought of.
For most of the float, I thought of not much at all. Feels kind of funny to write that. How does one not think of anything? Not sure, other than that’s what I remember! I splashed around a little, moving my legs and torso, enjoying the feeling of utter buoyancy. Just when I was starting to feel like it might be time to get out, a quiet jingling of bells started, which got louder and louder. This bells let me know in a gentle way that my session was over.
After the Float
Still in the dark, I felt for the door handle, and emerged from the cabin to the preselected soothing blue light option. No harsh glare here! I took a relaxing shower to rinse off all the salt, dried off and got dressed. I then headed into the “makeup” room. I didn’t go in there to do my makeup, I went in to reflect on what had just happened!
I truly felt a sense of relaxation and peace I had never obtained before. While in the cabin, my mind had been allowed to go where it wanted to. It felt good to recognize it had gone in a positive direction of love and family. My body also felt relaxed, my skin was super soft from the salt water, and I just felt a unique sense of well being. If you follow me on Instagram, I posted a story straight from the makeup room, describing my experience at that time. It was very peace and love!
On the counter in the makeup room was a book. I flipped through several passages, and really enjoyed reading the daily meditations on wisdom and perseverance. Looking at the title, the book was the Wall Street Journal bestseller, The Daily Stoic. When I got home, I purchased the book to continue with a daily reading of some of history’s greatest minds. I felt enlightened and wanted to continue being in a self-reflective state at home, even for just a couple of minutes a day.
The Claustrophobia Question
Many people are concerned about feeling claustrophobic in the float cabin. I was also concerned about this for myself, though it was not an issue at all. The cabins are spacious and high enough to stand fully upright in. Plus, I was so excited to experience the wellness benefits of floating, I didn’t allow myself to give it too much thought.
How is the Salt Water Kept Clean?
I imagine you might be wondering how hygenic floating is? The answer is very! Every float cabin goes through four stages of filtration and is turned over five times between each floater. The water surface is skimmed and according to the FAQ brochure at Go With the Float, treated with a micron filter, NSF certified UV and Ozone injection. Each day the water is checked and balanced, with fresh water and salt continuously being introduced and replaced.
I like to try new things, and floating took me out of more than just my physical comfort zone. It allowed both my mind and body the time and space to just simply be, a rare opportunity for many of us. When I was driving home, I also felt more at ease in my body. Perhaps it was because while my body was suspended in the salt water, it was allowed to just be where it wanted to. And it thanked me afterwards, as I felt very aligned and straight on the drive home. There was a noticeable difference, and I liked it.
If you’re curious about floating, I say give it a try. This is what floating could do for you. The worst thing that can happen is a little salt water in your eye. And having the softest, smoothest skin ever!
Would you ever try floating? Have you ever tried it?
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