Have you ever heard of floating? No? Me either until the other day when I got an email from H2Om Float inviting me to try out a floating session at their new Jacksonville location.
Sensory deprivation therapy involves floating in a pod with 10 inches of high concentrated epsom salt and magnesium water that’s warmed to body temperature. True floating means no lights and no sounds, though the option to have both are there. Floating is meant to be a calming and meditative experience and long-term use is believed to help with anxiety, depression, and creative block.
Image via h2omfloatjax.com
Walking into H2Om Float reminded me of a posh spa with it’s serene blue waiting area and quiet ambiance. After I filled out the appropriate forms, Kristina gave me a tour of the facilities which included numerous pod rooms, a dressing room complete with hair dryer, and large restroom. Each pod room has it’s own shower which patrons are encouraged to use before and after floating. The pods themselves are large (with my arms and legs fully stretched, I wasn’t touching either side) and look like something out of a sci-fi movie with their blue aura and cloudy water.
Once Kristina had given me the full tour with instructions, I was left in the room to disrobe and enter the pod. While the option to wear a bathing suit is there, H2Om Float encourages you to float without clothing. I stripped down, inserted a pair of silicone ear plugs, showered off, and slowly entered the pod. The water is warm without being hot and I immediately began floating. I decided to get the most out of my experience so I shut off the light and closed the hatch on the pod. And had a brief moment of claustrophobia and panic before relaxing into the water.
I spent the first small part of the session thinking about all the things I should be doing with this hour instead of floating in a large bathtub. Then I reached into the back of my brain and pulled out those breathing methods I learned in yoga years ago and tried to relax. I started with relaxing my body. I stretched in the water and then let my limbs go limp and made a conscious effort to unclench my jaw. I focused on breathing… and for a few minutes I imagined myself in a giant tub like Harry Potter in Goblet of Fire when he was trying to figure out the egg clue in the Triwizard Tournament. And before I knew it, I had cleared my mind enough that I dozed off into a light sleep.
When I woke up, I was in a bit of a panic. I wasn’t panicked because I didn’t know where I was or the fact that I was in a pool of water. I was worried I’d gone past my time and someone would be coming in to wake me. I floated there for a few more minutes and just when I started to think to myself, ok, I’m over this, the little jet came on in the tub signaling that my time was over. I sat up, raised the hatch door, and climbed out of the pod feeling refreshed after my napping… I mean, floating session.
How did floating feel as a pregnant woman? I was very aware of my baby. She has a tendency to move around quite a bit when I’m laying down anyway but I think the extra weightlessness really encouraged her to move. I laid my hands on my stomach at one point and focused on my breathing while feeling her move around. (Doesn’t that sound so… zen and maternal?) The lack of gravity was also comforting to my joints and muscles. For that hour, I didn’t feel any of the extra weight I’ve put on or the strain on my abdomen from carrying around a baby. Floating really was a great way to completely relax and release a lot of tension built up from being pregnant.
Would I do it again? Absolutely. And honestly, while I was glad I finally relaxed enough to sleep, I would try to stay awake next time because I think floating presents a great opportunity to meditate, pray, and work through your thoughts in addition to the physical benefits.
You can try floating yourself at H2Om Float on St. Johns Bluff Road. They’re actually located next door to my favorite little taco joint so you could float and then have a taco lunch. Sounds like a perfect spa day to me!
Have you ever tried floating? I would love to hear your thoughts!