ALTERNATIVE THERAPY: THE PRACTICE OF FLOATING
So I've been raving about this alternative form of therapy known as "floating" for the last couple of years. Maybe you've heard about it? It is definitely coming into the mainstream and spas are popping up all over. Floating is basically the act of laying in a body of water saturated with approximately 900 lbs. of epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) in a near-sensory deprivation tank. You lay back, relax and breathe until, before you know it, the thoughts that greeted you at the start of your session have all floated away, leaving you surrounded by a palpable sense of stillness and silence. When my mind and body are able to reach this level of relaxation, I feel a deep contentment. How does it feel? As if I am floating in a cosmic sea.
WHAT IS FLOATING?
Floating is known as Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy (REST) in the research world. This therapeutic practice promises many lifestyle benefits, including lasting calm, heightened creative thought, and greater suppleness of the skin.
THE FLOAT ENVIRONMENT
The water temperature is about 93.5 degrees F which is average external body temperature. This is to create an environment where the water is not felt on the skin as tactile sensation. The float environment is intended to be “near-sensory” deprivation, meaning a reduction to stimulus that would interact with the major senses (tactile sensations, sight and smell). The massive amount of epsom salt allows the body to float and feel weightless in a near zero gravity state. This creates a feeling of freedom from the sensation of gravity.
Entering in the float tank is like entering a void completely blocked from the outside, often over-stimulating environment. With no clock to track the minutes, you may inevitably lose track of time. It is one of the most effective and incredible means of stress relief and relaxation for anyone who feels over-stimulated, over-connected or over-worked. For those who feel constantly on-edge, exhausted or are dealing with anxa near-sensory deprivation environment can help return you to a state of rest and relaxation.
WHY I FLOAT
An hour in the float tank has been amazing for me whenever my mind is spinning with thoughts. It’s like closing all the windows on my mental browser or clearing my inner cache. I teach and practice yoga and the float tank has been a place for me to deepen my meditation and explore consciousness. Aside from the mental benefits, floating has helped me feel rejuvenated from lack of sleep jet lag and muscle fatigue. The epsom-salt saturated water works to soothe achy muscles and reduce chronic pain, tension and inflammation.
I can't relax: Float with no agenda and become aware of your breath. Some pods or tanks are equipped with music and ambient light that can help you focus away from your own thoughts.
I fall asleep: You needed the rest! You WILL float, and if you fall asleep, it will probably be amazing!
My neck/shoulders hurt: Some float spa’s offer neck supports. If not, try changing your arm position.
FLOATING CAN HELP ALLEVIATE:
stress & anxiety
WHERE I LOVE TO FLOAT:
Sage Float Spa, Capitola / Santa Cruz: By appointment only. $39 happy hour specials, couple's floats and membership packages available.
Pause Float Studio, Mar Vista/ Los Angeles: By appointment only. $69 introductory float, packages and memberships available.
Just Float, Pasadena/ Los Angeles: By appointment only. $59 introductory float, packages and memberships available.