Disclosure: I am writing this post in exchange for flotation therapy at Anicca Float Club, which I can’t wait to tell you about. As usual, all opinions are mine.
I had no idea that floating was a thing.
Well, maybe I did. I can’t imagine that it has been a thing since the 1970’s and I could never have heard of it. Maybe I had gotten wind of it at some point but if so, I stuffed it into the recesses of my brain. I have too many other things to think about/obsess over…which is probably why I ended up floating. Confused? Let me explain.
I am in a constant quest to find ways to force myself to relax/stress less/take care of myself. As much as I thrive on being a Type A stress ball who has a thousand things going at once (sad but true!), I also know that it’s important for me to pull back every now and then.
Well, I know that at least in theory.
I kid. I know that, all the time.
I just don’t practice it as much as I should.
When a friend told me that there was this super cool place right near my house–two miles from my house–where I could go and float in ten inches of water all by myself in a darkened tank for a whole hour, I was intrigued and excited. It sounded like sensory deprivation to me, and while I never could have been excited about that as recently as five or six years ago, I absolutely love the idea of it now.
I’m connected all the time. ALL! THE! TIME!
My brain doesn’t shut off. Ever.
I have perpetually tight shoulders.
I went in to meet with the owners, Lindsay and Paul, just to get an idea of what the experience would be like. I was there for more than an hour, just chatting. I adore being around people who are passionate about what they’re doing, and these two are. They’re not only providing this great service, this awesome place where you can go and release some stress, relax a little bit, and recharge; they’re interested in building community. I love that, too!
When I went back for my scheduled float, I was so excited for my hour of peace. Lindsay went over everything with me again, and then left me in my own personal float room, which consists of a changing area, a shower, and the float tank. After putting in ear plugs and showering I got right into the tank (carefully!) and closed the clear glass door. Although it was an option to leave the little blue light on, I wanted to experience everything full throttle, so I shut it off and left myself in complete and total darkness.
The water is ten inches deep and has around 800 pounds of salt in it, so there is no effort involved in floating at all, which is part of the joy of it. The water is body temperature so within minutes, you feel like you’re just…a part of it. (That sounds totally new age-y, I know. Sorry.)
I tried different arm positions at Lindsay’s suggestion and found that I was most comfortable floating with my arms over my head. And guess what? Once I got through the first couple of minutes obsessing about the sound of my breathing, I slept. While floating. I woke myself up snoring a couple of times. At times I was wide awake and then, WHOOP, sleeping again. I knew from reading about floating beforehand that my brain was just cycling through the various brain wave stages.
To pre-emptively answer a couple of questions I bet some of you will have:
~The flotation rooms are thoroughly cleaned after each and every use. The water itself is full of salt and can’t harbor bacteria but here’s how Lindsay and Paul explain it on their website: “The extreme salt concentration in our rooms is incredibly prohibitive to bacterial growth. The rooms are filtered continuously when no one is floating. Additionally, the float solution is filtered a minimum of 3 times between each float cycling 99.9% of the water through our filtration system. The solution passes through a 5 micron filter, UV light chamber and an Ozonator. We also use the hydrogen peroxide (the best oxidizer available) and we monitor its residual daily. Our float rooms are cleaner than any public pool facility.”
~Lindsay and Paul told me that they have had people who consider themselves to be claustrophobic try it out and the vast majority have no problem with it. You have so much control in the situation, from leaving the lights on to leaving the tank door (that leads to the shower area) open.
~You cannot drown while floating due to the salt in the water, which is more concentrated than the Dead Sea. And I SLEPT WHILE FLOATING, which should tell you that it’s safe.
Being there all alone in that tank, completely relaxed for an hour, was heavenly. I could imagine that, like when I’m ironing (only way more comfortably!), I could get a lot of great thinking done in there with no other distractions. I’ll be floating two more times (at different times of day so I can see if there’s a difference) and will report back. I’m so curious about how my third float will be different from the first one.
In the meantime, I found this great article called “Flotation Therapy is Seen As a Refuge from your Technology”, which may well have been called “Flotation Therapy is Seen As a Refuge from your Technology, MELISA”. Read it here to learn more.
Anicca Float Club is located in Naperville at 4S100 N. IL-59. They sell single floats, a three-pack for new floaters, and monthly “club” options. I encourage you to check it out, and bring a friend: there are four flotation rooms!
Thanks so much to my new friends Lindsay and Paul for this experience. I’ll see you again tomorrow!
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As someone with fibromyalgia who desperately needs a way to relax that doesn’t hurt like yoga or massage this sounds phenomenal and worth looking into.
Can’t wait to hear about your future floats. (Also I have that 70’s song, Float On, stuck in my head now)
Seems like it’s worth a shot! I know that Lindsay SPECIFICALLY mentioned people with fibromyalgia as a category of their clients. Let me know if you find a tank near you!
Sorry for the earworm. 🙂
Pizza, I did not see this in the article, did you wear a bathing suit? Or do you go in THE BUFF? Thank you for your reply.
Apologies, Pizza! Indeed I forgot to mention that I did float IN THE BUFF. They don’t recommend swim suits because anything like that can be distracting.
Thank you for your question.
I’ve never heard of floating but it sounds very interesting!
I floated, and loved it. My husband then tried floating, and I actually think he likes it better than I did. It is so wonderfully relaxing! And the benefits last. We both look forward to our next float! We are hooked! We experienced, and realized after floating, that it is so important to give one’s mind, and body, the time to do NOTHING!!
Melisa, your article makes me smile!
Ok so my initial thought was that it’s crazy to pay to float when I can float in a regular pool. And then I read and thought oh the QUIET. I was just about sold. And then I read the comments….no suit….now I’m on the fence again ;)Still if it were closer i think a test run would be on my christmas wish list
Never heard of such a thing! Definitely something to look into – I love floating in my bathtub but yeah the whole drowning thing keeps me from sleeping!