Earlier this week,
my daughter talked me into trying I had the opportunity to check out Om Float in Ashburn, VA. Om Float is one of the growing float therapy centers in area. I was both intrigued and nervous about my first “float” and I’d love to share my experience with you.
A New Kind Of Om
What’s float therapy anyway?
“Floating” is the experience of lying in a quiet, dark tank that is filled with Epsom salt and water to allow you to effortlessly achieve a sensation of floating. It is in essence a sensory deprivation experience that blocks out all outside noise, light and distraction. The water is kept at body temperature to assist you in losing track of where your body ends and the water begins.
Why in the world would you do this?
Because my daughter talked me into it. Float lovers report find both physical and spiritual benefits. Many people with chronic illnesses/pain find floating relieves some of their physical ailments. On a spiritual level, much like meditation or yoga, floating is a time to reflect on things and thoughts within without the distractions of the outside world. With more practice and exposure, floaters report finding the most relaxed state they ever felt almost an in between sleep and wake state.
So how did it go?
Let me preface this by saying that I was a little nervous about being in a closed tank full of dark of water of 90 minutes. As much as I love swimming, this is not swimming. I can be a little claustrophobic and was not sure I would be able to actually do it. We received a brief tutorial from the owner which calmed my nerves quite a bit.
The tank is really like a large bath tub with a cover and hatch like door. The water inside is only about 10 inches deed and filled with high density Epsom salts. I also learned that the door can stay open a crack and that is what I did. So after a quick shower, it was time to get in. (insert nervous face) Relaxing music was set to play for the first 15 minutes then complete silence until the end of the 90 min where music would be played again to alert you to the end of your session.
I spent the first few minutes “trying to float” the way I might in a pool. I then realized that I did not have to actively float as the water really is that dense that it just lifts you. I then spent a few minutes trying to figure out where to put my arms and touching the bottom of the tank a few times to make sure it was there.
Since this was supposed to be a spiritual experience, I then tried to think about what I should think about. I wondered how I would possibly just float in the dark for another 75 minutes. I had all kinds of crazy thoughts (is this how my kids felt in the womb?) before I was able to quiet my mind and get comfortable somewhere around the time the music went off.
I soon lost track of time and found myself in a very relaxed state where yes I could not feel where my body ended and the water began. My neck and shoulders felt so supported yet so relaxed. I must have fallen asleep at some point and was alerted to the quiet music and light that indicated my session was coming to a close.
Coming out of the tank, I felt a little out of it and light headed for a moment almost the same way I feel after an intense massage. Mostly, I was completely surprised that I lasted the whole 90 minutes in there without freaking out. There is a “quiet room” where you are invited to stay for a few minutes post float to re-acclimate and have some tea or water and that’s where I found my daughter.
Would I do it again?
Maybe. I did find it incredibly relaxing and I slept so well that night. I enjoy regular Epsom salt baths and find them very soothing post race or hard workout. I can see how people who enjoy meditation would find it a similar experience. If I had chronic pain issues, injuries or was currently pregnant I believe it would be a fabulous treatment.
With any treatment or experience, I feel that I would probably have to try it a few more times to reap all of the spiritual and physical benefits that frequent float therapy users report. It is a little pricey (about $60 per float).
Thanks for sticking through to the end and reading about my Om Float experience. Tell me, have you ever tried float therapy? Would you?
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