Yesterday Lee and I spent an hour doing nothing... and it was AMAZING! Hope Floats (in MD, DC & NY) offers "Flotation Therapy" where you get into a capsule filled with warm salt water, otherwise known as a sensory deprivation chamber, and literally float with no sound & no light for an hour. It may make some people feel uneasy to think about doing this but as overworked, exhausted and stressed parents this sounded like the ideal way to spend an afternoon date! Complete silence with no one touching me or asking me for anything? YES please!
Benefits of floating:
Not just athletes and celebrities benefit from floating. Anyone can see these benefits if they float regularly:
My main reason for going was for relaxation and de-stressing, but I also read that you absorb some of the magnesium from the Epsom salt, which many people are deficient in and can lead to depression.
My first experience Floating:
We made 4:00pm appointments so we both left work a bit early, kept the kiddo with his caretaker and got to the Bethesda, MD location around 3:45pm. We signed standard waivers (being on your monthly (use a tampon or cup), pregnancy & breastfeeding are not exclusions, but diabetes, claustrophobia and other illnesses are). Then we went into one of the private rooms for our orientation. CJ the manager went over the basics of the tank, timeline of the experience, what to expect, and gave us a few tips to enjoy the experience. Then Lee went into his own room across the hall and we began!
First I took a quick 1-2 minute rinse in the shower in the room, no soap needed, just enough to wet your hair, rinse your face and any lotions on your skin. Then I got into the tank and shut the door. I laid back and instantly was floating effortlessly. At first there is music playing (whale sounds & Ambient meditation music) through speakers under the water, this helps you acclimate to the silence better before the music stops and you're in complete silence. I had put ear plugs in after my shower (not needed, just by preference) and instantly one fell out. So I had one ear plug in, I left it that way for some time to see how I preferred it if I were to return. I had assumed the music would play for maybe 5-6 minutes, and after awhile I got a sort of hopeless agitated feeling and negative thinking "is this going to last forever" "If it hasn't even been five minutes there is no way I'll last an hour!" but I was able to quickly squash that feeling by imagining I was floating through the ocean waves by pushing my feet off the side of the tank to make me move around a bit. Eventually the music turned off, and I found out later the music played for 20 minutes! Apparently they leave it on longer your first time to try to help, then decrease it more each visit, you can also tell them no music, or bring in your own music to play as well.
I had trouble getting comfortable at first, just laying in the standard position, arms down by my side palms down it felt like it was pulling on my neck and shoulders pretty bad. I played around with my position and found that arms up over my head with my fingers laced behind the base of my head like doing sit ups was actually the most comfortable for me. I tried freeing my mind but I couldn't get into a zen state, eventually I gave up trying to do that and enjoyed moving around a bit in the tank, pushing gently with my toes and elbows off the sides to make small waves of motion where it felt like I was floating in a pool or the ocean, that was more relaxing for me. Also I tried pushing my arms down into the water or pushing my butt down, creating a bit of an exercise, it was interesting to feel how difficult it was to do!
The hour was up quicker than I anticipated, and was alerted by gong/wind chime sounds that I was time to emerge. I sat up and waited a moment before cracking open the door to let the bright light in. Then I stood up and waited to acclimate before stepping out. I felt so heavy and my feet felt firmly planted on the floor, as if I was standing with all my weight was on one foot instead of both, that's gravity for ya! Then I walked gingerly over to the shower and took a nice LONG hot shower with lots of soap and shampoo to get the salt off. I quickly got dressed and left the room. They have a mirror bar area where you can apply makeup or use their hair dryer to finish getting ready. They also have an infrared sauna you could try before or after to enhance the experience.
All in all I really enjoyed the experience. Headaches I had been suffering from for several days were instantly gone, I felt relaxed and had no muscle tension at all. I will definitely be back, and soon! I would certainly do a few things differently though, so learn from my tips below!
Tips for scheduling
Tips before you get in the tank
Tips for when you're in the tank
If you go to Hope Floats, I'd appreciate it if you provide my name as a referral source (Chrissy Fleishman).
Have you floated before? I'd love to hear about your experience!
Now that our triangle family is complete, follow along as we live our "life after infertility." Our travels, our joys, our laughter & our sorrows of parenting.
Chrissy is a...
full time corporate world working somewhat crunchy mom, a loving wife, an MRKH Warrior, Infertility Advocate, support group leader & a bad ass breastfeeder. In her fleeting spare time she enjoys hiking, traveling, walking her pooch, sewing and watching funny or sappy TV shows.