I first floated in February 2012 when my friend and colleague John Balquist first opened Oakland Floats. I loved it right from the start. I walked out of the session in the magnesium salt-filled tank feeling lighter, clearer and more energized. That night I had a deep, relaxing, healing sleep that I completely aatributed to the float. Even two days later I was still feeling the positive effects: I got things done so easily and effortlessly, like I had eight arms and each was carrying out the task with ease and joy. Floating restored me to my center, allowing me to move and act from a place of balance and clarity.

If you have never floated before, at Oakland Floats you step into a tank or small room filled about 10 inches with warm water saturated with Epsom salts. According to the website, “Floatation tanks are lightless, almost soundproof tanks of warm saltwater. They remove external physical stimuli, creating a state of ‘sensory’ relaxation. Under these conditions your body has a chance to restore its natural powers of self regulation, while you simply lie back and relax. The temperature inside the tank is kept at 93.5 degrees, the same temperature as your skin. As a result, the nerve endings which cover the surface of the skin no longer perceive any sense of separation between the skin and the silky mineral solution which surrounds it. Free from all external stimulation, your body can achieve a state of relaxation which is deeper, purer and more beneficial than sleep. With no body to look after, your mind can attend to other business.”

Oakland Floats picThe first few times I floated, my mind took a little while to settle down and ease into the darkness. However, I would eventually relax and once I started to get used to being in the tank, it was really amazing to feel where I carried tension. I was floating there totally relaxed except I was clenching my jaw. I thought, “Why am I clenching my jaw?” and then released it.  Floating, because it removes other sensory input like sight and sound, helped me really tune into my body and fully realize where I carried tension so that I could fully let it go.

I continued to float every few months or so and loved the peace and clarity it brought to me each time. However, just like any wellness practice, regular visits are an important part of maintaining balance, and so I decided to float three times in three weeks to see how that might effect my health and well-being.

Consecutive floats really amplified the positive effects for me. I found I was able to relax into the water more quickly each time, and I noticed right away my body would just let go. My mind was another story, of course. Boy, was there a lot of chatter in there. With nothing else to stimulate it, my mind would go into overdrive at first but then eventually it just sort of ran out of things to say. Then would come a quiet so deep, a silence so delicious.

It is so wonderful to set aside time to be in a space with no light and no sound. We are constantly bombarded, whether we conscious of it or not, with so much artificial light and sound—from our computers, TV, phone, radio, etc. It is so refreshing and relaxing to really get away from all that stimulation for a little while. Floating also has allowed me to see where I might be holding on to something that is no longer serving me and not even realize it. With all other stimuli gone, the body has time to really check-in on itself and return itself to a state of balance. 

So who might want to consider floating as part of their wellness plan? Anyone who is having difficulty sleeping, feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, challenged with food/sugar addictions, suffering with joint pain, pregnant, or just needs a little time to reset and restore. I think that covers just about all of us!

If you want to check out the floatation center or learn more about ways to reduce stress and cortisol levels, please come to my free talk at Oakland Floats Tuesday, November 17 at 7 p.m. 

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