It’s About to Get a Little Salty in Here
I’m all about trying anything new, particularly if it gives me an excuse to shut out the world for ninety minutes. I won three visits to a float center at a silent auction and I was excited to try this alternative therapy. Float tanks, also known as sensory deprivation tanks, have a variety of health benefits ranging from cardiovascular health, muscle relaxation, stress reduction, and immunity support to name a few. As someone who weight trains and spends a majority of my day hunched at a computer, I welcomed the chance to give my muscles a break and zone out. Just me, a tank, and water infused with 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt.
When I arrived at the float center, I was shown to a dimly-lit room that housed a shower and the float tank. I was instructed to shower with pre-soak wash prior to getting in the water to rid my body of any oils that I accumulated earlier in the day. I then pushed in earplugs and covered any skin abrasions with the provided petroleum jelly. It’s worth mentioning that you should never shave prior to a float as it increases skin sensitivity and you will find out what it really means to rub salt in the wound.
I opened the door to the tank and stepped inside. The lights under the lukewarm water shifted from dark blue to a blush pink and ambient music wafted delicately through the tank. I laid backward and my body buoyed to the surface like a fishing bobber.[gallery type="rectangular" size="large" ids="37349,37354"]
On the tank wall to my right were two large buttons, one that controlled the music and the other, the light. For the sake of curiosity, I turned the light off. Pretty sure the last time I was in this type of darkness was when I was a fetus. While not fully prepared to embrace total blackout, I turned the light back on and reveled in the weightlessness. I twisted, I starfished, I pushed myself gently from one end of the tank to the other as though I were a human ping pong ball. I pretended to be an astronaut.
I eventually got the courage to turn the light off again. This is where the trippy part begins. You know those colors you see when you close your eyes and push on your eyelids? I saw those, known as phosphenes, only with my eyes wide open. The dancing colors paired with the lilting music made me feel like I was at the most mellowed-out 4th of July party in existence.
I honestly thought I would get bored inside the tank, but that wasn’t the case. I focused on my breath. The cares belonging to the outside world didn’t matter. For the first time in a long time, I was truly in the moment. Before I knew it, my time was up.
I stood up and looked at my hands. Not a single pruney finger. Turns out, the high concentration of Epsom salt prevents your skin from getting wrinkled like a traditional bath does. I opened the tank door and hurried over to the shower and rinsed off the salt, scrubbing away the patches that had dried on my skin. I couldn’t help but notice the renewed softness of my skin and hair and my shoulders lost their usual tension.
After cleaning up and getting dressed, I found myself less than thrilled to leave the float center. I could hear bar-goers and sirens and trains and all the other noises that come prepackaged with city life. My senses had become heightened but I felt completely relaxed. While standing on the curb waiting for my Uber, I looked out of place among the dolled-up Saturday night revelers, but I didn’t care. With my long wet hair thrown up in a messy bun, I felt my lips coil into a smirk. It was as though I had been told a delightful story that only I was allowed to hear.
My float tank experience left me feeling glowing, refreshed, light, and content all at the same time. Who knew being a little salty now and then can be a good thing?