I have recently tried floating. That is, floatation tanks. And I’m a convert.
I’d heard about them a few years ago, pre-diagnosis, and thought they sounded like an interesting recovery tool for athletes. With something like 500 kilos of epsom salt solution, you’re basically bathing yourself in magnesium.
You experience sensory deprivation, as you’re in a pod floating without sound or light. So it gives you a full hour where you can’t be interrupted by people, technology or that chore you really need to get done.
Apparently some people can experience profound hallucinations, but that hasn’t been the case for me. I thought that I wouldn’t be able to close the pod lid for concern of experiencing claustrophobia, but it’s so large that closing the lid was completely fine.
Having a muscle illness, mitochondrial myopathy, my experience of floating is probably different to those doing it to switch off from the world.
Before: you don’t eat or have caffeine in the few hours leading up to the float. Make sure you don’t shave that day too. When you arrive, you’re shown to your private room where you have a cool shower and put in earplugs before stepping into your pod.
During: I like to follow instructions, so I was recommended to lie as still as possible with my arms above my head “like everyone who floats frequently does”.
I recommend pushing you’re head a little further back in the water to get your neck in a comfortable position. Just not so far back you get salt in your face! I’ve fallen asleep once and didn’t drown or wake up with a salty surprise- so that’s a good sign.
Then do nothing. Literally nothing.
Because my muscles work more than they should, the feeling of letting them go and really resting is powerful for my body. Sometimes when I wake up in the morning, I get a tingly feeling in my muscles, like they’re totally asleep and rested. It makes it hard to get out of bed, but it means I’ve properly rested. In the three floats of done, I’ve experienced this feeling each time.
After: music and lights let you know it’s time to get out of the pod. You then remove your earplugs, have a warm shower and wash your hair. Get dressed and head out to the chill out area. Where you can have a tea or water and rest until you’re ready to face the world again.
The result is an incredibly rested body and a switched off mind.
I went to Beyond Rest: www.beyondrest.com.au