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Salt Water Float Therapy Tips: What to Know Before You Try It!
Thinking about trying salt water float therapy? I was nervous and even a little scared before my first session. I ended up having a great experience! Here are some salt water float therapy tips to be familiar with before you head to the spa.
Do you remember the season finale of Season One of Stranger Things when Eleven floats in a kiddie pool filled with many many pounds of salt? Up until about two months ago, that’s what came to my mind whenever anyone brought up “salt float therapy.” I have heard random friends mention floating and how great their experience was. Their raving, along with some social media posts about float spas, encouraged me to research the concept a little further and, eventually, try it for myself.
Salt Float Health Benefits: Why Float?
The health benefits and healing powers of salt floats, salt caves, even the popular Himalayan salt lamps, have been touted as amazing by those who incorporate them into their lives. The list is extensive, but a quick snapshot of some of the many issues salt therapies can help with include:
Anxiety and depression
What IS a salt float?
At its very essence a salt float is literally exactly what it sounds like – you float in a pool of salt water. When you add 850 pounds of epsom salt to a pool of water, your body becomes buoyant and floats to the top.
Salt float therapies can take various forms, most most spas use a bathtub-type pool or a fully-enclosed pod.
The water in the float tank/pool/pod is kept at 93.5 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is skin-receptor neutral so when you float, you actually lose track of where your body is touching the water. (I know, it sounds nuts, but it’s true!)
What is Sensory Deprivation?
Sensory deprivation is when you deprive your body of all sensory input.
When you float in a salt tank or pool, your body becomes almost one with the water. Once you close the door to the outside world and enter the float pool, you turn off the lights and music when you are ready. Removing all forms of sensory input from your body and mind – light, sound, touch – your mind can relax, de-stress, and experience a heightened sense of peace.
10 Things to Know BEFORE You Try Salt Float Therapy
1. Go into your float experience with zero expectations. Really. Be open minded and let the experience guide you as it happens. It might take a few floats for you to fully relax and experience the full benefits of a float. I spent half of my first float playing with music and lights (on, off, on, off), moving my arms into different positions, etc. By my second float I knew what to expect and got settled into the pool, lights and sound off, almost immediately.
2. Expect to shower not once, but twice, during your spa visit. You will need to shower before your float to make sure you are cleansed of perfumes, lotions, etc (anything that will contaminate the salt water). You will then shower immediately after your float to wash away the salt! The spa that I visited had a shower right inside the private float suite.
3. Do not shave or wax 1-2 days before your float. If you want to find every small cut on your body REALLY fast, hop in a salt tank! It’s best to skip shaving or waxing within a day or two of your float because the salt water will make it sting. Your float spa should provide Vaseline in your float suite. Use the Vaseline to cover any cuts you are aware of on your skin.
4. An hour long bath? Will you turn into a prune? Actually totally the opposite!! You won’t believe how soft your skin will feel after your salt float. No prune fingers!
5. What do I… wear? In a word? NOTHING. You float in the NUDE. I mean, you COULD wear a bathing suit if you really wanted to. But, you are in your own float space, basically a private bathtub. You are floating in the hopes of achieving zero sensory input. Clothes will cling to your body and feel heavy in the float tank, disrupting the sensory deprivation. So yeah, just ditch the clothes.
6. There’s not really a right way to float. And what I mean by that, is don’t worry about floating “the right way.” Float position is unique to each individual floater. You do you.
7. How do I prevent salt from getting in my ears? Your spa should provide ear plugs for you to use during your float. If you find salt in your ear after your float, you can make up a 50/50 water/vinegar solution and put a drop or two in your ear. This will help break up any salt that might have found its way into your ear canal.
8. It might take more than one float to find your floating “groove.” Don’t be discouraged if you leave your float feeling like you didn’t quite get into the floating groove. Give it another try! Or two! It can take 2-3 floats to experience some of the benefits that floating provides.
9. Eat a small meal about an hour before your float and try to limit caffeine a few hours before floating. Your float is all about extreme relaxation. Caffeine is obviously not conducive to relaxing so it is best to avoid it before a float. Stomach gurgling from hunger or food digestion can be distracting during a float. Good advice is to eat a small snack about an hour before your float.
10. Re-enter the real world slowly if possible. Unfortunately I wish that I always had the time to linger in the post-float come-down room that my local spa offers. This room is soothing and tranquil. It is lit by salt lamps and has oil diffusing in the air. There is tea, a massage chair, and other amenities. You are welcome to stay in this room as long as you want and re-enter the real world at your leisure.
My Experience with Salt Float Therapy
Since float experiences can vary drastically by individual locations, I am going to focus on my experiences at the spa where I floated. I will give you specific details about my experience at this particular location, so keep in mind your own float might be different depending on location.
Let me preface this by saying: I do not meditate, do yoga, or any other kind of mentally relaxing practice. I have tried all of them a time or two over the years, but just never really enjoyed any of them enough to continue. Suffice it to say, I was wary about the mental benefits of floating and did not expect much in that realm. I was more hoping that the float would help to relieve some chronic back pain, etc.
The location: Relax: Float Spa in Doylestown, PA
The price: $65 first time floater, $80/float after first session
A discount: Heck YES, of course I got you all a discount. Book your first float here. Add the $80 float to your cart (NOT the first time float, my discount will save you more than that!). Use my discount code op-818894 to save $17 on your first float. (And yes, I earn credit for referrals towards free floats – so thank YOU!!)
The setup: Relax: Float Spa has individual float suites. You book the suite you want to use when you book your float. Two of the suites (Floating Forest and Zen Garden) have saunas inside the suite while the other two (Bon Bini Beach Suite and Blue Rocks Suite) do not have a sauna. Book the suite you want based on the experience you want. If you book a sauna suite, you can use the sauna first, then you float. If you book the other suites, you float the entire time (90 minutes) instead of 60. If you book the same time slot as friends, you can share the sauna in one suite and then everyone returns to their own individual suites to float in private.
(Pictured below – Sauna inside Floating Forest Suite)
The process: If you are in a suite that contains a sauna, you enjoy the sauna first. Next up, you shower. Then it’s float time. After your float, you shower again. Then head to the come-down room to chill until you are ready to leave.
How do I know when my float time is over? At Relax: Float Spa when your float time is over, you will hear a Tibetan gong sound playing under the water. This gong sound will get louder and louder to ensure that you hear it. (Some floaters actually fall asleep while floating! The increase in gong volume should hopefully wake you up if you end up falling asleep.)
My experience with floating: At the time of writing this post, I have done two salt water floats. The first float, I was definitely nervous. It took some time in the float tank to get comfortable and I was really anxious that I would “mess it up.” I did feel really good after the float and some lower back pain that I had been experiencing had just about disappeared. Float #2 was even better than the first. I was much more confident and approached the experience with enthusiasm and an open mind. I got into a relaxing position MUCH faster than the first time and turned off the music and lights much quicker than the first time. I felt that my relaxation was deeper that during that second float the passage of time seemed to go much faster.
When I am in the float pool, I am able to close the real world (and it’s stress and worry) OUT. I get an hour ALL to myself to just…. be. That NEVER happens. On a typical day, if the kids are at school and I am home, I am working or cleaning or doing something else that is decidedly NOT relaxing.
I cannot wait to return to Relax: Float Spa and I really want to try to make a solid effort to gift myself this chance at total relaxation once every month or two.
Have you ever tried salt water float therapy? What was your experience with it?
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