Here’s a question..how often do moms try something new? Sure, we know every day is different in our motherhood…the kiddos make certain of that! But how often do WE as women try something just for us that has little to do with also being a mama? Well, in my case lately it’s been on the regular that I’ve had my eyes opened to new experiences and I’m excited to tell you about the most recent one.
The gauntlet was thrown down by a local mom and reader of this blog, Jen Bravo, to try ” those submersion tanks and report back”. Those submersion tanks…that’s a thing??? I was intrigued!! Jen had already been intrigued about trying them for some time but hadn’t pulled the trigger on actually going because honestly she wasn’t sure what she’d be getting into. I had a look at the website she sent me and I was convinced this would be my next challenge accepted! I was also convinced that she should join me!
A week later, Jen and I were standing outside Tampa Floats with a bit of nerves from both of us. We were excited but nervous (but the nervousness was brief). This is a good time to remind you (and myself) that it’s ok to be nervous about going into unchartered territory. This isn’t necessarily our inner sense of danger going off warning us to back out. This may be just your nervous reaction to the unknown. I share this now because we both felt it and together Jen and I walked in anyway.
I had arranged our visit ahead of time with Jeffrey, the General Manager of Tampa Floats. I’m not sure what I would do in his place if some mom writer I’d never heard of called me out of the blue and explained she’d been “challenged” to come to my business. I can only state for the record that he was very open minded and supportive as I explained the concept of this series and this challenge to him. Within an hour of our initial conversation it was arranged that Jen and I would come the following week to float. Jen was onboard, I was onboard but what ladies and gentlemen were we onboard to do exactly?
WHAT IS FLOATING?
Floating is amazing for a start. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way let me get to the details of what you’re signing up to do. You are signing for what can only be described as both an in body and out of body experience simultaneously. Have I got your curiosity yet?
Here’s how it begins:
You are assigned a private room with its own submersion pod and private shower. The lighting is dimmed in your room for the effect of maximum relaxation. Your guide to this experience you’re about to have will then talk you through the steps and answer each and every one of your questions. We had a lot of them!! Jeffrey was kind enough to thoroughly explain everything until we understood fully.
The first step once you’re alone is to shower in your private shower using the toiletries they provide for you in your room. You can then choose a suit-either a swimsuit you brought with you or your birthday suit…your option. I decided on the swimsuit for various reasons. The main reason was that I knew I was going to be taking photographs to share with you and didn’t want to do those in the suit I was born in. It really is whatever your comfortability level dictates. The water is fully filtered three times between each float, including a UV light filter in case you’re wondering about cleanliness when making this choice.
As I approached the next step I had a song that you might be familiar with playing in my head-We All Float On by Modest Mouse. Do you know it? I looked at this pod that looked immense in my room that was all for me. It only has about 10 inches of water in it but it also contains 1000 pounds of Epson salt. It is like no pool you have ever been in I believe. I put in the new pair of earplugs provided to keep the water out of my ears as I floated and grabbed the pillow located it just inside the pod to get started. Then it was one foot in at a time and I just went for it.
I closed the lid of the pod and press the button to start the flotation experience. My first sense was how quiet it was in there. How relaxed I felt just being in the silence before I even got started floating. They will advise you that you could either float with the dim light on inside the pod or in the dark-again this is what your comfort level dictates. I knew I was going to be telling you about this in detail so I tried it both ways. I started out with dim lighting for a while and then pressed the button once again conveniently located inside the pod to go to complete darkness.
I can’t particularly tell you that I had a preference for either one over the other as far as lighting goes but what I can say is that the experience is different depending on which option you go with. In the darkness it feels womb like. It is the closest that you will ever get to being back in the womb. With the lights dimmed it felt more like a private pool located in some luxurious hotel.
The feeling of immediate buoyancy follows. For such a little amount of water you are floating without any effort whatsoever. There’s a feeling of relaxation that comes from having to do absolutely no work in order to stay floating. This is unlike any swimming pool that you have ever swam in or any bath that you’ve ever had. The pillow they provided actually gave my neck even more comfort as I floated weightlessly and effortlessly throughout the pod. I felt my body relax, I felt tension drain from my muscles and joints. It was as if my body was healing itself right there in the pod.
* For any expectant mothers there is the added benefit of a high likelihood of being able to hear your unborn child’s heartbeat as you float. Not to mention the weightlessness will help to soothe those aches and pains that can accompany pregnancy.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT:
I can only describe the next feeling after the immediate feeling of relaxation, one that continued throughout my time floating by the way, as moments of clarity. There was nothing to do other than to have moments with my thoughts and to be in tune with myself on an emotional, physical and spiritual level. I believe it has to do with the combination of the floating, which is zero gravity, and the sensory deprivation that accompanies it in the pod. It had been explained to us that our brains would go into a Theta state-Endorphin production would be increased, our blood circulation would be improved and so would our mind’s ability to be creative.
* I understand that these tanks are often used by people in business. While these tanks are used for people in all walks of life, people in business tend to benefit from their float by coming up with a game plan for what they’re currently working on in their profession during their time in the tank. I understand the feedback is that they come out with more positive thinking, a plan for further action on something that they’re working on and fresh mindset. This is psychological recovery as well as physical recovery. A clear mind and a clear body makes a big difference.
I myself began thinking about things in a more clear way. This was my personal experience too! There were things that had been on my mind the previous few days and all I can tell you is that a few of my stumbling points I came up with answers to. I walked out of the pod knowing what I would do next! I had worked out what was troubling me and how to come to a resolution. I also came out with ideas for things that had been blocking me previously creatively. I had some interesting new ideas! I just couldn’t wait to jot them all down!
I felt so filled with ideas yet it wasn’t stressful, it was inspirational. Interestingly enough Jen had the exact same experience. She told me that she felt so much clarity on her own things that she had also been thinking about. She shared with me that she felt the same relaxation and the same feeling of her body healing and releasing tension. We were having the same experience but in separate rooms.
THE SENSE OF TIME:
You lose all track of time when you’re in the pod. What’s interesting is that I am someone who watches the clock a lot! I wasn’t at all concerned about it while I was there. One of the questions we asked was how do we know when to get out? Jeffrey told us that many people have fallen asleep in the pod and that this was a normal thing should it happen to us. There’s a small speaker in the room and if you go past the time that the pod turns itself off whoever is on duty will buzz through and let you know you’re finished. I didn’t happen to fall asleep myself but I did speak to Jen afterwards and she did sleep for a bit. I have to say I was pretty disappointed when my timer went off because it was such an amazing experience to be in there alone in this comforting tranquil paradise.
You will feel the magnesium on your skin and in your hair post float. It is a very magnesium dense soak. So many people have magnesium deficiencies and that particular day I’m quite sure I did NOT! You could feel it and it feels very invigorating! However, you don’t really want to take ALL that magnesium with you. Yes, you will bring SOME of it with you it because it’s soaked into your skin. Post float you have a second shower to wash the excess out of your hair and off your body.
OPTIONS POST FLOAT:
One option is that you could decide to take advantage of another one of Tampa Float’s services, which of course we did, the infrared sauna. You can feel the oozing of the magnesium coming out of your pores and it’s lovely in the sauna. We used our time in the sauna to compare notes about our experiences. The sauna was big enough and comfortable enough for both of us in our borrowed robes they provide and we both couldn’t believe how similar our experiences had been. We didn’t talk solely about being in the pod because when you get women together we tend to like a good chat about a variety of subjects-especially sans kids.
I couldn’t help thinking what a fun experience this would be for a couple of friends to have. Have your own floating experience and then meet up in the sauna afterwards as we did. It’s like a spa of the future. I also thought how great this would be for a couple-what a fun date! (The cost is $49 for an individual and $90 for a couple)
Whenever you finish, whether it be after you float, after you use the sauna or after you visit the relaxation room (which I have yet to tell you about but I’m about to) you can take your time in leaving. You will not be rushed out of there. You have been sensory deprived and you don’t want your senses to be immediately overloaded straight away.
The relaxation room is a good room to visit before going back into the “real world” so to speak. The room is also dimmed, a bit less than the others, but it helps your transition back to daylight. In the relaxation room you can choose to sit on a comfy couch next to a big fish tank full of colorful fish or you can choose as Jen did to try the Normatec pulse massage. The pulse massage device is a compression device that you can use either on your legs or arms to increase healing and flow in that area. This type of device is commonly used by professional athletes and by those that train them.
I started this article by stating that I had never heard of floating and that the idea of trying it made me nervous. I finish this article with a fresh perspective on floating. I will absolutely be doing this again! As Jen said “My body feels the best it’s ever felt.” I personally could not agree more with this assessment. I slept the most soundly and peacefully I have ever slept that night and felt energized days after my float. This just started as a challenge but definitely did not end as one. This ended as something that I am grateful to have done. Jeffrey told us that he advises clients to treat relaxation like they do everything else. In other words make time for it and you will see the results. You will not believe the difference this hour will make!
If you want to see if the float gets your vote go check out the Tampa Floats website here: https://www.tampafloats.com/
Or give them a call at 813-279-8899 to find out more about the floating experience. For my local friends it’s a short drive to get your float on-they are located at 14301 N Dale Mabry Hwy here in Tampa.
I want to say a big thank to Tampa Floats and especially Jeffrey for having us! Thank you Jeffrey for giving us such a wonderful welcome and experience. Thank you for being so knowledgeable, supportive and gracious. I also want to say a big thank you to Jen Bravo for submitting this challenge and for joining me in it. This is definitely not something that I would have thought of on my own and definitely something that was more fun with you along! I had a blast with you Jen and I am so glad that we did this together!
Thank you for coming and sharing the Something New Series with me today! I have now finished my third challenge and I can’t wait to share it with you in the next installment! As always if you have a challenge for me I’d love to hear it! You can message me or comment on any post and I will get back with you. If you want to join me in any proposed challenge-I’d love to have you along! I’m learning so much about what’s out there and what is yet to be discovered. I know that with each new challenge I grow as a person and I am so pumped to see what the series continues to bring me. Until the next time we meet! Janet