Water is a powerful tool. It has so many uses in our daily lives that its power can easily be overlooked, forgotten, taken advantage of. This weekend, I got a reminder of the healing power of water at FLOAT Annapolis.
A dear friend was visiting and as we are both in the midst of serious life challenges, I thought a spot of relaxation was in order. When I think relaxation, I naturally think water, specifically sitting by a big blue body of it with my toes in the sand and a drink in my hand. Alas, it’s November and we had a mere two days together. Thus an hour in a sensory deprivation tank seemed to be the way to go. I had done this once perhaps twenty years ago so my experience was limited and old.
I can hear some of you shaking your heads, backing away from your screen, and vocalizing a big, fat NO WAY, but stay with me. For thousands of years, people have sought out the healing qualities of water and salt. A float spa is a modern spin on the ancient practice of using salt water to decrease physical pain and increase mental clarity. FLOAT Annapolis provides three private, soundproof float rooms allowing clients to float weightlessly in a pool of skin-temperature water and epsom salt for one hour or more.
We arrived a few minutes before our scheduled float and were warmly received by the owner himself, Jeff. He was calm, unhurried, and eager to share the magic of floating with us. After a tour, thorough instructions, and selecting our all organic body products, we were left in our respective rooms. Jeff said we would know it was time to emerge when music began piping into our float chambers. I told my friend I would see her on the other side and I assumed she would either be in the lobby after four minutes or become obsessed with the experience.
I thoroughly showered my body, popped in my earplugs, gripped my dry washcloth, opened the chamber, and peered inside. It had a very dark interior and was surprisingly large: 5′ wide, 8′ long, and 7′ high. The water was perhaps 10-12″ deep. I propped the door open, tucked my washcloth in a hand hold, sat down, and laid back. I floated without effort which was a surprise to me as I usually sink like a stone. After a few minutes, I was comfortable enough to close the tank entirely…for about 26 seconds. I panicked as I felt around for the door. Once I reoriented, I immediately closed it again and it stayed that way until the end of my float session. The nearly 1200 pounds of salt in the water created a feeling of zero-gravity, taking all tension and pressure off my joints and muscles.
I tried several positions…hands above my head, hands down by my waist, hands on my torso. I even attempted floating on my belly. The most comfortable for me was hands above my head as it allowed my entire body to be supported and comfortable. It was deliciously odd to be so alone essentially suspended in warm amniotic fluid and the limitless feeling of total darkness. The silence was a welcoming embrace. In a world where we are so inundated with input, feedback, and plain noise, hearing absolutely nothing was freeing. I struggled with a couple irrational fears (SHARK!!!!) and concerns (tell me there aren’t night vision cameras in here…spoiler alert: there weren’t.) My thoughts wandered and as any bit of anxiety invaded, I released it. My heart rate decreased, my blood pressure lowered, and my respiration slowed to only a couple breaths per minute. It reminded me of the slow, measured breathing one should use while SCUBA diving. Floating provided an environment I haven’t experienced since well, my last float. I was deep, so very deep. I can see why some floaters refer to the experience as spiritual.
Of course, my mind wandered to you, my clients. I imagined you benefitting from floating during your pregnancy. A float can reduce your joint stiffness and muscle pain as well as provide an opportunity for mental rest, a bit of meditation, an hour (or more!) of self-care, increased relaxation and restfulness, decreased stress and tension. And just plain pain relief from the effort of growing your baby within your body.
Pregnant people enjoy the most relief from floating out of all FLOAT Annapolis clients. The extra weight you’re carrying can be very stressful due to the forces of gravity. Floating eliminates the negative effects of gravity, which causes joint pain, inflammation and stress on the organs as well as your baby. Pregnant people have also reported a reduction of erratic movements of the baby inside the womb. This is due to a phenomenon called “mirror effect.” The baby is safe and secure inside the womb and the pregnant person shares a similar experience in the isolation tank. Some pregnant clients report a stronger connection with their baby when exposed to this environment. Something to consider – you and your wellbeing deserve it.
Finally, I heard a deep rumble and tinkling bells as Jeff signaled the end of my floating session. I slowly and carefully sat up, taking time to reacclimate to gravity. Opening the chamber door was a bit like being birthed: cold, bright, and perhaps unwelcome. The shower and organic products welcomed me warmly. I combed out my hair, redressed, and headed for the lobby where a selection of waters was waiting for me. I selected a grapefruit seltzer and greeted my friend. She had FALLEN ASLEEP during her float and said she felt entirely refreshed, refocused, recentered, and would absolutely float again. She loved feeling unreachable, untouchable, and at peace. Not bad for a cold November, eh?
Floats can be scheduled online and start at $45. I can’t wait to hear your experience.
801-1 Compass Way
weekdays 10 AM – 9 PM, closed Wednesday
weekends 9 AM – 8 PM
Note: I was not compensated in any way for this review/blog. I do not know Jeff or have any stake in his business. This was a personal experience I wanted to share with you and encourage you to consider pursuing for yourself.