Feeling stressed? Try floating your stress away in a float spa. We seem to be living in more stressful times …. and a good many of my patients are stressed for one reason or another. A patient of my told me about a float spa she has used. It sounded interesting and I decided to give it a go.
I went to a True REST Float Spa in the Columbus area to experience the experience first hand. What you do is float in these egg shell type pods that contain a 30% salt water concentration creating an anti-gravity environment enabling to float weight less unloading your spine and joints. A float session lasts 60 minutes.
A pod contain 180 gallons of water that is 10 inches deep. To that is a 1000 pounds of medical grade magnesium salt. The pod has a lid that you can close or leave open, or slightly ajar if you prefer. Music is played if you like – the standard protocol is music for the first 10 minutes, then 45 minutes of silence, then finally 5 minutes (your two minute warning so to speak the session is about to end) of music to end your float experience, but you can have music or no music the entire hour if your prefer.
The pod has a light that you can leave on or turn off. Coupled with the ear plugs you wear you can be nearly sensory deprived while floating. Plus, the water is kept at usual skin temperature reducing any sense of cold or heat providing more sensory deprivation.
And, then it is up to you to relax and turn your mind off, or let your mind wander, or if your like me, write an article in your head, though I did doze off for a few minutes. And, that’s another thing – it is perfectly safe to fall asleep. It’s hard to roll over onto your belly and submerge your head and if you did the high salt concentration would quickly wake you up.
Magnesium is a key mineral and plays a role in over 350 enzymes in the body. It is a great muscle relaxer. It can help with muscle cramps at night and relaxes the smooth muscle in are blood vessels and can help lower blood pressure. It stimulates GABA receptors in the brain which facilitates calmness. Many people are deficient in magnesium – even though they may have a normal blood magnesium level. Magnesium is primarily an intracellular mineral.
Benefits of Being Weightless
We fight gravity all day long (and it is a rather persistent force) that being in a weightless environment can decompress the spine and joints for a period of time alleviating joint pain. Also, any lactic acid in the muscles is more easily removed from the body in this weightless environment. My body definitely felt more relaxed afterwards.
One goal of the session is to relax mentally and reduce your cortisol (stress hormone) level. If you are able to get into that deep relaxation stage you should feel like you are floating in space. I overheard two other customers – repeat floaters – talk about that day’s float with the staff. One said she had a hard time relaxing during the float and the other said she was in the zone with her float and felt mentally refresh. It seems the key is to mentally “let go” during the float.
Float Spa Procedure
Before your first float you watch a video that goes over the float experience and a review of procedure and how the pod operates.
- You first put in ear plugs that model to your ear canals.
- Next you take a shower and towel yourself dry. For the best float experience it is recommended you float naked, but you can wear a bathing suit if you prefer.
- A neck support or roll is available. If you have any neck issues I suggest you use one. I did not use one the first time, but did the second. Using the neck support helps to float more easily with less strain on the neck. It also makes getting water in the ears and eyes less likely.
- You then enter the pod and can either leave the lid up or close it. Once in the pod there are controls for the music and light in the pod. There is also an intercom if you need any help.
- Be careful not to get the salt water in your eyes as it will burn the eyes – a hand towel and squirt bottle of water are available to remedy that.
- After your float session is over you take another shower.
- As you are showering the water in the pod is being filtered. The salt water is naturally sterile. The water goes through a filtering process four times before the next use and ozone and UV light are also used to purify and disinfect the water.
And, voilà. You should feel less stressed.