Does anyone else remember the “Calgon, take me away” commercials? When life stresses a mom out, she retreats to her own world with the help of body wash (I think that’s what calgon is). My motto these days has been “Float tank take me away…”
I get that a lot of the stuff I do as a mom is weird. You might even say my husband and I are borderline hippies, whatever, I’ve owned up to my oddball status, but moms of the world I have to tell you. This is one weird experience you have to try, that you might have never thought of or even knew existed: floating.
Let’s start with a basic “what is it?” The tank itself can be called a float tank, isolation tank, or a sensory deprivation tank. It consists of 8-10 inches of water that contains 1000 pounds of epsom salts. The tanks or rooms are sound and light proof and the water is body temperature. For an hour participants float effortlessly thanks to the epsom salts in a distraction free environment.
Let me just tell you….as a mom this is amazing. So much of our mom life is filled with: kids touching us, checking our phones, and to quote the grinch: noise, noise, NOISE! I really can’t even begin to describe the feeling of having none of that to draw our attention. If that isn’t reason enough, I’ve compiled my top five reasons why every mom should try floating at least once:
- The rest. It is amazing how rested you feel after a float. I’ve seen people equate an hour session to getting 6-8 hours of sleep. Sleep is something all mothers need more of
- The reset. With all of the craziness within our lives and things demanding our attention, it is so refreshing to take a break from all of that and focus only on you.
- The relief. Floating through no effort of your own gives you a chance to feel weightless, letting all of your muscles and joints relax. I feel as good post float as I do after a massage (and this is coming from a massage therapist! I find this especially beneficial now that I’m super pregnant. Getting an hour where all my muscles aren’t holding on to added baby weight is life changing.
- The revelations. On a lot of my friend’s new years resolutions were to pursue more creative endeavors. I’ve found that spending time in a float tank allows my brain to be more creative and I can work through problems much easier without distractions.
- The relaxation. Floating has been shown to decrease cortisol, the stress hormone as well as lower blood pressure. You know who has a lot of stress? Moms.
What to expect while you’re floating: Whenever I float it takes about 5-15 minutes for my brain to calm down, especially if I haven’t done it in awhile. I spend a lot of time trying to find the most comfortable position, thinking where should I put my arms, thinking about all of the stuff that i could be doing other than floating and going through all those thoughts that race through your head before you go to sleep at night. At about the fifteen minute mark, my brain finally gives into the lack of stimulus and I kind of zone out. The best way I can describe it is like when you are getting a massage and you don’t fall asleep, but you are totally relaxed. This is where the magic happens. For me, and this sounds crazy, time seems to stand still. There have been times when I am floating and I get to this relaxed stage and when I come back out of it I think that I have been in there for 4 hours, only to get out and discover its only been 45 minutes, talk about getting some relaxation bang for your buck. Afterwards, I take my time getting out of the tank and then shower (you want to rinse off all that salt) and getting dressed. Shower and getting ready is a great transition back into the real world and it is best to ease back in.
Most people float in the nude, but you can wear a swimsuit if you are more comfortable, just don’t pack your best suit as the salt isn’t friendly to suits. Take advantage of the provided ear plugs…trust me. Even if the tank itself if soundproof…you want to keep salt water out of your ears, otherwise you’ll be finding flakes of salt there for awhile.
A tip for pregnant mamas, I’ve found the joy of floating stomach down really gives my back relief from carrying around a giant belly. I don’t float that way the whole time, but I do spend 10-15 minutes resting my elbows on the bottom of the tank with my face in my hands or laying my head on a pool noodle laid across my arms, then I flip over onto my back for the rest of the float.
So let’s say I’ve convinced you….now what? First off you need to make an appointment. Here in the QCA we have two float venues: Float Quad Cities in Moline and Integrated Functional Health in Bettendorf. Both facilities offer shower to use before and after your float as well as earplugs. Both are by appointment only. Integrated Functional Health offers an open top tank if they idea of being enclosed makes you claustrophobic. We’re lucky to have two separate options for floating in the Quad Cities and I highly encourage every mom I know to try it at least once.