“Lay for an hour in 1000 lbs of Epsom salted water”, they said. “Close yourself in a tank, in pitch black, for an hour”, they said. “This sounds like a recipe for a panic attack!” I said. And I did it anyway, because apparently I just listen to people and trust them when they look like legitimate decent human beings. But guess what? Turns out floating is the real deal-bees knees and I’m HOOKED. Here is why….
I invited my business babe friend Sydney Mintle to join me for our first float experience together at Float Seattle’s Bellevue location. I showed up in sweats, no makeup, and a high bun. She looked gorgeous and put together. For that, I love her even more. She clearly takes our day dates much more serious than I. Moving on….
We were greeted by Max, who gave us a tour of the space and a tutorial on how to enjoy our first float experience. He thoroughly answered all our questions and was patient as we meandered around the space to get mentally prepared. As if we were boarding a shuttle for space. My goal was to really let myself shut down for the hour, turn off the light, close the tank lid, and try to relax in to the water. With every intention made up in my mind, I still had so much hesitation about if I would truly be able to LET IT GO.
Sydney and I bid farewell to one another from across the hall, shouted “see ya in an hour”, and closed the doors behind us.
The room was dimly lit, mostly by the light in the tank (or as I really like to call it, “cocoon”), and the air was cozy. It nearly felt like there was no temperature change between the warmth of the room and my anxious body. The walls, concrete and industrial, donned a shower head that lived about 3 feet from the cocoon entry. I lingered at the foot of the cocoon, jamming and twisting in the squishy ear buds while the green glow from the 10 inches of salted water warmed my face. I turned on the shower head and let the warm water wash over me. I took a deep breath in and pushed it out with a fatigued sigh. Clearly I was in need of this.
Moving in to the cocoon, as Max instructed me, I dried off my face thoroughly, hung the face towel on the inside handle of the cocoon lid in case I needed it mid-float, stepped inside slowly, holding on to the lid for safety, and as I sat down in the water I pulled the lid down over me. Before I gave thought to the fact that I was closed up in a small cocoon, naked, in water, in a strange place I pushed the light button and closed my eyes, drawing my arms up overhead and relaxing my shoulders into the water. I felt my belly tense as it tried to hold my body up, but then I realized the water was carrying my weight. ALL of my weight. My head became heavy in the water, but never did my eyes go below the water’s surface. I released my calves and my thighs. They, too, were being supported by the 1000 pounds of salt and water. Nature at its finest. It was magical, really.
I swayed my body from one side of the cocoon to the other. Like a starfish, reaching out, touching the edges, running my fingers through my hair that felt like slow moving silk sheets caressing my hands and arms. Only the sound of my breath going in and releasing out was present. I couldn’t even sense the beat of my own heart. It was incredible. My core finally relaxed and I settled in without resistance. Once I laid motionless and I allowed my body to stop fighting against its need to hold me up against gravity, it felt as if I was stuck somewhere between dreaming and reality. Truly - totally cliche, but I tell no lies here. Once I would move my body after lying still, I could feel my joints and aches and pains snap and crackle and pop back in to place. As if they were crying out THANK GOD, FINALLY!
I had half expected to have visions, recall memories, or feel like an ah-ha moment would erupt in my brain, but unfortunately there was no brain explosion. HOWEVER, shortly before my session was over, I had somewhat fallen in to a sleep state, yet still aware of my surroundings in the cocoon. And suddenly, the faces of my two beautiful daughters, with ear to ear grins, presented themselves in the forefront of my mind. Tears poured from the outside corners of my eyes within an instant of this vision and my body uncontrollably wept. From the tears, to the tingling in my fingers and the bottoms of my feet, an emotion of thankfulness and gratitude had burst free.
The lights flickered to signal my hour was complete. I felt at ease… relaxed and at peace. I wanted to just keep crying - the release was beautifully refreshing.
Post float, the effects were felt through the day. Food tasted better, I was inspired to write again, my body moved without ache or pain, I slept incredibly well… I wanted to crawl back in to that cocoon and spill into that space of clarity.
I reached out to Andrew, Owner of Float Seattle (and truly rad person) to ask why floating peaked his interest and to understand more of the benefits that come from a routine float.
“Float tanks have been around since the late 50's, but for a long time were mainly used on the fringes of society by scientists, artists, and psychonauts (a term reserved for those dabbling with psychedelics to explore altered states of consciousness). With advances in equipment technology, a bit of re-branding (floating used to be referred to as "sensory deprivation" and float tanks as "isolation chambers" - intimidating and not entirely accurate), and with the help of the internet, floating has finally gone mainstream. Simply describing a float tank to someone who has never heard of it can certainly sound strange and unappealing. It has to be seen and then experienced to be believed.
I came to floating as a novice meditator and someone with nagging back pain from years of restaurant work. Not only did I find the physical relief I was looking for, but I was blown away by the level of relaxation and introspection I was able to achieve in the tank. I found that, as an introvert, an hour alone in this weightless environment with no external stimuli provided an unparalleled way to recharge and reset. Not only that, but there was a clarity of thought that lasted for days afterward.
What started as a cool and interesting short-term job, soon turned into an internship of sorts as I planted seeds to someday open my own float center. Instead, after three years of learning everything inside and out, Sean - now a friend and mentor - offered to sell me the company. Fast forward a bit more, and here we are…..
Our mission at Float Seattle is to provide our guests with the best and most consistent float experiences possible. We're here to give access to a one-of-a-kind therapy that offers the stress relief, pain relief, and meditation that people deserve. A one-hour float session has the potential to be incredibly healing and transformative. A regular float practice can truly change lives. The human body and mind crave homeostasis and a chance to turn inward for healing, introspection, and recovery. Meanwhile, the modern world—so full of stimulation and distractions—has taken us away from this very primal need to rest in isolation. It’s time to shed some conditioning and get back to basics. Floating is hands-down the most reliable way to hit the reset button on your nervous system and connect back to your own innate inner wisdom and peace. No dogma or training required. Not only that, but the 1000 lbs of Epsom salt and weightless environment help with pain relief and recovery unlike anything else. We owe it to our guests to help them discover all this for themselves. To help them become better, live with less pain, and reach their true potential.”
- Owner & GM, Andrew Loppnow
Every one will have a different and unique float experiences. Many do not feel the effects or have such an intense experience on their first float. It can take a couple floats to really let your body settle in to the water and feel the benefits.
So, why go float? Why not…. there are so many wonderful benefits that come from that 1 simple hour alone, just you and a tank of salted water. Nature is a beast. It is made with the intention to carry you through life. So let it….
photos courtesy of float seattle
Float Seattle has 2 locations in Greenlake and Bellevue - check out their site for more info