Remember last week when I talked about how much women need experiential gifts? Well allow me to recommend a specific experience: A “float tank therapy” session!
Relaxing in a meditative float tank is one of those things that I’ve always wanted to try but, due to a combination of anxiety around new experiences and feeling guilty about spending money and time on superfluous things, I just figured it was something I’d never get to do. Until my friend gave me a spa gift certificate good for a float tank therapy session.
Due to the aforementioned anxiety around new experiences I didn’t immediately jump at the chance to float. But my friend (who clearly knows my reclusive tendencies well) kept reminding me about it until my guilt started to outweigh my anxiety, and I finally booked a session.
And HOLY GUACAMOLE, GUYS, I’m so glad I went. I need to tell you about my float tank experience, and also let you know why you should force your friends to do it too (especially if they’re moms)…
What is Float Tank Therapy?
Basically it’s a “pod” that has about 10 inches of clean, body-temperature water infused with so much Epsom salts that it makes you completely buoyant (like the Dead Sea on steriods). Then you just… float. You can leave the light and music on or off (for the full sensory deprivation experience) — both are totally enjoyable.
And if you’re like me (*cough* neurodiverse *cough*) and can’t stand the feeling of getting prune-y, good news: The water and salt combo makes it so you don’t prune!
Does it feel clausterphobic?
I was very worried about that! I was relieved to find out that I could open and close the pod on my own and end the session at any time. You can keep the lights on the whole time. Plus, the pod is HUGE, I could sit up completely straight while inside. And the best part is that, once you close your eyes, you literally feel like you’re floating in space! I had never felt less clausterphobic in my life.
So what was it like?
I took all my clothes off, took a quick shower, put in a pair of ear plugs (to keep the water out) and slipped into the pod. I pulled the lid down and laid back, floating in the calming glow of the blue light and listening to the gentle music.
Unfortunately it took me about half the hour-long session to get my whole body and brain to FULLY relax — it’s such a weird thing to tell your whole human body to completely relax, there there’s zero pressure on it. Human bodies are not used to that kind of freedom, especially anxiety-ridden ones. But then I realized that I actually needed to get my residual anxiety out, so I started to swish around like a mermaid, I stretched every which way, I gently pushed myself up and down and back and forth in the pod, feeling the water rippling under me, and got all my wiggles out.
Finally I was able to lay there, relaxed and completely still. And it felt incredible. I felt weightless, pressure-less, I could feel every muscle in my body (including my brain) getting to just chill and take a break.
I felt like a mermaid in space!
And this is why it’s a perfect gift for moms:
Let me tell you about the moms you know: They’re stressed out, they’re touched out, and they desperately crave some time to themselves where no one is asking or needing anything from them. I’ve felt like that all day every day since giving birth 2 years ago. And that hour in a float tank felt extra incredible because NO ONE COULD BOTHER ME IN MY SPACE BUBBLE!!!
And I’ll admit it: I cried in that float tank. I cried because I couldn’t remember a time where my space felt that protected and safe. And I also got to carry that feeling with me for the rest of the day. When my kiddo was getting spicy with me at bedtime, I was in such a great headspace to gentle parent the heck out of her.
And that’s how an hour of getting to being a space mermaid gave me so much more than I expected.
Now how do I force my most stressed out friend to this?
So I did a little digging and found a website called Spa Week and another one called SpaFinder where you can order gift certificates for different spas in North America. I did some more research and they both have places that offer float tank sessions. Once you find the right location, you purchase them a gift certificate and then HOUND THEM UNTIL THEY MAKE AN APPOINTMENT.