My first float experience was… different. Not bad. Just different.

Let me back it up by saying within the last year, I made the choice to no longer use pharmaceuticals (including ibuprofen unless I’m knocking on death’s door) or products that contain toxins. Yes, I’m one of them and proud of it. Laundry soap, shampoos, toiletries, right down to make up and toothpaste – all tossed. To me, if possibly saving myself from illness can be easy as switching from one brand to another I’m gonna do it. Period. This is a whole other topic, but I wanted to give a small backstory as to why holistic approaches tickle my fancy.

Okay. The floating.

I was browsing around the internet and stumbled upon a float center in my area called Ocean Elements Salt Spa + Float Center. Doesn’t it just sound amazing? I had never heard of it before but was intrigued immediately. I couldn’t bring myself to go alone, so I decided to buy my mom a gift card for Christmas as one of her gifts. It was an agonizing two months from the day I bought her gift card to the day I we went, February 3, 2018. Our appointment was just a mere 4 days after my daddy had passed, and both my mom and I really needed this.

A few days before our appointment, I received an email to confirm the appointment along with a list of helpful tips for us to follow prior to floating:

 Refrain from coloring hair or spray tans 3-4 days prior to your scheduled float
 Don’t drink caffeine 4-6 hours beforehand
 Don’t shave or wax 4-6 hours beforehand
 Eat a light meal about an hour before you float
 If you wear contacts, bring a case, or take them out before you come

Along with a few reasons why we aren’t able to float (a tattoo in the last six weeks,
epilepsy, etc). Other than that, neither of us had any idea of what to expect.

The float center was the first stop on our day of healing which also included lunch and a pedicure. We strolled in, filled out the necessary paper work and were taken back to the float tanks. It was a brand new facility, the smell of paint hung in the air and the studio was bright and inviting. This particular center has not just 2 float pods + a deluxe cabin, but a salt room and rest station – neither of which I’ve made it in to try yet. The pods are just large enough for someone to float without much room to move around – especially me since I’m 6′.

That particular day, we both reserved a pod. They’re each in their own personal + spacious rooms, complete with a shower, toiletries and other items such as disposable ear plugs, a spray bottle with fresh water, towel and stand to place your belongings. I always rinse off prior to getting in, because that’s the kind of gal I am.

I closed and locked the door, changed into my bathing suit, rinsed, climbed into the tank and closed the lid. The first thing I noticed was the pretty blue light and the smell of Epsom salt. I laid back, turned on the audio button, and a soothing voice invited me to my float session before the music began.

The music is a very relaxing, an absolutely delightful sound. The volume can be adjusted and I kept it on the softest setting. I also left the light on, but I closed my eyes and tried to rest my tired mind.

I prayed, cried, asked the Lord to send his angels armed with my messages to my dad, cried some more and tried my best to release the deep sadness and emptiness that clenched my soul.

After what felt like a half an hour and I had let it all out, I was slowly able to relax and ease my mind like I needed to. Once I was calmed down, it was the greatest peace I had felt in a very long time. The water temperature is the same as our bodies, so it’s
almost impossible to tell where you end and the water begins and the amount of salt in the water makes you float almost on top of the water. It was the craziest yet most relaxing sensation I’d ever felt.

Soon afterwards, the soft voice that once invited me in was kicking me out. My session was up and within minutes the automatic cleansing mechanism would begin.

HOW WAS THAT EVEN AN HOUR?!

I would say I hopped out and showered, but my body was so heavy feeling that I’d say I crawled out. I slowly got my shower and collected my belongings then slinked out to the lobby where I found my mom slumped in a chair.

The owner asked us how our float was and I honestly don’t even remember what either of us said. We paid for our float, said our thank yous and goodbyes, then proceeded to sit completely still in my car for ten minutes. We were so relaxed and shocked neither of us could move a muscle – in fact, I almost felt halfway drunk.

We did stop and get food, but the pedicure appointments were canceled. Getting out of the car and walking anywhere other than into our homes were off the table. Before the sun had set that day, we were texting about the date of our next appointment.

We are hooked. How can you be addicted to something that breaks addictions? I will say this experience, while great, was much different than my floats now. I couldn’t shut my mind off for the majority of the first float, I was uneasy about the lid being shut,
and was even slightly fidgety at times (I can’t ever sit still), but now I find myself settling in and fully relaxing within minutes, to the point where I’ve actually caught myself nodding off. I look forward to each float with great anticipation and it’s essential for post- race or heavy gym day recovery. In between floats, I take frequent Epsom salt baths at home but it’s just not the same.

If you’re curious but unsure, do yourself a favor and give it a try. And if you’re on the Delmarva Peninsula, or even better the Ocean City / Berlin, MD area, use their facility. They offer discounts for multiple monthly floats, subscriptions and more.

– Amy Tyre, Ocean Elements Salt Spa + Float Center.