I was so excited to receive a gift certificate for a 1 hour Zero Gravity Institute float from Kaleigh for Christmas because I am trying to explore and embrace new forms of creativity in 2018. I believe that everyone is a creative (you just might not know it yet!) and should have a creative outlet. With a Zero Gravity float, the idea is that all of your senses (sight, sound, touch, etc.) are deprived, so you can focus on what’s on your mind or perhaps in the back of your mind. Some people use these floats as a relaxation or re-centering time. I wanted my mind to go a million miles an hour in creative overdrive and I was not disappointed.
From the time I walked in the door, everything about the experience was calming. The hostess had a soothing voice as she checked me in and led me to the locker room to change. I had the whole room to myself and slipped into my robe and sandals to get more comfortable.
She then led me to a massage chair that was maybe the best part of the whole experience. For about 15 minutes I sat in the most incredible massage chair I’ve ever seen that actually wraps around your arms, legs, and the top of your head. The pressure was amazing and all I could think was, “How do I get one of these at home?”
When my massage was over, I reluctantly got up and was led to the “Serenity” float room. The hostess explained to me how it all works and gave me tips on how to have a more enjoyable float. You must shower before and after the float; before so that you don’t bring any lotions or body oils into the water, after to get all the salt off. The tank has “25% saturated pharmaceutical epsom salt solution” in it to help keep you a float, which makes it “five times denser than the dead sea.”
I had 5 minutes after the hostess left to shower and enter the pod. I opted to use one of the neck pillows they provide so that I wouldn’t be distracted about how to keep my head afloat, so I grabbed it and headed into the tank. Even with the pillow, my ears were still submerged in the water, so the light music sounded very faint. (Note: I would recommend using the wax ear plugs they provide because my ears bothered me the rest of the night from getting water in them.) I laid in the water anxiously for a minute or two until the lights went out and the music stopped.
I wasn’t scared, but it’s definitely what I imagine it would feel like to be lost in a very dark part of outerspace. When you float in the ocean, you have to engage your core a bit to keep your legs up; I kept wanting to tense up to keep my legs afloat, but there’s so much salt that every body part really does float on its own.
Once I settled in, I sometimes got the sensation that I was flying or moving really, really fast – kinda like vertigo, but I didn’t feel like I was spinning so much as I moving sideways really fast. I kept expecting to hit the wall of the tank, but I didn’t.
If you do move, you feel a bit like a ping pong ball – any slight motion will send you side to side, but as long as you just gently touch the wall rather than push off, you’ll center yourself in the tank again quickly.
Once I got comfortable with this new sensation, or should I say sensation-less, environment, I started thinking about my goals for 2018 and how I can accomplish them. My mind was moving so fast that I started to visualize a white board where I was writing out categories and all my ways to accomplish the goals beneath them – things I want to write & blog about, date nights with Bradley, ideas for my Art Journal, etc. I could visualize all of it. Not only on the white board, but how these ideas would play out in real life when I put them into action. I know many motivational speakers and authors (including the late great Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) say you have to visualize your goals before you can achieve them and to me, visualization helps solidify that I can and will accomplish them.
About 10 minutes before the float was over, I started getting stir crazy. I’m not sure if my visualization would have been cut short at 45 minutes or if that would have been the perfect amount of time, but an hour seemed a little long. Maybe it just takes some getting used to.
After my shower, I retreated to the waiting room where I could stay as long as I liked enjoying tea, colored pencils & adult coloring books, and relaxing music.
I left feeling excited and eager to put the white board in my head onto paper, and to begin the work to accomplish all these ideas.
For more about the benefits of floating, click here.