And it looks as though I might just be able to do it!
Last Friday, Dave and I headed out to the Fairway Spa for massages (preggy-version for me) and a 30 minute flotation therapy session. I was told by the spa manager / front desk guy (who kind of reminded me of the “You underestimate my sneakiness” guy from Mr Deeds), that flotation wasn’t safe during pregnancy and that I’d have to do something else instead. To say I was disappointed was an understatement. I dragged my sulky bottom lip off for an express pedi instead, while Dave got to “float” on his own.
Not satisfied with the spa manager’s explanation, I did some Googling and it turns out that flotation is AMAZING, particularly during pregnancy. You know how it is: you’re pregnant, carrying the extra weight, with the obligatory aching back, legs and feet. People recommend swimming, but the thought of getting into your costume (IN WINTER, nogal) in front of other people in a gym, scares the bejesus out of you. Sounds more like torture than anything else.
Flotation, however, is done at a spa, on your own … sounds like heaven, no? Well, to me, it sounds damn near perfection! PLUS, the water is salted, so you literally just float … weightless and calm. I think I may actually be salivating.
For those of you who aren’t in the know (I wasn’t either, until I happened upon Cloud 9’s website and Facebook page), the flotation therapy process is best described as follows (copied directly from the Cloud 9 website):
How does the float session work?
- The tank is about the size of a queen size bed. It has a lightweight, self-supporting door, which is easily opened and closed from inside.
- You let yourself in and out of the tank.
- The tank is designed to block out all light and sound, so that you are cocooned in warm, silent, darkness while you float.
- Inside the tank is about 30cm of water, which is heated to your external skin temperature 34.2 degrees. (At this temperature, most people begin to lose perspective of where their body ends and the water starts.)
- The water creates a gravity free environment for your body.
- Dissolved in the water is about 500kg of Magnesium Sulphate (Epson salts). The salt makes the water so dense that when you lie back in it, you are pushed to the surface like a cork – completely weightless.
- The water is absolutely hygienically clean and sterile.
- The water in the tank is thoroughly filtered and Ozonated after each float, leaving it completely clean and sterile. It is fitted with air vents, which ensure that there is always plenty of fresh air to breath.
- The entire experience is completely private and secure. After a thorough briefing, you are left on your own to prepare for the float, and let yourself into the tank.
- Before the float, you will have a luxurious shower and wash off any creams, hair products, dry skin and loose hair.
- Towels, soap etc are provided at Cloud 9, so you do not have to bring any of these with you.
- (Most people float naked: a costume would become heavy with salt, creating a sensation on your body that will distract you while you float.)
- Before entering the tank, smear Vaseline on any cuts so that they do not sting with the salt. We also suggest that you remove jewelry before going into the tank.
- A set of disposable ear plugs are provided. Water in your ears can be unpleasant after you have left the tank. We recommend you rinse your ears thoroughly when you shower again after the float.
- You let yourself into and out of the tank. You are in complete control of the entire float experience.
- Still wet, (except for you face, which we recommend you dry thoroughly) you will enter the tank pulling the door closed behind you.
- There is a small light inside the tank which you can control from inside. We recommend that you turn it off when you have settled in.
- Your body is completely supported by the water.
- Once you are in the tank, settle back into the water. Don’t attempt to hold your head up, just relax your entire body and let your head fall back completely in the water – your face will not go under, and holding your head up will only create tension in your neck muscles.
- The standard commercial float is 1 hour long, although it is possible to float for as long as you like without any ill effects.
- You are eased into the float on a gentle cloud of music.
- Music will play for the first 10 min of the hour, it helps you to relax and get comfortable in the tank. Thereafter, 45 min of complete silence. For the last 5 min the music will come on again to gently bring you back to earth and let you know that the float is over.
- Do not be concerned about sleeping through the music, it will become progressively louder until it wakes you up.
- Most people listen to music at the beginning and end of the float. Some people like to float with music the entire time. It is up you.
- The last 5 min of music brings you gently back to awareness.
- When the music comes on again, you can take a little time to ground yourself, you will find that you are so physically relaxed that you need to find your muscles again. When you are ready, you will stand up, wipe off the excess salty water, and amble off to the shower.
- Ideally, you should give yourself a chance to enjoy the effects of the float (which are numerous) rather than rushing off to a busy schedule again.