Ok guys, this post is not going to be about food. Shocking, I know. It is going to be loosely related to 2 of my favorite places to eat, so maybe that counts? I was recently contacted by H20m Float, which is located right between Si Senor and Greek Street Café in a strip mall on St Johns Bluff. Floating is new to the Jacksonville area, but there are other floating centers located across the US. For those who are not familiar with the concept, it is floating in 10 inches of highly concentrated salt water warmed to skin temperature. You are enclosed in a Pod with a lid (it can be left open or closed) and have the option to float with lights/music or go completely quiet with sensory deprivation. They recommend the sensory deprivation option for your first float in order to maximize your experience. I asked my friend Jennifer to tag along so I could get another opinion. I will include her experiences along with my own below.
I decided to go with it and turned off the lights in the pod, and laid back. We were told that some people have a hard time relaxing their heads in the water, but I was actually ok with it. Once I was floating, it took me a little while to settle in. I was worried about floating into the wall and hitting my head, so I put my arms above my head and that eased my worry. I started to wonder if I could actually float there for an hour without being bored. I willed my mind to relax and shut up, then focused on the actual sensation of floating.
Typically when you are in a pool or a bathtub and your skin comes in contact with the air, you are freezing. This was a completely different sensation. The exposed areas of your body are the same temperature as the submerged areas. With the water being body temperature, you have the feeling of floating in the air. You can’t tell where the water ends and the air begins. I have never felt anything like it. There is a strong salt smell in the air, but you get used to it after a little while. With the lid of the pod closed it can also get a bit stuffy, but that was not an issue after a few minutes as well.
After laying there for a little while my mind started to get creative. You might not know this, but in addition to my food blogging, I am also a photographer (Shameless Plug Alert -- Jill Cruz Photography). I started thinking of things I wanted to accomplish and how to go about doing it. Without any outside stimuli, I was really able to get into my own head and pull that creativity right out. When you are laying in a pod with no cell phone or computer, your mind can really wander...and I was going to take full advantage of that. I didn’t realize how nice it would be to unplug and get away from everything. I do not have children, but I can imagine how nice this would be for a parent to come in and have an hour all to themselves. It really relaxes you and pulls all of your stress away. I did have a strange psychic moment at the end of my float. I was thinking to myself that I was done and needed to get out. I found the button for the lights and turned them on. At that exact moment the water in the pod started moving, signaling that my float time was up. It was totally spooky!
One of the advertised benefits of floating is pain relief. While I did not have any body aches before the float, Jennifer had been to the gym a few days prior so she was able to test this. She was amazed at how great floating was for her muscle pain. After leaving the pod, she was virtually pain free. She almost fell asleep during her float since she was so relaxed.
I have never done anything like this before so I was going in completely blind. I wasn’t sure what to expect or how I would feel afterwards. After all was said and done, I loved it. Once I got past the odd sensation of getting into the pod and floating, I was really able to relax and free my mind. I can see myself coming back for a float after a stressful week or when I need to spark some creativity. They offer your first float at a discounted rate of $45 for an hour, which is comparable to a massage or other alternate therapy. I imagine that floating will be desirable to people (like me) who don’t like to be touched, where massage is not an option. You float completely alone for an hour, which is perfect for my fellow introverts :)