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Published on June 18, 2019

woman floating in pool relaxing

#TryItTuesday: How to Get the Most from Floating

Stress, tension, aching muscles, back or neck pain—you name it. We all suffer from physical and mental exhaustion at some point in our lives. Healthy therapeutic options are available to help your body decompress, rejuvenate and heal after a hard day, an intense workout or while going through a difficult life experience.

What is Floating?

Growing in popularity, flotation is an alternative therapy that allows you to relax your body and mind while floating on top of body-temperature salt water. Pools can be open-air, or you can choose a close-lid pod, sized for an individual—promoting sensory deprivation and a quiet, isolated environment. Due to the quantity of salt water, your body becomes naturally buoyant—and doesn’t require energy to hold a floating position.

Benefits of Floating 

Some reported benefits of floatation therapy include reduced stress, anxiety and depression. In addition, floatation can relieve headaches, reduce muscle tension, lower blood pressure, decrease blood lactate and increase circulation. Improved creativity and sleep habits are also commonly cited side effects.

Ready to dip your toes into floatation therapy? Here are a few tips to help you get the most from your floating experience.

Before Floating

  • Schedule an appointment when you have more time to relax, such as weekend or evening
  • Prepare yourself mentally ahead of time, practice meditation and calm your thoughts with quiet or gentle music
  • Bring along your swimming suit and toiletries
  • Avoid caffeine or other stimulants and eat a light meal beforehand if needed
  • Try an oxygen bar to breathe in new air before you float
  • Shower before entering floating pool or pod
  • Know what relaxes you, choose an open-air pool or a close-lid pod (spas usually offer one type of floating method so ask beforehand when you make an appointment)
  • Use ear plugs (be sure they’re firmly in place), remove contact lenses, place band-aids on cuts and don’t shave the day before you float to avoid salt water irritation
  • Turn off any lights or dim lights
  • Mute your cell phone

While Floating

  • Ease into water slowly and give yourself plenty of room in the water to lay flat
  • Stretch yourself out fully in a snow angel position or float with arms above the head if that is more comfortable
  • Breathe slowly and measuredly to keep your position in the water (use pool sides to find your position and try to keep your body from touching the pool sides or bottom)
  • Do not touch your face with salt water to avoid eye irritation
  • Choose music or silence to help calm you
  • Focus on your thoughts (practicing mediation, repeating songs, verses or mantras can calm your busy, thinking mind)
  • Let yourself enjoy the sensation of free floating (forget about time and focus on the present) 

After Floating

  • Move slowly and mindfully while exiting the floating pool or pod
  • Shower after you float (be sure to rinse salt water from your hair and skin)
  • Drink water or an antioxidant-rich drink, such as green or white tea or a berry smoothie
  • Avoid caffeine or other stimulants and eat a light meal afterward if needed
  • Allow a gentle re-entry into daily activities with a scheduled downtime after you float
  • Take a walk, stretch your muscles or meditate while in a post-floating restful state
  • Float consistently for full benefits of stress or physical relief

While not for everyone, floatation therapy is a technique for those with an open mind and the ability to observe and build their own inner calm. Floatation offers a relaxing therapeutic alternative to add to your list of de-stressing things to try, along with massage, acupuncture or aromatherapy.

Individual well-being is each of our own responsibilities—not only for ourselves but for those we interact with—and floatation therapy can be a useful tool for improving overall health and happiness.

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Avera is a health ministry rooted in the Gospel. Our mission is to make a positive impact in the lives and health of persons and communities by providing quality services guided by Christian values.

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