floating

It's A Salt Tank, Not An Assault Tank

During the one week that I took off this summer, which was mostly a "staycation", I visited a new business in town, Saltwater State College. Hilariously (to me), when I was asked by a colleague the week before my time off what I was going to to during my vacation, I said I had scheduled an hour in a salt tank. "An assault tank?" came the perplexed reply. "No", I said, "a SALT tank....a tank filled with salty water where I will float, uninterrupted, for 60 minutes." My colleague wasn't sure about this, and others chimed in that they didn't think it would be for them, that they were unable to float, that they thought it would be creepy, etc. Undaunted, I went to my appointment during my week off, and I'm so glad I did.

First, let me put out there that I really don't like water. I can't swim, having ingrained in me as a youngster that water could be "dangerous" and having that affirmed by witnessing a traumatic experience in the water as a teen. I tried twice in my adult life to take swimming lessons, successful neither time because I just couldn't overcome my fears of drowning, not being able to stay buoyant, not being able to find the bottom, etc. So, the prospect of voluntarily going alone into any kind of "water experience" for an hour could have been anything but relaxing. 

But, I wasn't approaching this experience as a water experience. I was approaching it as a therapeutic process that would be great for my muscles and joints, soothing for my spirit, and relaxing for my mind. I also knew that the water level I'd be floating in wouldn't be much different than a hot tub. But could I float?

The "I can't float" theory goes right out the window with a salt tank like this. There are 850 pounds of Epsom salt in that water, which makes it impossible NOT to stay buoyant. At Saltwater State College, I arrived to find a clean, well-appointed space and a thorough explanation of what would be happening from the owner, Sarah. There was light if I wanted it, music if I wanted it. I chose a soft amount of light, and spa-type music, which was muffled to just the right amount by the wax earplugs I wore (they, along with everything else, are provided). 

I disrobed (you can wear a swimsuit if you want, but it's commonplace to go au naturel), showered before entering the tank (as required), and headed in. The water, at about body temperature, felt incredibly soft thanks to all that salt. I confess that it maybe took me 10 minutes to get completely comfortable and acclimated. I kind of hung on to the sides with my arms outstretched for a few minutes. I experimented with the inflatable pillow that was there, but decided I didn't want it under my head. Once I was done fidgeting, I went to some of the breath techniques that I've learned from my Headspace meditation app, and from then on I pretty much went to sleep or at least very close to it. It was heavenly!

Will I do it again? Yes. I already have another appointment scheduled. And did I experience any benefits, other than being away from electronics, human interaction, busy dogs....life....for an hour? I think so. As a runner, I've always found an Epsom salt bath incredibly useful in muscle recovery. I went here on a day when I had worked out vigorously (including running) and I definitely sensed a difference. My skin felt exfoliated and soft.  But maybe best of all, I felt "clearer"....emotionally, mentally, and physically. And who can't use a dose of that once in awhile?

Have you ever floated in a salt tank? (Not an assault tank.) What did you think? How did it make you feel? 

P.S. Just for the record, I am not affiliated in any way with Salt Water State College, other than as a client. I was happy with my experience and just wanted to pass it on.  I wish Sarah well in this endeavor as this salt water float tank is the first of its kind in the Happy Valley area.