I’ve often fantasized about abandoning my overdue files and buzzing BlackBerry and jetting off to a tranquil, private island to laze in the warm, azure water and have nary a care in the world. But lack of time and a tumbling loonie have prevented such fantasies from becoming a reality, so I made it my mission to search for other ways of escaping the stress of everyday lawyer life that are a little closer to home. That’s how I stumbled upon floating.
It sounds a bit odd — at least, it did to me — but flotation therapy is a growing trend. And what is it? Basically, you float in a sensory deprivation chamber — what amounts to a giant bathtub — full of water that’s infused with up to 1,000 pounds of Epsom salts to help soothe sore muscles, exfoliate your skin, fill you with feel-good endorphins and even help you sleep better.
I headed to the H2O Float spa on the Danforth to give it a try. (Full disclosure: Float covered the cost but had no editorial input.) H2O Float offers two options: spend an hour in the “float pod,” a space-age egg with a hydraulic door, or the “open concept float” in a large tub. I chose the pod.
Thanks to the Epsom salts, once I lay back in the water, I floated to the surface, which assuaged my initial fear of drowning in the pod. Inside, it was pitch-black, and the foot-deep water was warm. It all felt strangely womb-like (or at least what I imagine a womb might feel like). Not having practised meditation or other Zen-like activities, it took me a while to adjust. At first, I felt a slight panic at the prospect of being in this enclosed space for an entire hour, with nothing to see and nothing to do but float.
For the first 20 minutes, the experience was more monotonous than meditative. Mentally, I was still going over my to-do list for that day and fantasizing about what I might have for lunch. Slowly, however, I got used to my new, sensory-deprived surroundings. I never went into a mind-altered trance, but I began to loosen up and stopped thinking about laundry.
By the time the hour was up, I felt both relaxed and rejuvenated. Honestly, this was a welcome surprise. My skin felt baby- soft to boot. If you want to give it a try, the price isn’t too bad: if you go on the weekend, an hour-long session at H2O Float costs $69.
I can’t say that I made any existential discoveries, but, for a moment, all of the distractions of the outside world floated away.
This story is from our Summer 2016 issue.
Photo courtesy of I-SOPOD