Today couldn’t have been a more beautiful day for my first float experience. I had heard about Halcyon from my trainer, Erik. We’ve both got our aches and pains from injuries and we both want to continue doing what we do, which means recovery is key. We joke around about hyperbaric chambers and the healing pods from that movie Elysium. E heard about the floaty place, told me and he had very little convincing to do.
A short sub/el ride to Girard Ave and an even shorter walk had me at 209 Girard – Halcyon Floats.
I had thoroughly read the website and came prepared- fresh out of the shower with no lotions, oils, perfumes, or deodorant. I walked in and was greeted by Lauren who explained the float to me a little bit more and then showed me to my room.
There are two float rooms. I had seen pictures on their Facebook, but I was still a little nervous about the size of the box I’d be climbing into (hellooooooo claustrophobia!). Standard procedure is you come in, you strip down, shower up -no conditioner!, put in your ear plugs, turn on the floaty light, kill the room light, climb into the box and close the door. Yes. Close the door to that twin bed sized box that’s taking up most of the room.
Well, in I went, naked as the day I was born armed only with my floaty light and the neck pillow. As I was getting situated, I was vaguely reminded of cave diving with a flashlight. The buoyancy! Holy cheese was that cool. I couldn’t sit to get settled because the salt water kept pushing me up. Hahah I’m in the box. I’m finally laying down. My eyes are closed. I decided against the neck pillow once I felt how buoyant I actually was. Then I got brave and turned off the floaty light.
I couldn’t see or hear anything. I really couldn’t feel the water. Sensory deprivation? Probably the closest I’ll ever come to it. I started the float on my back with my hands at my sides, right hand over the floaty light so I didn’t lose it. You’re in 10 inches of water that has about 800lbs of Epsom salts in it. The water is roughly 93 degrees. Once I relaxed, I was submerged to 2cm from the outside of my eyes. Most of my body was under the water except for my chest and tops of my thighs. The sound of my breath in my plugged ears sounded like I was laying on the beach listening to the ocean. Shortly thereafter, I changed my floating position to arms over my head, palms up. SO much better! I had my floaty light resting in my hand and my arms were able to completely relax.
I felt heavy and weighless at the same time. My internal jukebox was kicking out some pretty good tunes, though I can’t remember now what they were. I had a mental image at once point of doing a backflip. Those of you that know me know I can’t do a backflip. I didn’t fall asleep, though they tell you there is a chance of that happening. I probably will on my next session. I couldn’t shut off my mind enough. A few times I actually startled myself by my muscles twitching (thanks restless legs!). Most of the time, it didn’t feel like I was floating in the water. It felt like I was laying on something, but it wasn’t anything. Hard to accurately describe. I was comfortable for most of the session. There was one point that my chest got a little cold, but then I gently scoped water over myself. Best thing to note, I didn’t feel claustrophobic.
At the end of 90 minutes, some music comes on inside of the tank to let you know your session is over. I turned back on my light, brushed the dried salt off of my stomach and hulked open the door. It’s a little heavy, but I didn’t realize my own strength and kind of slammed it open. Whoops! I showered and sat in the room for a little in the softest most awesome robe ever. Side note: all of their linens are incredibly soft. There is a small lounge area with tea, water, and biscuits. Lauren said the effects should last all day and I could even have some interesting dreams tonight.
Overall, my experience was lovely. Some tips for the first timer:
-Don’t wear your contacts.
-Take off your unnecessary jewelry. I was still wearing my hook bracelet and remembered at last minute to take it off. You don’t know what kind of damage that consentration of salt water could do to your stuff
-Bring lotion/toiletries if you’re particular. I am about my lotions, but they provide shampoo, conditioner, body wash, ear plugs, Vaseline to seal cuts, contact cases and solution if you forget yours at home, ear plugs, spray deodorant, qtips , slippers, all linens and a hair dryer.
-Anything you put on the floor will get salt on it. There are hooks and a chair. Use them. The rooms and tank are very clean, but salt is like sand, if ya know what I mean.
-Should go without saying, but use the bathroom beforehand haha
Not sure on what it’s done for sports recovery, but I was very relaxed all day. I can’t wait for my next session. Check them out!