What the HECK is Floating!?

I first heard about floating at some point last year, and I’ll admit, I was skeptical. Lying in a tub with a lid, that is filled with salt water for an hour? Why? Seems like a waste of time because if I wanted to be in salt water, I’d take a vacation and go to the ocean.

However, the concept piqued enough of my interest that I decided to do a little more reading, and discovered Clear Float Spa which located in Mission right here in Calgary, and found out just why this would be beneficial for me, and many others.

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Floating, put simply, is sensory deprivation. Inside a pod large enough to hold an adult, is usually no more than 10 inches of water, mixed with over 1,000 pounds of epsom salt to allow a person to float effortlessly at the surface. You become completely weightless as you float in water four times denser than the Dead Sea. The epsom salts contain minerals which your skin absorbs during your float, and help to increase blood flow and oxygen throughout the body.

The temperature of the water in the pod is 98F – exactly body temperature. The reason for this is so once you begin to float and relax your body and mind, you won’t be able to tell the difference between your body, the air, and the water. You can choose to have music play, turn the lights on/off within the pod, and for the claustrophobic, you can always leave the lid of the pod partially open. I had the calming meditative music they recommend for the first float play, but chose to turn the lights off, with the pod lid fully closed, to have a more in-depth first experience.

Since the pod itself is a space where stimuli is removed, the body’s parasympathetic nervous system is activated, which is responsible for the release of the happy chemicals in your brain; endorphins, serotonin and dopamine. Without stimulus, your body is able to focus internally instead to heal, de-stress, and recover.

While I am sure I did not achieve this during my first float, continued floating will allow a person to fully relax and have their mind enter the theta brain wave state, which is the state your mind reaches one step before entering a deep sleep. This state is optimal for healing, reduced anxiety, zen meditation, and creativity.

Benefits of Floating

  • anti-gravity effect on bones and joints
  • stress relief
  • endorphin production
  • heightened senses
  • muscle recovery
  • healing
  • relaxing
  • increased immunity
  • improved sleep
  • magnesium absorption
  • meditation
  • pain management
  • chronic pain relief

I wish I had taken advantage of floating while I was experiencing my endometriosis issues earlier this year – I imagine it would have helped ease the pain! It definitely made a difference in the muscle soreness I had experienced all week long from going back to the gym.

Clear Float Spa Experience

I finally decided to give floating a try, and booked my appointment with Clear Float Spa for 10:00am using my MindBody app on my phone so that I would be able to go work out before my float. While there are other float studios in Calgary, Clear Float was the easy choice for me because they were incredibly helpful, supportive, and answered all my questions when I reached out to them on Twitter earlier this year.

I headed down to Mission after my work out, and in an area that usually costs a small fortune to park in, if you can even find parking, I was so grateful that Clear Float offers FREE parkade parking while you are there! This is a HUGE bonus factor in my books!

I walked in the door and immediately fell in love with the clean, crisp, spa-like atmosphere (they call it Clear Float SPA for a reason) and was warmly greeted. I signed my waiver, provided my license plate number for validation, and was given the option of hot tea or True Buch kombucha which they would have ready for me at the end of my float (I picked peppermint tea), and was given my tour of the studio.

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There are 4 float rooms at Clear Float Spa, a zen room for post-float “back-to-reality” time, as well as an area with hair products and blow dryers to spruce yourself back up when you finish.

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I was then shown to my float room, which contained a shower and the float pod I would be using for my float. Each room is individual, and locks, so you have complete privacy. Before each float, you need to have a lukewarm/cold shower where you wash your hair with shampoo, and soap off to remove any trace residues, oil, or dirt from your body. The reason to shower in colder water is because once you enter the pod and its body temperature water, your body will naturally cool down if you have a hot shower, which makes the pod feel cold. If you blast yourself quickly with cold water, it will be forced to heat itself, and find the perfect temperature while floating.

Clear Float Spa uses Rocky Mountain Soap Company shampoo, conditioner, and body wash for your pre and post float showers, which I love, because seeing local companies supporting other local companies is amazing! All Rocky Mountain Soap Co. products are all-natural.

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You can choose to either float nude, or wear a swimsuit, but being a private room with a lock, I opted for the nudie method. If you have any cuts or scrapes, you just need to put Vaseline on top of them so that the salt doesn’t irritate them. Ear plugs are also available, but not mandatory, thought I opted to use some since I didn’t want to get that much salt into my ears. Once you’re showered off, you can get into the pod!

The instant you get in, you can already feel the buoyancy take effect – I could barely sit down to get positioned before I felt myself trying to float upwards! I put in my ear plugs, pulled the pod lid all the way closed (small spaces don’t bother me), and lay down. It took a few minutes before I really was able to stop tensing, as it truly feels as though you’re going to fall as your mind starts to understand what is going on. I decided to turn the light off, close my eyes, and just breathe.

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It took a while – I am not the type of person who is able to shut their mind off and just be. Anytime I am in a yoga class, during savasanah I am typically planning out the rest of my day, the food I am going to eat, and what I am going to wear the next day, but being in complete darkness, with calming music, and not one single thing around to distract me, I eventually drifted off. I’m not sure how long I was asleep, if I was even actually asleep for, but before I knew it, the voice came on to tell me my float had ended, and the light turned back on. I sat up and exited the pod with a sense of calm, relaxed joints, and feeling peaceful.

I took a shower, got dressed, and went to collect my peppermint tea, which came with a handwritten note – the little touches they provide are so special.
I entered the zen room, and began to read the notes that are written all over the walls – you can write anything you’d like in there, sit and read something from the collective library that you are allowed to check out and take home with you, write in their journal, or just be. The room is small, quiet, and cozy, and the perfect spot to unwind as you come back to the sensation of gravity. You can stay in here for as little or as long as you would like!

I sat for 20 minutes, then headed out to the front desk where I was able to even fill up my True Buch bottles, as they have 2 flavors on tap!

I enjoyed it so much, I decided to sign up for the alpha intro membership. Instead of paying $59 for single floats, this means I get 1 float per month, for $49/month, and received 2 extra floats for free for signing up for this offer. I can cancel this membership at any time (not that I see that happening), and if I am unable to use my float in any given month, it carries forward! NO lost floats! You can only purchase the alpha intro membership on your first visit, and the difference between it and the alpha membership is the 2 bonus floats. If you like it, I highly recommend getting the intro offer to take advantage of free!

Booking is extremely simple – either use their website, or your MindBody app. The latter is my favorite way to book since it syncs directly to my calendar and I can easily look through time slots, this makes everything simple and in one spot! I always have my phone, so I always can keep track of my schedule this way.

I truly loved my float experience, and Clear Float Spa. If you’re looking to try something new to relax and rejuvenate, this is it.

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Financial compensation was not received for this post, and the float and the following membership were purchased with my own money. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own and not influenced by the developing company and/or its affiliates in any way.

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