Have you ever heard of a float spa? I wasn't indoctrinated into the world of float spas until a couple months ago. My mom has long recommended epsom salt baths to me, and so I'd known of the muscle and joint relaxing benefits. However, I didn't realize that whole spas existed and were dedicated to the therapy of floating in salt filled pods.

Simply stated - you float in a dome-shaped, shallow pod filled with warm water and 1000 pounds of epsom salt for an hour and reap in the benefits. One hour of floating is equivalent to 4 hours of meditation and 8 hours of sleep. Intrigued? Here's what the experience has been like for me.

My first float was a part of a media preview day of Soulex float spa. I got there early to meet the owner, Pedramin, and learn about the Soulex float spa process.

I like to arrive early to everything - especially if it's my first time trying something. I like to give myself time to adjust to my surroundings and prepare. For me, arriving early is particularly important for relaxation. If I feel rushed at all, my stress levels increase.

First, I removed my shoes and changed into slippers provided by Soulex. Since my float room was open, I was able to change into my robe and come back out to the lounge area and enjoy some tea - a special blend made by Pedramin herself. While I sipped on my tea, I admired a large scale painting of a buddhist monk whose quiet presence in the room made me feel calm. I later learned the piece was painted by Pedramin's husband and fell even more in love with the design of the spa. I love personal and thoughtful accents. Once I finished my tea, I took time to go to bathroom. I only mention this because I think it's a very important step prior to floating.

In the Float Room
Once I was ready to go to my float room, I was lead back by someone from Soulex who started filling the pod with a simple touch of a screen. It takes several minutes for the pod to fill completely. It's a beautiful thing to watch the water flow in and the pod change colors - blue, green, purple... While the pod filled, I got into the in-room shower to wash off my body and then put in the ear plugs provided. The ear plugs prevent the salt water from getting into your ears. They also provide petroleum jelly in case you have any small cuts that you may not want to feel salt on. Fresh towels were also ready in the room. Because I'm pregnant, Pedramain offered me a pool noodle to rest under my lower back for some added support.

When I got into the pod, I immediately closed it all the way. This is optional, but I wanted to get the full experience. I put the foam halo "pillow" under my head and the pool noodle under my lower back and laid back. My body immediately floated. Part of me was worried that it wouldn't. There were a lot of thoughts running through my head as an automated woman's voice calmly spoke to me. I couldn't quite make out her exact words because I had ear plugs in, but I understood that she was letting me know that my float session was about to begin. The lights within the pod continued to slowly and softly alternate, and I could hear the sound of running water and birds chirping. I closed my eyes and tried to relax. The water and the lightness of my body felt great and then after 5 minutes or so the room went completely dark. I suddenly felt panic set in. Pedramin did let me know in advance that the lights would turn off completely, but in the darkness, a complete pitch black, I was startled. For a second, I worried about feeling enclosed. I reached my hand to touch the top of the pod but wasn't even close to touching it. This calmed me, and I told myself to "Let go."

Lesson learned: I recommend waiting until the pod completely fills before laying back. I didn't do this during my first float, floated into where the water came out, and got salt water all in my eyes. There's a spray bottle with fresh water and a cloth in the pod to wipe your eyes if this happens.

While I've never truly meditated, I've been practicing yoga for years and know the benefits of focused breathing. I used it to labor without medication for hours when I had my daughter, and I immediately turned to it to help myself relax here.

Breath and Mind Connection
I breathe in for 5 seconds and then breathe out for 6 seconds. I also say a mantra in my mind. With each inhale I say to myself "feel" and with each exhale I say to myself "well". I picture the air flowing through my body - filling my belly, providing fresh air to my baby, and then all the way down to my toes. The air fills any space in my body that feels uncomfortable, and then I exhale and release all of that discomfort. If I'm losing you right now, I get it. It sounds weird and is hard to write about, but I've been practicing it in yoga for years.

My mind wandered often during this first float. Because I knew I wanted to share my experience, I jotted down notes in my mind, and then thought about my to-do lists for the day. I'd also just watched Altered Carbon on Netflix and started thinking about about how futuristic the pod felt. Once I realized my mind had drifted, I refocused on my breathing and my mind eventually followed.

(I've floated three times now. My third float was the easiest to relax in to. I was so relaxed that when the session ended my body had rotated 180 degrees in the pod, and I had no idea until the end.)

Before I knew it, the light in the pod slowly came on and started cycling through the colors and the sounds of chirping birds returned. Next, the automated calming voice returned - letting me know that my session had come to an end. At that point, the pod started to drain.

I slowly climbed out, using extra caution because I have a baby I'm protecting in my body. I then showered with the body wash, shampoo, and conditioner provided. While I washed, I could feel salt residue on the edges of my face. I also felt that my body was more relaxed and looser than when I came in.

Once I got dressed, I went to the make-up area to dry my hair and reapply my make-up. Soulex provides complimentary, organic hair and beauty products to use. I used the mouse and detangling spray. I left already knowing that I wanted to float again.

All pictures taken by Tasha James. I'll be honest, the last three pictures were taken pre-float so that Tasha didn't have to wait around for me for 60 minutes. Thank you to PinkBlush for providing my maternity swimsuit.

Floating forces me to truly disconnect from everything and fully relax. When I soak at home, I'm on a device the entire time - watching Instagram Stories or a show on my iPad. Allowing my mind to be unstimulated by a device and focusing on my breathing for an entire hour is incredibly restorative. Additionally, it's a fun and unique bonding experience with my baby as floating in the pod is very womb-like, and for that hour I'm free of any added strain or pressure on my body. I especially love getting a good workout in prior to floating and then letting the float relax my muscles.

Soulex also offers a large open-air tub that allows you to float with someone else at the same time. I'm not sure I'll try it. I'm pretty sure my husband would just want to talk the whole time.

I'm wearing a very comfortable 2-piece maternity swimsuit, but I've also gone completely naked. Both experiences have been good, so it all depends on what would make you most comfortable.

I'd recommend bringing your own body lotion, deodorant, or any specific toiletries you like into the room with you. I tried wearing a shower cap during one float to prevent my hair from getting wet, but water still got in. If you want to keep your hair dry, perhaps try a swim cap.

Have you ever been to a float spa? What are your thoughts?

Thank you to Soulex for partnering with my on this post. As always, all opinions are my own.



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