Need to be alone sometimes? Don’t we all. But we’re not talking about some quiet time with a book. We’re talking cut off from everything—naked and in the dark and floating in about a foot of water … Wait, what? This is truly a way to get away from it all. It’s called flotation therapy.
Flotation therapy is done in a pod called an isolation or sensory deprivation tank. It’s filled with a shallow depth of warm water and Epsom salt to aid with buoyancy. So, you’re just there, floating with your own thoughts. (Although some pods allow for low light or music to be played inside.) Flotation centers advertise a host of benefits to floating—take them with a grain of (Epsom) salt—but a growing body of research does suggest that the technique may help alleviate chronic pain and manage anxiety disorders. One study published in Psychology & Health found compelling evidence that flotation therapy can help lower levels of cortisol, aka the stress hormone.
For a first-timer, it is a little disorienting. (Trust me, I tried it once at Naples Massage & Neuromuscular). You have to get used to the silence. The only sounds are you and the soft waves created by your movement. But try not to move. Or think. Just be. And here’s where it gets interesting. You’ll find yourself at peace. Or at least I did when I wasn’t accidentally floating into the walls of the pod. You’ll notice the things that normally you’d forget—the beating of your heart, your gentle breaths. You’re checking out—but checking back in with your body. I remember leaving the float feeling relaxed—and a little energized. Sort of like after a yoga class. I did immediately check my phone for new email. But left back for work with a renewed purpose.
Try it for yourself:
Naples Massage & Neuromuscular
($45 for one-hour float for first-timers) 5926 Premier Way, No. 134, Naples (239) 354-7548, naplesmassage.net
The Om Spa
($60 for one-hour float) 6318 Trail Blvd., Naples (239) 631-5895, theomspa.com
Cloud9 Float & Spa
($65 for one-hour float) 1250 Tamiami Trail N., Naples. (239) 529-3235, naplescloud9.com