Floatation Therapy To Calm Anxiety: My Experience At Seattle's Urban Float

By Floatguru (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Floatguru (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

As mentioned in my previous post, I have a float evangelist who called me about two weeks ago to tell me about a special offer at the Capitol Hill location of the Seattle-based flotation therapy spa, Urban Renewal. I took advantage of it as it was too good to be true: lifetime membership of unlimited floating at $99 per month. You really can't beat that especially given the relief that is felt immediately after one float experience.

What is floatation therapy?
Floatation therapy is a wellness practice that involves entering a tank of water containing such a high concentration of salt that your body immediately floats. These tanks have also been called sensory deprivation tanks given the lack of light and sound present in the tank. In recent years, more people have opted for sound and light incorporated into their floatation experience. The healing properties of salt and water have been known throughout time. With our bodies being comprised of over 50% water and salt being an essential to the management of balanced pH, it is unsurprising that the combination of these two elements can assist in advancing wellness.

How does one float?
The hardest thing about floating is letting go and letting the experience encapsulate you. The process itself is rather simple. Urban Float advises, among other pre-float guidelines, that you take a cool shower before entering the tank to prepare your body to withstand the heated water for the hour long duration of your float. You can opt to have music playing during your float and to have the light on. I prefer light and music, and admittedly I am not yet at the point where I can fathom being in the tank, door completely closed so I simply do what makes me feel comfortable, which is leaving the door open. 

I float in my birthday suit so as to not have clothing weigh me down. Urban Float provides ear plugs to minimize water entering your ears. There is a horizontal foam head collar that you may use to support your neck while floating on your back, or to simply balance upon whether floating on your back or front. The light can be turned on and off at your discretion, as can the music. During my first floating experience, I definitely had some angst and agita around being shut inside of this tank, which hindered my ability to be still. This dissipated after the second experience. Each float session lasts an hour. At the hour mark, the music will go off and a rush of water starts, signalling you that your float session has ended. There is a simple but elegantly designed shower parallel to the tank with shower gel, shampoo, and conditioner for you to use. Also, Urban Float provides vinegar drops to put into your ear to make sure there is no salt lingering in your ear canal.

What are the benefits of floating?
Many contest the benefits of floatation therapy stating that the claims are exaggerated and poorly evidenced. My experience coupled with the experience of acquaintances who have tried it repeatedly confirm that it is useful for pain reduction, promoting a general state of relaxation, and lowering anxiety during and after the float experience. As someone who started floating because of anxiety, my specific results have been the following: overall release of tension in the body, decrease in feeling weighed down, no anxiety symptoms for the 48 hours subsequent to the float experience. These results are significant for me because it gives me two full days of a normalized state, where I can rest, process, and be productive without duress. Urban Renewal has compiled a list of studies documenting the successes of floatation therapy, as well as its  benefits. Check it out here.

Where is Urban Renewal?
Urban Float has four locations in the Seattle metropolitan area - Renton Landing and Kirkland (Seattle suburbs) and the Fremont and Capitol Hill neighborhoods. There are also locations in Vancouver, WA and opening in 2018, Houston, TX.

Perpetuity Healing Arts wholeheartedly recommends floatation therapy as one component of your toolkit for managing your anxiety. We encourage you to thoroughly research it and identify a professional and hygienic floatation spa in your area so that you can start to glean the benefits.