Managing Stress: Floating In A Tank Of Salt

I read an article in The Times magazine earlier this year about flotation tanks. A form of therapy that was designed in the mid twentieth century gained slight traction when it came about first but then lost its credibility due to a movie that came out in the 1970’s. Fast forward to the 2010’s and here it is, gaining traction again.

Immersing yourself in warm water for one hour is lovely enough (given the therapeutic effects of O2). Add to that 40 kilos of healing epsom salts, your naked self, unwanted stress and well, you’ve got blissful meditation and less-achy muscles.

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The Harvest Moon Centre in Dublin’s city centre was my floatation tank provider of choice. Being one of three places in Ireland that offers this service, I didn’t have much to go with. Thankfully, the reviews were outstanding across their online presence and the energy I got when I went there was just as zen.

Being prone to some stress and at times, anxiety, I’m open to a variety of forms of meditation. As this treatment has been tried and tested on ex soldiers who suffered major panic attacks, night terrors and post traumatic stress, its effects have been demonstrated and continue to show positive results. There is much more research needed however and Psychotherapist Feinstein dedicating his career to this area certainly demonstrates its many merits. Recently, it was shown by Feinstein that after having floated twice per month for three months, a stress-ridden ex-soldier went from full blown Post-traumatic stress disorder to experiencing zero night terrors or panic attacks after three months of treatment – this was after having experienced such symptoms nightly prior to that.

Although there is a massive focus on mental health, benefits of floating do include those for physical health. Epsom salts are full of magnesium meaning that they ease muscle pain. During my first session, I felt excruciating pain in the top of my back during the first ten minutes of laying there. Having been unsure of what to expect, I was instantly surprised and slightly worried about what was going on. When I finished the session, I realised that it had completely gone away. Just like a masseuse presses out knots in the back when working his/her magic, I felt the same satisfaction in this instance.

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Three treatments later and I’m looking forward to taking it back up in 2017. At 60euro a pop (with some offers when buying multiple treatments), it’s worth doing some preparing before embarking on the floating adventure.

First of all, be sure that you’re OK with small spaces. There are two tanks in the Harvest Moon Centre – the old tank and new tank. I used the new tank twice and certainly preferred the experience in the float. On the other hand, it is in a closed room without windows so be mindful of this as it can get super warm in there. If this is something that you think will play a part in your decision then start with the old tank.

Give yourself the time to get used to it. There is a natural resistance that the body feels when being in the tank at first. Don’t be dismayed! Eventually, you’ll get used to it and your muscles will chill. You’ll have ear plugs in and this will definitely add to the mystery of the experience at first but go with it. It’s worth it – I promise.

As you’re going to be immersed in salt and water for one hour, be sure to remember the essentials. Drink lots of water beforehand and have it ready afterwards. Let that skin get some refreshing but moisturise afterwards especially as it’s wintertime. Get all the hydration you can!

Finally, if you can afford it then give it a couple of sessions before you make a decision on whether or not it’s for you. If you’re like me, you’ll feel relaxed after the first session. Perhaps you won’t but it’s definitely worth giving it a shot!

Let me know how it goes!