Relaxing is easier said than done for me.
After doing some research, I came across a trendy wellness treatment known as flotation therapy, which just might be the anxious girl’s saving grace. Lift/Next Level Floats in Brooklyn became the locale of my very first floating experience. Co-owner David Leventhal—hands down the calmest person I’ve ever met—told me what keeps his clients coming back. “The salt contains magnesium sulfate, which can be absorbed through the skin,” he explains. “The benefits are so wide-ranging. It can help one deal with stress, insomnia and anxiety better. Psoriasis and eczema sufferers have told me that their skin looks and feels better. Most of us are deficient in magnesium, so in addition to taking it in the diet or through supplements, floating is a great way to top up your reserves.”
Like anything new, the first 15 minutes of the 60-minute session felt awkward. I shifted and tried to find comfort in the pod, which was almost the width of a queen-size mattress. After about 20 minutes of stillness, the weightlessness of my body gradually put me in a trance. The real challenge is calming the mind. When you’re cut off from sound, human contact and electronic devices for what seems like forever, you’re left with your deepest thoughts. Don’t worry about who you have to text back, I told myself. Eventually, I let my thoughts drift wherever they took me. To surrender is to win!
After 30 minutes of not moving a muscle, I felt completely hazy—in the best possible way. I couldn’t tell whether I was spinning around like a crazy carnival ride or floating completely still. The peak state of relaxation felt like the minutes right before you drift off to sleep. Pure bliss. The physical benefits of floating go hand in hand with the mental relief. Lying in a starfish pose against zero gravity took all tension off my shoulders and spine. As for my skin? It was glowing and supple, another plus. If you’re looking for a wellness splurge that treats your mind, body and soul, flotation therapy just might be for you.
Know Before You Go
Beware of Braids: Each tank holds 1,000 pounds of saltwater. If you’re wearing cornrows or box braids, getting the excess salt out of your hair will be difficult.
Nonswimmers Are Welcome: The saltwater will keep you buoyant. Protect your eyes! It’s probably best to remove contact lenses before immersion.
Don’t Shave: Epsom salt can irritate cuts in the skin; you’ll be less comfortable if you have a fresh shave.