What’s a “Float” center? Why would I want to go here? I had to find out. I heard rumblings that J.J. Watt has a similar if not identical set up in his home, and if it’s good enough for J.J…
Our Friends & Family Tried To “Warn” Us
We arrived with no idea what to expect except warnings from friends and family, “My friend said they couldn’t handle the sensory deprivation part, they freaked out.” Or, “I’ve heard people freak out.” Thankfully, the Mizu people expect that and walk you through the whole process when you arrive. Their website also has a lot of information. My wife and I made a reservation, and arrived with no idea what was in store for us.
The attendant walked us around and gave us a tour. At that time, we were the only people in the place, so we felt comfortable asking questions before our session, but I wouldn’t imagine they ever are so busy that you wouldn’t be able to ask your questions. The “freaking out” is unlikely given all the different options you have available to you when you’re actually in the tank. More on that later…
During our tour we saw a very clean (even sterile clean – which is a good thing) but still warm and welcoming surroundings. We saw the bathroom, the shower, the actual place to float… but do I wear a swim suit? This was not addressed during the tour, so I finally had to ask. The answer: “Most people float nude.” Ah, of course that’s how it’s done.
He quickly pointed out that I would be in my own locked and secure float room. The bathroom was mine to use only, as was the float area. We were to take a shower first and clean up. Followed by a 50-minute float and cleaning up (rinsing) again to get all the minerals and salts off.
You Float With No Effort Required
Once you get in the pod (tank?), its Dead Sea like mineral content keeps you afloat with no effort. None. You just hop in and you’re floating. They provided a pillow for your neck, just in case you’re worried about falling asleep and rolling face first into the mineral bath. I found it more comfortable to ditch the pillow.
Once inside, the float pod gave me a few options. You can leave the lid open, or have it closed. You can listen to music in the pod at varying levels of volume. You can have lights on or off. You can have a blue light as well. Your preference. I tried every version trying to keep an open mind about my experience.
Did I need the lid open to avoid feeling claustrophobic? Not at all, it was quite roomy, even for my 6′ 3″ frame. I closed the lid and eventually felt comfortable enough to turn off all sensory information. It was true sensory deprivation. I guess some people don’t like this feeling, preferring to have light and music. There may not be a right or wrong way to float, but I would imagine the more stimuli the less you’ll get the full effect of the relaxation part. The minerals are there regardless so there’s still plenty of benefits.
Did I “Freak Out”?
I did end up feeling the most comfortable with all lights off and low music. After a few minutes, you do start to relax. I would assume that if this was something I did on a regular basis, I would already know my preferred floating setup and my progression into a fully relaxed state would happen very quickly.
Being my first time, there was a lot of experimenting, switching back and forth to see which version of floating I preferred. Tales of freaking out had me on high alert to keep it together, but I think those stories are exaggerated. “I heard about this guy that’s a friend of a friend that knew someone once…” kind of stories. At no point did I feel like I was going to lose it, but I could imagine how some people might not enjoy the sensory deprivation.
I Did, However, Lose All Track Of Time
I didn’t expect to lose all track of time. Initially, you know it’s just been a few minutes. After a little while, I truly had no idea how long I had been in there. This can cause some initial concern. How much longer? Should I try to take a nap? Just think? Meditate? It’s a strange feeling, but may be a stronger indicator of how plugged in I am and not a reflection on the floating process.
Ultimately, you realize that it doesn’t matter. Just relax, enjoy your float and wait for the non-jarring, almost soothing wake up sequence to begin. You know you’ll be in there about an hour, so relax and let those minerals soak up into your body.
Eventually I was able to just chill out, floating without concern for the time. You’re there to relax after all. When the time finally ended, it was quite the surreal feeling because I felt like it could have easily been 15 minutes or 2 hours. I had to get out to verify that I had stayed my allotted one hour, which of course I had.
Once I exited the pod, it was shower time again. After a few minutes, I could see the filtration process on the pod occur as the water and minerals were cleaned up for the next user. This also made me feel better about the cleanliness of a facility like this.
Did It Do Anything?
I didn’t try the float with the idea that I was trying to cure any conditions, but I did arrive with my “normal” level of post-CrossFit soreness that I have on a regular basis. I noticed that the soreness was almost totally gone post-float, which is one of the reasons I’m sure J.J. Watt invested in a floatation tank like this. There are supposed to be a lot of benefits to utilizing float therapy.
Mineral salt baths are supposed to have the following benefits; treat, detox, and and cleanse our bodies. I don’t know about all that, but I did notice a difference. I don’t think the pure relaxation and sensory deprivation can be ignored as significant benefits either.
It’s very challenging to unplug. Even switching from your phone to a book or sitting outside at a park still provides your brain with a lot of stimuli. Being able to shut it down while still awake was a positive experience for me. I suppose I could try a home version of this by taking a bath in epsom salts with all the lights off, but I’ve not tried that yet.
Mizu reports that they have hundreds of pounds of epsom salts added to the water (if I heard them correctly). Your introductory session is $75 and they do offer memberships. I did find the entire experience positive and would do it again without hesitation. So why haven’t I?
Adding Floats To Overall Body Maintenance
I do keep learning not just more ways to help maintain my body, but how much work and effort it really takes to maintain your health. Let’s assume you’re already eating pretty well, working out 3 – 5 times per week, and drinking enough water. The therapies and recovery activities you can do for maintenance from the effects of exercise and daily activities can start to add up both financially and time invested. Ultimately, you do have to choose unless you can make this full-time job.
I strongly believe in getting adjusted on a regular basis to help my body work as well as it can. For me, that’s at least every other week if not more. I’ve tried less and more often, but find this is what I’m most comfortable maintaining. I also get a massage once per month, stretch 3-4 times per week and use the foam roller at least that often too. This is my minimum plan for recovery for feeling like I’m not falling backwards in my health — and it’s not enough. I can always do more.
Adding in float therapy would be a welcome addition to my plan and the price is more than reasonable for what you get. Deciding to make the time is the real issue for me. I would consider making this a part of monthly maintenance and may still do that.
Other Services Offered Here:
(I didn’t try any of these, but they also offer them and in case you were wondering…)
More information can be found on their website: https://www.mizumed.com/