Life is full of amazing people, places, and experiences. But, between getting kids to and from activities, being effective in our jobs and taking care of our other responsibilities, it can also be a bit chaotic and overwhelming. So, how do you slow down and take care of yourself?
For a few years now, I’ve tried to commit to meditation. In some ways, it’s perfect. I don’t have to go anywhere, I don’t need to coordinate with anyone, and it can be as little as 5 minutes. Unfortunately, despite my ongoing effort, I’m still not very good at it. My mind wanders, and my body relentlessly reminds me that my back hurts or my foot has fallen asleep while sitting in the lotus position. For these reasons, I’m always looking for ways to improve my mental focus during meditation. And now I’ve found one: Floating!
What in the world is floating? Think Epsom salt bath on steroids. You lie in a tub with so much magnesium that your body effortlessly floats on the surface. The thought is, you remove as much external sensory input (light, sound, touch) as you can, which allows you to focus your mind. I first learned of floating a few years back, while at a local yoga studio, where an egg-shaped pod served as the “tub.” I was desperate to try it out, but my claustrophobia forbade it. Needless to say, I was really excited when I recently stumbled upon VIVE Float Studio during a google search (VIVE Float Studio did not ask me to write this post). Much to my relief, rather than a small pod, they offer a private float suite with a shower and shallow soaking tub. I was sold and booked my appointment that night.
The studio is located in Cherry Creek North, where parking is notoriously difficult. So, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that they have a large, dedicated parking lot right behind the building. When I arrived, I was greeted, provided flip flops, and escorted back to The Quiet Center, where I helped myself to some tea, relaxed in an amazingly comfortable chair, and wrote a postcard. Wait……what? That’s right. I wrote and sent a postcard (free of charge). The owners of VIVE Float Studio are helping promote a return to handwritten letters. So cool.
About ten minutes later, I was taken to my private float suite and given a brief tutorial. I had already watched the mandatory video detailing the process before I arrived, so I had a good idea what to expect (except that I came prepared with a swimsuit when, in fact, you go au natural). Don’t worry; between each float session, the water is completely recirculated 6 times, filtered 3 times through a 5-10 micron particulate filter, and then treated with a combination of a germicidal UV lamp, ozone and hydrogen peroxide.
Here’s what you can expect during a float session. After a five-minute shower to wash off lotions, perfume, hairspray, and make-up, you step into the skin-temperature tub water and carefully lie down. There are a couple of music options and you can change the color of the lighting to help establish a peaceful environment. There are float “pillows” as well as a pool noodle to bolster your knees if you prefer a slightly different position in the water. It’s suggested that, once you’re completely comfortable, you turn off the music and lights for a complete sensory deprivation experience.
I have to admit that this was, by far, the best meditative hour I have had! In total darkness, with no sound, and, in the absence of my usual back aches and sleepy feet, my mind was at peace. Sure, the occasional thought popped up, but for 60 glorious minutes, I just rested both physically and mentally. When the hour was up and I was showering to get all the salt off, I found myself already planning my next visit. If I hadn’t promised my kids I’d be home in time to put them to bed, I would’ve retreated back to The Quiet Room for another cup of tea. Note to self: Next visit, don’t make immediate plans afterward!
While my main reason for seeking out a float session was to relax and calm my mind, there are many other therapeutic benefits to consider. Reduced inflammation, reduced muscle and joint tension, decreased cortisol production, and improved sleep are just a few. Take a look at the full list of benefits and other FAQs here.
Enjoy a first-time intro session for $60. After your first visit, a 75 minute session (60 minutes of floating and 15 minutes of pre and post-session shower time) costs $90. Monthly memberships and packages are also available. Here is the full pricing list.
If you’re looking for ways to unwind, I highly recommend a visit to VIVE Float Studio in Cherry Creek North. If you’re planning to be in the mountains, you’ll be happy to know there is a second Colorado location in the heart of Frisco. Give floating a try or check out one of the other therapeutic services they offer: