Saturday, February 6, 2016

Just Float

Was tension written on my face? In my posture? A friend insisted I needed to float.

I like to try new things, so okay. Fortunately, Pasadena has the nicest, newest, biggest float therapy spa anywhere. It's called Just Float.

There's a protocol to follow. The video on the website shows you around the place and tells you how floating works. If you don't have a chance to look at it before you go in, you'll be asked to watch it on an iPad while you relax in the slinky, peaceful lobby. You will also be asked to sign a release saying you won't hold Just Float liable if any number of horrible things happen to you. I read that and my shoulders climbed up around my ears.

I took the release to the front counter and asked the clerk, "Can I actually drown in there?"

"It's eleven inches deep," she said.

We laughed. I'd have to work pretty hard to drown in that.

It's also 1300 pounds of epsom salt dissolved in 250 gallons of water. That's buoyant stuff. I figured I could take the chance.

The lobby ceiling murmurs the theme of floating in calming water.

Everything is soothing, from colors to lighting to a hot cup of tea.

Owner Jim Hefner has poured his passion for floating into Just Float. It shows. Even the decor is about health and wellness. Take a look at the video on the site. It was shot at Just Float, so you see exactly how the place looks. It's amazingly clean. It smells good. You get your own room with a towel, a washcloth, and a damned fine bathrobe. You have your own shower with organic body wash and shampoo, much nicer than the stuff I get at the grocery store. Creme rinse, too, but that's for after.

You have one hour. You'll want to luxuriate in your shower but I say don't linger. Get yourself clean then get into the 94 degree water. Adjust the lights the way you want them. You can have low light, high light or complete darkness. I get a little claustrophobic so I chose low light. If you get a lot claustrophobic you can leave the door open between your float tank and your private dressing room.

I sat down in the warm salt water and my legs lifted on their own. Yep, it would be hard to drown in that. I laid back and tried to find a position for my arms. Up? Down? Either way, my shoulders refused to unclench. They hurt so badly I didn't think I'd last the whole hour. But I wanted to give it a good shot, so I took turns rubbing each shoulder and being careful not to splash. You do not want that salt in your eyes.

The soft music faded out. Jim had suggested I count backwards from 100 to shut my mind off. This might not have been the best thing for me because my brain likes counting. Rubbing my shoulders, first right and then left, I counted down on each exhale. "...65...64...63..." All the way to zero. Then I didn't have anything else to do. I was pretty sure I wouldn't last the whole hour. I floated around, touching the sides of the 7'X5' tank.

.....

Then the music faded back in and the lights came up. I haven't the faintest idea where my mind was for at least thirty minutes. I've never been successful at meditation. I would not say I was in a mindful state. More like mindless.

It relaxed me. I didn't think anything could do that. It was just what I needed.

I pulled myself out of the water, crusty with salt, and closed the door. I was about to enjoy my shower when I heard whooshing inside, so I opened the door to look. The tank was cleaning itself. Later, Jim told me salt is a hostile environment for a lot of icky bacteria. Plus at Just Float, they use ultraviolet sterilizers and hydrogen peroxide to clean the water after each use. This way they provide a sanitary environment without wasting water.

Sanitary, environmentally conscious and totally automated. I felt like I was in a Stanley Kubrick version of 2016.



You need creme rinse after soaking in salt. You might also want a nice cup of tea in the lounge.


I relaxed in the lobby and sipped my tea. You can write in the journal to express what your experience was like. Jim Hefner's entry is the first one. You can see how much he loves his business, and how deeply he believes in floating as therapy for mind and body. 

He's not the only one. On a Tuesday afternoon, Just Float was busy. A couple came in to float together. A pregnant woman. A mom and her little girl. An athletic-looking young man, not so fresh from the office. In one short hour they would be refreshed, relaxed, renewed.

My shoulders are back up around my ears. It doesn't take much. But now I have a solution.


20 comments:

William Kendall said...

That's a new one to me but it sounds effective.

Sarah said...

I'm so glad you tried it out! I have been 5x now and I found that with subsequent floats you get the long lasting effect of continued relaxation. I can get to the state I'm in during a float much more easily "in real life" now just by habit.

Ted Thompson said...

Sounds like sensory deprivation in essence, which sounds intriguing...

Petrea Burchard said...

You may find that it's for you (Sarah obviously has!) or not, but you never know until you try.

Ted, I've never been in a sensory deprivation situation so I don't know if this is what the phrase refers to. In this case your senses are not deprived. You smell and feel the salt and the water, you hear...well, at first the music, then the water, then your pulse. I have tinnitus so I heard that, but my consciousness of it went away. You can decide if you want to be deprived of sight or not, by turning off the lights. As for taste, I don't recommend it.

Shell Sherree said...

Oh, wow. You have me wanting to chase up a floating place here, dear Petrea ! Jim's created a beautiful atmosphere there. And clean !! Yay for that. I'm glad you emerged feeling relaxed.

Lowell said...

I would think this would be a very popular place. Sounds like fun and very relaxing. I remember as a kid, when we lived in LA, we stopped at a salt lake in southern California I believe, and you couldn't sink. It was amazing. Keep floating!

Petrea Burchard said...

Get it started, Shell! The sooner the have it the sooner you can float.

Lowell, that would have been the Salton Sea, an inland body of water southeast of Palm Springs near the Mexican border. It's fabled for its beauty as well as its ugliness. I haven't explored it myself.

Bellis said...

Your photos make it look so attractive there, and it sounds like it's very relaxing. Can you afford to go once a week? If not, perhaps another visit could kickstart meditation? It took me ages to train myself to meditate at a time I was suffering from depression, but it was amazingly calming once I could get my brain to switch off from all that internal chatter for 15 minutes a day. And they say if you meditate a lot, it makes you very happy. The Dalai Lama's always giggling, isn't he?

Petrea Burchard said...

It's cheaper than a massage, Bellis, and your first float is only $30 for an hour. If what Sarah says is true for everyone, it would definitely kickstart meditation.

Bellis said...

A well timed article:

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35521560

TheChieftess said...

Sounds intriguing!!! And good for you! All that Epson salt is soaking you in magnesium---the anti-stress mineral!!!

Petrea Burchard said...

Thank you, Bellis. I can believe this is the perfect thing for PTSD. It is very relaxing and calming.

It sure works, Chieftess!

LOLfromPasa said...

I feel totally relaxed just reading about your experience :).

Your comment about looking for the 'plane' did make me laugh. I told John about it when we went for a swim this morning (in a not so exciting place as your Just Float).

Petrea Burchard said...

I'm glad it relaxed you! It's a very unusual "swimming" experience.

magiceye said...

Does sound relaxing. The ambiance also seems perfect!

Petrea Burchard said...

It really is perfect, magiceye. Even the light. I liked every detail.

Irina Rekhviashvili said...

Please do not stop floating.
Beautiful story, now I am floating myself.

Petrea Burchard said...

Thank you, Irina, I'll surely float again.

Ann Erdman said...

You're the second person I know who has tried it. He sang its praises as well. I think I need to float and get soaked (once my radiation treatments are completed).

Petrea Burchard said...

I think you'd be perfect for it, Ann, and it would be perfect for you.