Introduction to Floating

HSP Pathways

 

HSP Pathways – May 2016

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

Carl Rogers

Living in a world dominated by sensory overload and ‘busyness’, it can sometimes be difficult to find the time necessary to enable our bodies and minds to return to their natural state of relaxation, particularly following a busy or stressful day, event or time in our lives.

I began to explore the world of ‘Floating’ after my physical and mental health began to suffer from working in a stressful job and studying and I remembered having read something in one of Elaine Aron’s newsletters ( http://www.hsperson.com/pages/2Nov10.htm ) about floatation tanks being helpful for HSP’s and stress and decided to investigate further.

Two and a half years and five or six floats later, I can say with absolute conviction that the one-hour experience of being able to ‘let go’ within the floatation tank is like having an intensive spa break. It enables the deep feeling of relaxation you feel after a power nap, loosened muscles felt after a lengthy massage and a mind free to wander without being tied up in knots that you feel after an extended break away. All this, within the privacy of your own suite and without the stress or discomfort that can sometimes be experienced when having a massage.

FloatingThe facility I went to in Kent
(Cornmill Health Centre) provided comprehensive written information about floating and on my first visit the helpful staff talked me through what to expect. I had my own private suite with a shower and although the float lasts an hour you can have the suite for 90 minutes. The float costs £25 (cheaper if you book in blocks of 5) and you have control over how much, if any, light you wish to keep within the floatation experience. I have experimented with different settings and find that it varies according to how I’m feeling on each occasion as to whether I want to have the space completely dark or with some gentle background light on.

To start with, I found it difficult to relax, however with each float I had, my body and mind became more accustomed to what to expect and now on entering the water and lying back, my body begins to relax much quicker and the ‘mental traffic’ fades away. As the water is highly salted your body is fully supported and you do not actively need to do anything to remain afloat. The water itself is shallow (approx. 25cm) and you can use a neck pillow for additional comfort if you prefer.

The facility I visit provides what I would call more of a ‘personalised floatation pool’ which is tall enough to stand up in and although I’m nearly 6 feet tall there is enough space lying flat to do an extended star stretch and just about reach the all 4 corners of the pool! I have not tried what might be called flotation pods or tanks you have to climb into and lie flat as I enjoy the space of the flotation pool and the opportunity to move around. However, there does not appear to be an industry standard, so it would be worth checking out what facilities exist within your local area if you are thinking of trying it out. Some flotation ‘pods’ may not be suitable for people who dislike being in confined spaces.

Experiencing floating has provided me with an addition to my ‘HSP self-care toolkit’ and although I do not have the opportunity to go on a regular basis, I find that going as and when I feel in need of some more intensive relaxation provides the opportunity for some valuable ‘me’ time and the chance to literally let the stress and tension from daily life melt away.

Article written by Liz Fraser (e-mail: HSPpathways@outlook.com)
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