“Okay, so, explain to me again what this is you’re doing today?”
If you go
303 W. Erie Street
Chicago, IL 60654
Still not convinced? Here are the questions Ive personally received every time Ive told someone about this experience.
It sounded deeply relaxing and fun as well. Also, pure silence for an hour is something I didnt know I really needed.
But, cant you fall asleep? And if you fall asleep, wont you drown?
Its probably unlikely youll fall asleep, even as a sleep-deprived parent. But apparently you cant drown because the water is so buoyant you would wake up before your face really hit the water.
Is it scary?
Its not! I thought it might be scary when the lights went off and I was enclosed in a giant pod of water, but it is not scary at all. You feel super safe the entire time.
Is it boring?
Shockingly, no. Your brain has a lot of gunk to clear out and being able to let it relax fully takes some time.
Im totally claustrophobic. There is no way I could do this, right?
If you have claustrophobic tendencies, Float Sixty has larger pool-like rooms that dont fully enclose you. That might be a good place to start instead of the pod tank.
Dont you miss your kid(s) while youre doing this?
Hahahahahahahahaha, nice one.
Can you be in a tank with another person?
Nope, this isnt like a couples massage. You want to be alone with
This was my husband as I was headed out the door for what would turn out to be not just a fun experience, but a mind-shifting one. And for the record, I had explained this to him at least five times before, but that is neither here nor there. I explained it to him once more, kissed my toddler on the head, waved “bye-bye” four times, and practically skipped onto the El giddy with excitement.
I was headed out for my first “float.” Sensory deprivation float, that is.
Sensory deprivation floats have been around since the 1960s and are well known in the more “alternative” or “new-age” circles. The idea is simple: you go into a pool/tank/pod of salt water warmed to body temperature, close the door so as to make the experience completely noise and light-free, and, as the name implies, float. I had heard good things, but really, I thought this could be the ultimate kid-free experience: no noise, no lights, no conversation. No making breakfast. No back episodes of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” in the background. Just me.
The floating mecca I went to is called Float Sixty (because you float for sixty minutes! It’s clever! I get it!). Located off the Chicago Brown Line stop (and not too far off the Chicago Red either), this state-of-the-art facility is immediately calming and feels like a spa.
In addition to private rooms where floats take place (You can choose from pods, small tanks or larger pool-like options.), there are also post-float relaxation and/or meditation rooms and an area equipped with hair and personal care items such as blow dryers and curling/straightening irons.
The pod seemed like a nice in-between beginner option to me, so I took a shower and hopped in. I knew the water would be buoyant with the Epsom salts, but I almost catapulted up to the surface and finally understood why it would be impossible to drown. Or, why if I fell asleep, I also wouldn’t drown. (Because I have that pesky “parent-of-young-children” worry that if found in a quiet dark place I would immediately fall asleep.)
Once I got my bearings in the water I felt immensely relaxed right away. My body eased up and I started focusing on my breathing as my tour guide had suggested. This proved difficult initially as my mind started firing off random synapses, as brains not used to being left alone tend to do. Then suddenly after what was probably 20 minutes or so, it was as if a switch in my brain went off as it realized it could, actually, truly, relax. I wasn’t using a single muscle in my body and instead of floating in water, it really felt more like I was floating in outer space (like the website promised).
And, while I thought I had relaxed before, I experienced a second wave of physical relaxation. By the time the bubbles and filtration began to gently let me know my float was over I felt like I had gotten three massages and my brain had been through a washing machine.
Yes, it’s a wee bit “alternative” (My husband prefers the term “weird hippie stuff.”). It might be a little different than anything you’ve ever done before, but I cannot recommend doing a sensory deprivation float enough. It is the ultimate kid-free experience, which sometimes we all need.