When I first came across the idea of floatation my immediate response was “Wow that sounds lovely but won’t be any good because I’m pregnant” . . . I guess as I know you can’t use jacuzzis etc when pregnant I sort of assumed this would be the same. After checking the website I was excited to read this:
Pregnant women can benefit a great deal from float therapy, especially during the later stages of pregnancy when even simple things like sleeping can cause muscle strain. Floating relives the pressure by creating a buoyant environment where you can finally escape many of the discomforts of pregnancy.
You can imagine I was reading that thinking “Oh my days, where do I sign up!?” If you’ve been reading my pregnancy updates (30 weeks, 34 weeks) then you’ll know I’m definitely feeling the late pregnancy aches & pains and struggling to get a decent night’s sleep. The idea of having the pressure lifted combined with an hour of peace and quiet just sounded like pure bliss!
I decided to arrange my appointment for a day when I was ‘child free’ – I thought it made sense to be able to come home and rest up on the sofa to make the most of my relaxing experience.
I arrived at Beyond Floatation Spa where I was greeted by Neil. He explained all about how the experience would work and gave me the opportunity to ask questions – as it was I had read his very comprehensive website pretty thoroughly and also read another blogger review so I felt well prepared, if a little nervous!
Neil took me to a lovely low lit, warm private room which held an enormous and rather fabulous shower and the floatation tank itself – which was surprisingly big but most definitely inviting.
I was instructed to shower first and then get into the tank allowing myself time to adjust before turning the lights off to get the full benefit of the experience. I am somewhat claustrophobic – (I struggle in large crowds, you know the bit at the end of the night when everyone tries to leave at once?! Eeeep and confined spaces need concentration to stop me stressing out) so I wasn’t sure I’d be able to shut the lid on myself . . .
However once I was in there it felt perfectly normal to close the lid – it wasn’t heavy and I knew I could open it easily if I needed to. I think you’d be quite cold if you didn’t shut the lid to be honest. With my ear plugs in I sat down and immediately felt the strange sensation of my legs lifting, I lay back and began to float. It’s really odd floating without trying – you are encouraged to try different positions for your arms till you work out what is comfortable for you. I felt settled very quickly and turned the light off bringing absolute pitch darkness – I’m not talking the sort of darkness your eyes get used to and you can start to make out shapes this was total and utter sensory deprivation – and it was fine initially but as I wasn’t laid completely still I realised I had moved around in the tank a bit, got completely disorientated and started to panic. I think I had turned about 90 degrees as I suddenly felt like there was no space and I couldn’t find the light to turn it on even though I knew it had just been to the left of me. Panic was rising and I was having to really concentrate on telling myself to be sensible. I sat up and edged my way around the tank until I eventually found the lid, opened it enough to be able to see, put the light on and all was fine. I didn’t dare turn the light off again after that! Speaking to Neil afterwards he felt I had probably turned the light off too soon and had done the right thing in leaving it on in the end!
After that mad little episode I wasn’t sure I could relax enough to last out the full session – I had to really concentrate on pulling myself together! It’s a very strange experience as the water isn’t as warm as you would expect – but it’s not cold either (hence why its ok for pregnant women as it doesn’t alter your body temperature). I found, as Neil had suggested I might, that I was holding tension in my neck and shoulders which I relaxed by moving my head and arms around a little but I also realised that I actually hadn’t put my head back far enough and once I had done that I was much more comfortable. Lying there in silence with no sense of time allows you chance to think but I have absolutely no idea what I was thinking about – after a while I had settled myself right down without even realising as I was only disturbed from my relaxed state by one of my ear plugs working its way lose and distracting me!
In terms of my experience as a heavily pregnant woman I can safely say it was really lovely not to feel most of the associated aches and pains for an hour – I did find that my lower back continued to ache which I think was the angle my body floated at – I think a ‘normal’ person would float reasonably flat but the weight of my super late pregnancy bump meant I floated with a dip (I hope that makes sense as it’s hard to describe!) I tried to push my legs down to straighten by body out but it didn’t work. When I got out of the tank I felt really quite comfortable, my body was relaxed and relatively pain free – winner!
I really enjoyed a lovely warm shower afterwards – though I don’t think I had actually washed all the salt off properly as I felt a bit dry for the rest of the day. After another shower in the evening my skin felt really nice.
I had been sure I was going to fall asleep during the session as I’d had such a bad night the night before and was really tired . . . I didn’t fall asleep and actually, rather than coming out of the pod feeling sleepy and relaxed as I had expected, I felt alert and revived – which was nice! Neil explained it does seem to affect everyone very differently. As the day wore on I was quite sleepy in the afternoon but I have to say that’s pretty standard for me at the moment and I slept relatively well last night.
I can totally understand why it is recommended that you have several sessions before deciding whether floatation is for you – it’s such a new experience that you need time to adjust and settle in to it. I think I would feel very differently next time and I might even brave turning the light off!
*Disclaimer – I was invited to try a session of floatation therapy free of charge for the purpose of review however all thoughts and opinions are my own*