Sunday, November 20, 2016

Floating Naked

A few years ago, a business came to town that offers people the experience of spending an hour or two in what used to be called "deprivation chambers".  Basically you float alone in total darkness and quiet inside a pod filled with warm heavily salted (Epson salts) water.  The idea is that the lack of sensory stimuli allows the participant to clear and quiet their mind easier than one could with meditation alone.  As you might expect, all sorts of benefits are claimed.

I tried it for an hour a couple of years ago and I must say that I didn't get much out of it.  With the wife away this weekend, I decided to treat myself to a longer "float" of an hour and a half. As before, it was an interesting experience, but I guess I've never had much trouble quieting my mind when I wanted to.  But I can see that it might be helpful to some people.

So why bring this up here?  Because, and they make this very clear, you must float naked in the pod because the feeling of wearing anything while you "float" is distracting.  As if any of us who enjoy the outdoors, a day at the beach, or swimming naked needed to be reminded.   The room with your pod is completely private and includes a shower and changing area.  You undress, shower briefly, climb in the pod, aid wait as soft music plays for a while.  The lights slowly dim, then you're left in perfect quiet and darkness with your body suspended in warm soft water with the air warmed above you to the same perfect temperature.  When your time's up, the music fades back in and the lights fade back up.  That's your cue to (possibly wake up)  get out, shower, dress, and leave.

What's it like?  The need to do it naked probably dissuades some people.  They don't outright ban swimwear and they wouldn't know if you wore any, but it becomes obvious pretty quickly that wearing anything would distract the almost out of body experience "floating" (as they call it) gives you.  I guess I'm too in tune with my body to experience the full sensory quieting experience.  I hear and try to think only of my breathing, but I can still feel the warm water/air line evenly down my body (you float pretty high in the water) and I could hear my heartbeat pulsing quietly inside my ears.  I guess my body isn't totally at peace even when it's fully at rest.  I could feel tightness in my back and in my legs, even after some stretching while in the pod.  Floating after a nice fully body message would have been perfect.

In the end, as before, not knowing when it would be over was always on my mind and I alternated between being bored, and not thinking of anything.  Which, I suppose in the last case, was the point.  Either way, as with so many things in life, it's better experienced and enjoyed naked.

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