Week 35: Floating Away

I feel like I’m floating on air. This must be how it feels like if clouds were your mattress. I close my eyes, and drift away…slowly my mind thinks of …nothing…

***

After my Walking Dead Escape night during Comic Con, I figured that I should actually watch the episodes. So all of last week and this past weekend, I spent my free nights watching all the available episodes on Netflix — three seasons of Walking Dead. I got hooked after the first episode and had to complete my Walking Dead viewing marathon as fast as I could. I get obsessive that way, like when I have to finish reading a captivating book — I can’t stop. So what if the kids need dinner. Unfortunately Season Four isn’t out yet, and won’t be until a few weeks before Season Five starts on AMC (mark your calendars for October 12!). A side effect of all this exposure to zombies and survival mode characters, is that I think my mind turned me into a dead head. I became sluggish and was in a funk. It seemed that I was still taking to heart my role as a walker and was continuing to be slow and lethargic. (See Week 34)

 

As for the survivor lifestyle I was viewing, I was starting to think that survivalists really had a point, and that I should stock up on supplies (Costco sells Spam right?). I was also making sure that I could properly swing my collection of baseball bats that I keep by my bed – the old aluminum t-ball bat my kids used, a commemorative Tony Gwynn 3,000th hit wooden bat, and a souvenir Padres hard plastic Padres bat (it probably won’t do much damage, like how the Padres’ bats really are). My swings had to be able to knock off zombie heads you know.

 

By this past Monday, I knew I had to re-energize myself somehow. So along comes the usual emails from Groupon and Living Social, some which included deals to float spas. Hmm. One hour of floatation therapy. I had heard about these before, and float therapy was known to help your physical and mental well-being. My aging body could use some relaxation, and let’s face it, I was getting mental. It’s also supposedly helpful with any creative blocks you may be experiencing. I do have a few business articles to write. Okay, I sold myself on it, a couple clicks here and there, voila. Now, a quick call to Cocoon Float Spa and my appointment to float away was made.

 

Oh yes, I ended up picking the float spa that offered the isolation tanks that looked like cocoons. They reminded me of the movie Cocoon and the ability of the aliens’ energy to provide healing powers through the waters. Makes perfect sense to me now, I’ll spend some time in the cocoon’s chamber, get re-energized and live forever, hahahaha! Then comes world domination! Okay, just kidding.

***

float7

I get to Cocoon Float Spa and realized it was the same building Lacy and I parked in for the Pride Parade. (See Week 33). What a coincidence. The spa had very modern, clean furnishings that really complemented the look of the cocoons. I liked the solid white background, with touches of blues. My favorite color. And they had a great floor they created themselves with beach pebbles and epoxy. You sign-in for your treatments via iPads, plus first timers are to watch a short animated video on what to expect and what to do. Simple enough, you float and relax.

 

The very nice male attendant (I forgot to ask his name), showed me to my chamber which includes a private shower. You go in the float tank butt naked, and need to shower immediately before and immediately after your session. A ton of Epsom salt is in the water, which is what helps you float. He showed me how to close and open the cocoon; there is no lock and it uses hydraulic bars, so it opens easily. I wouldn’t want to get trapped in there. He also showed me how to turn on and off the lights and Muzak, and he told me that most people turn them off about five minutes into the session. Part of the float therapy is in experiencing sensory deprivation, which is why it’s dark and quiet. I’m also given ear plugs to help deafen any noise. He also lets me know that the music and lights will automatically turn on when I have five minutes left of my session.

float5

Okie, dokie. I’m then left alone to float my troubles away. I shower quickly, and step on in. The water feels soothing and warm. The tank is also built to warm the water to your body temperature. I slowly close the door, but wait, the attendant mentioned I could place a towel down so the door doesn’t completely shut and a crack of light seeps through. I decide to do that. A neck floatie is also provided to help keep your head up. At first I try without it, but felt I was straining myself, so I use the floatable pillow and feel much more comfortable. Okay, I’m floating, getting comfy, time to turn off the lights. Whoa…that is dark. I lose my sense of direction in this tiny tank (although bigger than what I expected), and am pushed away by my own current and need to sit up, open my eyes and find the light button again so I can turn off the music. Now I can turn them both off.

 

Back to business. With both the lights and music off, I try to relax, and simply float. What do I think about in here? Do I think about work? No. Do I think about my friend’s problems with her daughter? I’m so glad I have sons. Should I have a garage sale or not? Still undecided. Is orange really the new black? Darn, my whole wardrobe is basically black. Then I get distracted by the slightest of sounds. Geez, I forgot to put on those ear plugs. I can’t remember instructions given to me five minutes before I start? I don’t want to get out to grab them; I just know some alarm would sound off if I did. So I try not to pay attention to the barely audible humming sound I hear, to the gurgling sounds my body is making (no it wasn’t a fart), and to the noises my floatie pillow is now making which do sound like farts. I adjust my pillow.

float3

What do I do with my hands? I try to lay them across my chest mummy style. No, too deathly. Then I place them on each side in a V formation. No, too loose. I rest them behind my neck underneath my floatie. Yes, just right. Too much thinking going on here. I take some deep breaths to help me relax more. The video also mentioned toning, just making noise in the cocoon. I start doing so as if I was in yoga. Hey, sounds pretty cool in here, but no echo. Maybe it’s like in the shower, my voice may actually sound good singing. I try to sing that new song I’m hooked on: “All About that Bass” by Meghan Trainor. Nope, I still can’t sing, even in a cocoon pod.

 

My nose is itchy. I scratch it and some of the water from my finger drips onto my lips. Yuck! That salty water is disgusting. I forgetfully try to wipe my mouth which makes the taste worse. And I get a few drops in my eyes, which quickly stings me. There is a spray bottle of fresh water to get it out, but I don’t feel like trying to find it. So I take it and eventually the stinging goes away.

 

I eventually relax enough where I do feel like I am floating on air. It really is relaxing. It feels like there is nothing below me or around me. This must be how it feels to be weightless. I imagine myself in space, like Sandra Bullock in the movie Gravity. Oops, that was not a good thought. I start to feel like I need to touch something. I move myself towards the door so that my feet touch the cocoon walls. That’s better. Now with that swishing around, I created some subtle waves which makes me feel like I am moving, yet when I look towards the sliver of light through the door’s crack as a reference point, I realize I’m not moving. Am I getting motion sickness now? I am so lame. I’m starting to feel nauseous, and very bloated. I can’t float anymore. I sit.

 

This all occurred roughly more than halfway through my session. So taking into account getting adjusted to everything, I think I may have had a solid 20-25 minutes of relaxed floating. Now, I’ve freaked myself out too much, I can’t get back into that state. I try. Maybe about three more times. And I was just about to fall asleep, maybe that’s what scared me too, I didn’t want to fall asleep in water. But the water is so buoyant from all the Epsom salt, that you naturally conform to a floating position. Not wearing ear plugs didn’t help either. I kept hearing a buzzing sound, until I realized it was my phone notifying me of incoming texts. I can’t get out to look, the point of float therapy is sensory deprivation. So I sit there, naked, arms around my knees, my bottom heated by the salty water (I do have a hot bottom), waiting for my session to end. I only sit there about five minutes before miraculously the lights turn on and the music starts playing. Thank God! I sit there a little while longer for good measure, and slowly get out.

float2

I take a really long shower (sorry, I know we’re in a drought), and use every product they provided. I’m still trying to take deep breaths in the shower to calm myself. I was still feeling nauseous and bloated. Before I leave, I share my truthful experience with the attendant, who seems very puzzled at what I am saying. Am I the only one to not come out raving about how life changing it was? He says it could be that I have a lot of toxins to rid. Huh. He gives me a bunch of discount cards to use for next time, or to give out to friends. The guy who was in the cocoon room next to me came out saying that “it was amazing!” I left at that point.

***

Now, I don’t think it was a bad experience. I did relax at the beginning and enjoyed it, until I felt that I did need to use some of my senses. I needed to use at least one sense – like touching the walls. The isolation tank was invented in 1954 by John C. Lilly, and scientists started using them in the late 1970s to experiment on the therapeutic benefits and called it “Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy” (REST). REST. It may have been better for me if I could have started with only 30 minutes of sensory deprivation. Why is it that everything is booked in hours? Massages, acupuncture, exercise classes. I probably experienced some sort of sensory withdrawal. I’m usually on sensory overload. At the office, I have two screens going, with many windows open, and a number of projects being worked on daily. And my phone is like a mini computer, or the TV is on news or sports or House Hunters International, the laptop connects me to Netflix, in the car the radio is on. I’m screwed. This is also why I still haven’t been able to really meditate. I’m addicted to being on sensory overload. My name is Jemma, and I am a sensory addict.

 

Seriously folks, I did get a very good nights sleep. I fell asleep by 10:00pm, which is early for me. And I’m pretty sure I was snoring. My back pain seemed to have gone away. And boy, my skin sure feels soft. You do have to clean yourself up really good afterwards, as midday the next day it was kinda gross when I realized I had a some residual dried salt on my earlobes, and I’m wiping the salt out with my fingers. Ehh, touching my earlobes does calm me. I could still feel a slight sting of salt in my eyes too, they’re looking pretty red.

***

Would I try it again. Maybe. I do believe in trying things at least twice to confirm one way or the other. Like the time I tried that stinky but supposedly tasty fruit durian during a trip to Thailand. Well, the first time yes it was stinky and it was not tasty. I’m sure I made a horrified face when I took a bite. On a future trip to the Philippines, I decided to try it again, and the results were the same. So what is the lesson I learned from this experience? There’s no way I could be an astronaut.

***

Cocoon Float Spa, 3969 4th Ave. #201, San Diego, CA 92103, 619.688.3978, www.cocoonfloatspa.com. $90 for 60 minutes (I have discount cards if you want one.) $150 couples – not in the same cocoon (I wish), same time. Membership packages available. Free parking.

***

Just because I was thinking of this song while in the tank, here are the lyrics to Meghan Trainor’s song:

 

“All About That Bass”

Yeah, it’s pretty clear, I ain’t no size two

But I can shake it, shake it

Like I’m supposed to do

Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase

And all the right junk in all the right places

I see the magazines workin’ that Photoshop

We know that shit ain’t real

C’mon now, make it stop

If you got beauty beauty, just raise ’em up

Cause every inch of you is perfect

From the bottom to the top

Yeah, my mama she told me don’t worry about your size

She says boys like a little more booty to hold at night

You know I won’t be no stick figure silicone Barbie doll

So if that’s what you’re into then go ahead and move along

Because you know I’m

All about that bass

‘Bout that bass, no treble

I’m all about that bass

‘Bout that bass, no treble

I’m all about that bass

‘Bout that bass, no treble

I’m all about that bass

‘Bout that bass

Hey!

I’m bringing booty back

Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that

No I’m just playing I know you think you’re fat

But I’m here to tell ya

Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top

Yeah my mama she told me don’t worry about your size

She said boys like a little more booty to hold at night

You know I won’t be no stick figure silicone Barbie doll

So if that’s what you’re into then go ahead and move along

 

Because you know I’m

All about that bass

‘Bout that bass, no treble

I’m all about that bass

‘Bout that bass

Hey, hey, ooh

You know you like this bass

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One thought on “Week 35: Floating Away

  1. Sable says:

    Great review! I am an Interior Design student here in San Diego building a destination spa for my graduating project and I actually know of the Cocoon Float Spa but haven’t been and was wondering EXACTLY how these worked and boy did I get it after your article. Thanks!

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