Deb Caruso shares her experiences floating for stress and pain relief.
When I was in my mid-twenties I ran a PR firm that had a lot of Italian clients. Let’s just say that between the breakfast meetings, lunch meetings and late night dinner meetings I was pretty exhausted! My best friends recognised this and bought me a voucher for the local float centre to help replenish my cup.
I was immediately converted and have been floating regularly ever since. The benefits arise from sensory deprivation or the more popularly-termed REST (Restricted Environment Stimulation Therapy) which sounds weird but makes total sense. The basic premise is that if you remove external stimuli to the brain (such as gravity, body temperature regulation, sight and sound), then it can get to work on other important activities such as repairing the body, rejuvenating cells and recovering from injury.
Several studies reinforce the belief that floating can result in muscle relaxation, better sleep, decrease in pain and decreased stress and anxiety, amongst others. Many believe that floating takes us out of the ‘flight or fight’ stress response and into a ‘rest and recover’ phase and I can certainly attest to the difference floating makes to my life.
No matter how exhausted I am when I enter a float, I always emerge feeling more relaxed, in less pain and more ‘together’. A float is the equivalent of 4-8 hours of sleep and the benefits last for days and when paired with a massage, are amplified considerably.
My friends used to think I was stoned post-float as I was in such a zen-like state, talk about a legal and natural high!
When I found out that a Float Centre was opening in Noosa, I was super excited! Add to that the fact that it was part of the City Cave group and my excitement levels rose considerably. City Cave started in 2016 to provide tranquil spaces where people can enhance their health and wellbeing through services that treat the mind, body and gut. I had been relying on visiting my sister in Brisbane to take advantage of the City Cave services including float therapy; infrared saunas, which detoxify the body; and massage to relieve tired muscles. The combination of all three proving a triple threat to wipe away stress.
In addition to having all these services in one location, the main difference that City Cave has is the use of float pools. This is a big bonus for claustrophobics and with the pool being super easy to get in and out of, it’s a major improvement on the traditional pods or tanks that have cumbersome lids.
We all know how good magnesium is for our bodies so imagine how good the 400kg of Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) is when being absorbed through your body’s largest organ, your skin. Plus, with that level of salt, you literally pop to the surface like a cork! The pools are heated to 34.5 degrees – the average external temperature of the human body, with infrared panels above the pool to ensure it remains at this temperature. This allows more effective relaxation, more quickly and I’ll never forget the sensation when I first floated, it was magical and totally reassuring.
So how do you float? All you need to do is book in and turn up. It’s that simple. The private float rooms have a shower for you to rinse away your cares (and chemicals) before entering the pool, everything you need is at your fingertips including earplugs, a neck support ring if you need it and light controls.
Typically a float will start with ten minutes of relaxation music, followed by 40 minutes of silence; with the music returning ten minutes before your float ends to bring your awareness back to the room getting you ready to leave the pool and shower off.
From my twenty-plus years of floating, I know that no two floats are ever the same and while some floats aren’t as ‘good’ as others, I understand the benefits to my mental, physical and spiritual state are still occurring on every level during and after the float – and that’s worth so much more than giving one hour of my time to switch off.
So what does a float feel like? Well, nothing and everything. It’s hard to describe and is very unpredictable. Sometimes the hour seems to fly by and other times it can drag on; the brain loses track of time.
Often I realise I have fallen into a deep sleep without even realising it; I have twitches and jerks which I have come to recognise as my body releasing tension or tending to pain I hadn’t realised I was carrying. Sometimes I can hear the blood flowing through my veins and other times I feel like I am slowly rotating either around in a circle or tipping from head to toe. I understand that this is the stress leaving my body so fast that it ‘puts me in a spin’ but it’s not a sickening, dizzy spin; more of an ethereal shift in state.
I was advised early on to never compare float experiences with myself or others and I understand why. I always try to enter the float with no expectations and to trust that the all-powerful brain will direct its energy where it needs to be.
The biggest benefits come from when I take the time post-float to be still and enjoy the herbal tea in the relaxation room, before rushing back to the everyday.
The more I float, the better my entire life is. With City Cave Noosa opening, you can expect to see me literally floating around town with a zen-like smile on my face – rest assured, I’m not
City Cave Noosa are offering a special INtroductory Float Pack of three x 60-minute float sessions plus a free INfrared Sauna session for $149. That’s a saving of $120 off the standard prices. Mention IN Noosa Magazine when booking.