That Time I Tried a Float Tank

Theta float spa float tank

The thing that happens when you browse Groupon is that you end up discovering a bunch of services you had no idea existed, but that you’re now pretty sure that you need in your life. (Salt room treatments exist? I don’t even know what that does, but gimmie!) One thing I discovered that was particularly intriguing was sensory deprivation float tanks. Have you heard of these?

After reading up on float tanks and deciding that I totally had to try it out, I contacted the closest float spa to me, Theta Float in Springfield, MO. They were down to trade me a float session for a post sharing my experience, so I was psyched to try it out ASAP!

Float tank

I should probably begin by explaining just what floating is. Float tanks come in all different shapes and sizes with various kinds of technology, but the kind I used (known as an Oasis Tank) is shown above. The tank is around 9 feet long and just wide enough that if I stretched out my (admittedly really long) arms, I could just touch the sides.

Inside, you’ll find around 10 inches of super salty water. The salt makes the water dense, so much like the Dead Sea, you float like a cork. It has an added benefit – they use Epsom salt, which is all kinds of good for your body. There’s a good chance you’ve taken an Epsom salt bath before either to detox or soothe sore muscles. When you do an Epsom soak at home, you’re probably dumping around half a pound of salt in your tub. This is a little like that, but instead of a couple of cups, they’re loading their tank with a thousand pounds of Epsom salts!

float-spa-epsom-salt

So much Epsom salt.

The basic idea is this: You kick back in a float tank for around an hour, and enjoy the break from the sensory overload that most of us live in all day long. The tanks are soundproof and totally dark, and the water inside is heated to be 93.5 degrees – about the same temp as your skin. So it’s dark and quiet and warm and the usual pressures of gravity are gone. All that’s left to do is hang out and relax and try not to spend the whole hour with Hamilton lyrics running through your head.

Theta float spa room

Theta Float Spa has three float rooms, and all three were booked for the time slot I was in. When the time came and everyone was there, one of the staff members took us into a room and gave us a thorough explanation of what to do, including safety info, how to stay the most comfortable, and tips for staying towards the center of the tank.

Documenting my experience is a little tough because a) it’s weird, and b) I’m sure that everyone is going to have a totally different experience based on all kinds of factors like how anxious they are, what kind of tank they’re in, etc etc. I’ll do my best, though, and I’m happy to answer any questions you have!

The process goes like this: You start by taking a 5 minute shower to make sure you’re not bringing any makeup, body oils, or other general funkiness into the tank. You then carefully get into the float tank (it can get slippery!), close the lid, and find a comfy floating position.

You can wear a swimsuit if it makes you more comfortable, but most float spas suggest going without so that you can get that total sensation of your body just dissolving, which can be tough if you have straps or bands putting pressure on your skin.  Each room at the float spa is private – it has its own shower and the room’s door locks, so I felt totally comfortable going sans swimsuit.

Float-tank-inside

Confession: Even though I’m not at all claustrophobic I wasn’t quite ready to float in the dark at first, so I used the provided washcloth to prop the door open just a crack so that it didn’t entirely seal out the light. After I got used to the general sensation of floating and felt comfortable (probably 15-ish minutes?) I was ready to switch to total darkness and try out the whole sensory deprivation thing. If you’re a little nervous about being enclosed in the dark, I’d definitely suggest easing yourself into it like this, or even starting out with the door totally open. The whole idea is to relax, so do what makes you feel most at ease! Having the little crack of light gave me the touchstone of “okay, there’s the lid” while I got comfy, but it was cool to lose all sense of space once that was gone.

The room I was in had lights that could be set to different colors (blue, green, purple, etc) and dimmed so that you didn’t emerge from the darkness of the tank to blinding bright lights.

Inside-float-tank

Flash photo of the inside of the float tank. I’m just under 5’11”, and if I stretched out my fingers and toes I could just touch both ends. In normal floating position, I had around a foot worth of space to drift in any direction.

The thing nobody tells you is that you’d probably have to have monk-like zen to get in there and just float, especially your first time. Playing is impossible to resist. Even though I knew the salt makes it almost impossible to sink, I was still surprised to find that crossing my arms on my chest mummy-style didn’t affect my buoyancy at all, so of course then I had to experiment with all kinds of floating positions. I also discovered that you can get a really great side stretch when there’s no pressure from gravity messing things up!

The float spa I was at uses soft, sort of dreamy music piped into the (otherwise soundproof) float tank to let you know that the end of your float session is about 5 minutes away. I later learned that you can request music to play throughout your entire time in the tank,  but they strongly suggest going the silent route for your first float. I was encouraged to take my time after the music came on – there’s no reason to ruin your chilled out vibe by rushing to get out of the tank and get dressed. Hang out for a few minutes to float with the music, then slowly emerge back into the world with it’s crazy stuff like light and gravity.

Being in a dark, silent environment where you can’t do anything but just lie there isn’t an experience that we have that often. Usually, if we have to wait in a two minute line at a coffee shop, we have our phone out checking Twitter. We almost never just *exist*, alone with our thoughts. Float tanks can be great for creativity and meditation, but just being left alone with your thoughts for an hour or so can be quite the experience. My brain tends to run a million mils an hour with like 50 tabs open every waking minute, so trying to shut it off in the tank was something I only accomplished for a few minutes at a time, but even those few minutes were probably really good for it.

Post-float, you definitely want to shower again to get the weirdly slimy salt off your skin and hair. (At one point while I was floating I went to rest my hands on my stomach and was surprised to find that the water IS slippery – it made my skin feel slimy, for lack of a better word. Salt is weird.) The hot water felt REALLY good after an hour in the 93.5 degree tank!

Answers to a few common questions about floating: No, you won’t drown if you fall asleep in there. If you somehow managed to flip over onto your stomach (which would be a hardcore acrobatic feat given how differently your body moves in this water), the crazy salt levels hitting your eyes and nose would wake you up immediately. Yes, the water is super duper filtered between tank users, so it’s about a billion times more sanitary than any other body of water you might go in after a stranger, like a pool or hot tub. And don’t worry: the crazy physics of floating in this kind of tank make it so that your eyes and nose naturally stay out of the water. If you do manage to get stinging salt water in your eyes (pro tip: avoid all urges to touch your face in there), there’s a towel and fresh water just outside the tank.

TL:DR for that last paragraph? There’s very little chance you’re gonna hurt yourself in the floaty box. It’s cool, you can relax.

While I didn’t have the totally euphoric experience that some people get with their first float, it was definitely fun and relaxing and a really cool experience to try. I’d definitely go again, especially since I’d have a better chance of totally relaxing since I know what to expect and am comfortable with the whole idea of shutting myself in a small dark tank now. (We do such weird things for fun, you guys!) I’d also love the opportunity to try out some different types of tanks to see how the experience differs!

A few interesting resources on floating if you’d like to learn more: This one at Men’s Journal (pretty sure that’s the first time I’ve linked to that site in my life), this post at Healthy Crush – I just discovered her site and really like it!, and this BuzzFeed video of people trying sensory deprivation tanks for the first time. There’s even a really in-depth book on Amazon!

If you live in or will be visiting the Springfield / Branson area, be sure to check out Theta Float Spa on Facebook, Twitter, and their website! They have all kinds of great specials and packages available so you can get a great deal on your float experience. If you’re not near my little corner of Missouri, either hit up the ol’ Googles or try a site like Groupon or Living Social to find a place to float near you! I’d love to hear how your experience goes!

Have you ever tried a float tank? Would you? What other kind of crazy health/spa services should I check out next? Let me know!

Mid-August Friday Favs

friday-hello

Happy Friday, everyone!

1. I kiiiiiinda binge watched all 10 hours of Making a Murderer in one night. And weirdly enough, I did so on the exact day that there was a big development in the case (don’t want to spoil anything) without knowing that was happening!

2. Just bought two new buttons. Love em.

I Was Normal Three Cats Ago button and The Holy Land Is Everywhere Black Elk Quote button

 

3. Okay, this is totally more of a question than a favorite, but oh well!

Notebooks

The notebook on the left is the one I’ve been using as my bullet journal most recently. I’ve ONLY been able to find this brand/type at K-Mart of all places. I only have a few pages left, so I ordered the one on the right on Amazon (it’s this one – I mostly picked it because it was the right general size and $4 w/ free prime shipping), but it just doesn’t *feel* right.  For those of you who do bullet journaling, do you have any suggestions that’s similar in size to the left one? (8.8″ by 6.5″) Or should I just head to K-Mart and stock up since I know I like them?? Not pictured, but it has handy folders int he front, and a little divider that I can use to divide my daily pages from my section of lists.

4. So… I tried out a float tank this week. It was super cool and super weird. I’ve got a post about the experience almost finished, but if you have any questions, leave ’em in the comments and I’ll be sure to answer them in my post!

Float tank

5. My mom has been pretty depressed about being in a nursing home for the past 6 weeks while she recovers from illness (she still needs 24 hr care for now), so we started taking goofy selfies on SnapChat to cheer her up. They were too good not to share with the world, so she now has an Instagram!

mom-instagram

Go follow her – it will make her day! (She asks me how many followers she has on a daily basis.)

And don’t miss the new giveaway I have going on!

 

Friday linkup time!

fri-favs Friday blog linkup

Awesome New Coloring & Dot-to-Dot books for Adults! {Groovy Giveaways Giveaway Hop – Ends 9/7 US}

coloring-books-giveaway

Coloring books for adults have been a HUGE trend this year, and I have some awesome new ones to share with you guys, plus what I think will be the next big trend alongside them: dot-to-dot books for adults! Check them out below, and then enter to win your favorite down at the bottom of the post! (WOOHOO!)

coloring-bird-mandalas

Coloring Bird Mandalas* by Wendy Piersall is filled with 30 beautiful bird themed circular designs to color! There’s a nice variety of detail level, so some will take a lot longer to color than others, and the designs range from super cute to regal and elegant. The designs are only printed on one side of the (nice quality, semi-thick) paper, so you don’t have to worry about colors bleeding through. I love the book size – 7.3 x 9 inches – which makes it big enough to have room to work, but small and enough to take with you on travels or daily adventures.

bird-coloring-book

I think I’ll be coloring this one next – just gotta pick out some great greens for the leaves!

bird-coloring-mandalas

coloring-flamingos

colored-bird-mandala

Love this little guy’s face!

coloring-bird-mandala-blue

I wanted to experiment with how much I could do using just one colored pencil – spent about an hour on this guy so far! You could definitely take this book and just a couple of pencils in your carry-on and be entertained for a multi-hour fight!

(If you enjoy this post, be sure to check out my previous post featuring Wendy Piercell’s other coloring books for adults!)

coloring flower mandala postcards

Coloring Flower Mandala Postcards takes some of the beautiful floral designs from Wendy Piersall’s Coloring Flower Mandalas book and offers them up in postcard form! You can either create a work of art to send to a friend, or mail these out blank so that the recipient can have all the fun!

flower postcards to color

coloring-postcard-flower

coloring-Postcard-back

There’s plenty of room on the back to write your message, or maybe do some fun little doodles!

dot-to-dot-book

I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with Calming Dot-to-Dot  by Emily Wallis, but after doing one puzzle I was HOOKED. These things are so addicting, y’all! There’s something zen about just following the numbers nd watching a picture emerge! (Part of the fun is the mystery of what the image will become, so I didn’t want to post too many pics of the finished results!)

dot-to-dot

The book contains 30 different dot-to-dot puzzles, each with 400 dots to connect. I had so much fun with this book that I ended up ordering another dot-to-dot book for adults on Amazon. Since there weren’t any others from the same author or publisher, I went with another one that looked good, but ended up liking it a lot less, which made me appreciate this one even more! The other one I ordered had 1000+ dots per page, which led to a lot of crowded areas where it was hard to see numbers through lines you’d already drawn. It made me appreciate how the puzzles in Calming Dot-to-Dot are intricate enough to take quite a while to complete (the book says they take around 15 min each, but I found that most took me around 30-60 min to finish.), but they’re not so crazy complicated that you get lost trying to find the next number. I saw some reviews on Amazon that complained that the numbers were too tiny, but I didn’t personally have any trouble seeing them, and I think that if they were any larger it woud interfere with the appearance of the picture. I’ll DEFINITEY be watching for future books like this one!

coloring-books-for-adults-giveaway

It would be mean of me to show you these awesome books and not share the fun! The publisher has been kind enough to offer one of you the book of your choice from the three featured in this post! Which one will you pick if you win? I know – tough choice!

Enter to win via the Rafflecopter widget below! The giveaway is open to US residents 18 and older, and all entries are optional, so feel free to do as many as you’d like to increase your chances of winning!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ride-the-back-to-school

This giveaway is part of the Groovy Giveaway Hop hosted by The Kids Did It and The Mommy Island. Check out the other blog giveaways in the linky below for the chance to win other cool prizes!

The Groovy Giveaway Hop hosts and participating hop bloggers are not responsible for sponsors or self-sponsoring bloggers that do not fulfill prize obligations. The books featured in this post were provided by the publisher. No other compensation was received for this post.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which means I will be showered with riches beyond measure (aka like twelve cents) if you click those links and make a purchase.

Show Us Your Books – August Edition

Life According to Steph

 
It’s Show Us Your Books day! As usual, I procrastinated writing this post until WAY too late, so I only had time to write about 2 of the books I read this month. Someday I’ll catch up!

(Amazon links are affiliate links which will award me with bright shiny pennies if you buy stuff through them. Goodreads links are NOT affiliate links, because as awesome of a website as they are, they do not seem to care that I am very very poor, and thus do not shower me in money when you click stuff. Meanies.)
 

Behind Closed Doors by BA Paris

Amazon * Goodreads

“Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart.”

Aggggh, this book, you guys! I read it all last night, so I haven’t had much time to digest it. Given that I read it straight through in a few hours, I obviously liked it, but I didn’t love. It comes out today, so I had an uncorrected advance copy, but the writing was great. Once it gets started, the pace never really lets up, so be prepared to find it tough to put down. I never really read thriller genre books because they stress me out so much, but something I read about it compared it to Girl on the Train and Gone Girl, both of which I loved (obvs), so I requested it anyway. It’s a very different style of storytelling than those two. There are definitely disturbing elements, but nothing graphic. I think the main thing that keeps me from loving it is exactly what I mentioned above – after pretty much the first chapter, the tension never lets up. There’s eventually a climax to the action of the story, but the tone of that section is pretty much the same as the rest of the book, which is a little…unsatisfying? More variation in intensity might have helped make it a more enjoyable ride, vs the “AHHH, I need to finish this!” sprint I went on. Still, I have a feeling everyone’s going to be talking about it, so maybe make it your last beach read of the summer ?

(Thanks to Netgalley, who hooked me up with the free advance review copy)
 
 

Think by Lisa Bloom

Amazon * Goodreads

I grabbed this book when I spotted it at the library because as a MSNBC addict, I’m familiar with Lisa Bloom and already kinda loved her. The book is an examination of the culture in the US that has evolved in which women are rewarded for focusing on appearance vs intelligence. She sites a study that found something like 20% of women said they’d rather win America’s Next Top Model than a Nobel Peace Prize, and mentions how it’s common to comment on how pretty a little girl’s dress is rather than to ask her what she’s been reading lately.

I loved the section where my beloved Angelina Jolie is used as an example, how despite over a decade of intense humanitarian work, most people still know her for “stealing” Brad from Jen, or as a MILF. No, seriously:

think-1 think-2

Sorry for the wonky text on tht 2nd one. Wasn’t planning to post the book photos, but got lazy.

The obvious problem with the book is that the person who is apt to pick it up is already the type who values intellect over the superficial. (I mean, as I mentioned above, I was drawn to it because I’m a cable news nerd.) Maybe it would be useful if quietly left on in the bedroom of a teenage daughter? Not quite sure what would best get it into the hands of those who would most benefit from the message.

Oh, and she gets bonus points for RT’ing me.

lisa-tweet-1

(We should keep some kind of running count of how many of my blog posts Chris Hayes shows up in. Probably 79%)

lisa-tweet-2

 

Be sure to visit the Show Us Your Books linkup to see what other bloggers have been reading this month! I assume that everyone but me has now read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, so I’m off to hop around the linkup and see what’s being said about it. (And maybe some other books.)

Have you read anything awesome lately?

Friday Favs

YayFriday

Happy Friday, everyone! Let’s talk Favorite Things this week!

1. I didn’t have time to do a Friday Favs post last week, so we’re opening today’s post with this GIF from the opening of the DNC:

dnc-gavel

 

2. I spotted these at WalMart earlier this week, and got super excited:

 

A photo posted by Crystal Ward (@crystalward11) on

I loooooove this style of pen, especially for my bullet journal, but they’re usually pretty expensive. (A 12-pack of the regular colors is $12!) I’ve already nerded out writing my daily to-do lists in all kinds of summery colors!

3. I tried this dress on at Target way back in February, but just didn’t have the spare $ at the time…

goodwill-dress

I am terrible at dressing room pics.

But I found it new with tags at Goodwill this week! Pro tip: Did you know that Goodwill gets Target’s clearance stuff after a while? They must have just gotten a shipment the day I was there – TONS of Merona and Mossimo stuff with tags still on, but way cheaper than clearance ever was. (My dress was originally $23, I paid $6!)

4. Stopped n Bath & Body Works this week to use some coupons, and ended up finding my absolute favorite new hand sanitizers!

merlot-hand-sanitizers
 
5. A publisher that I’ve worked with for reviews/giveaways before sent me some of their newest books, including this awesome dot-to-dot book for adults:

 
I didn’t expect to be that into it, but uh, I’ve already done 14 of them in like 3 days. SO ADDICTING! And yes, I get to do a giveaway soon where this book is one of the prize options – yay! I seriously might have to buy a bunch more ASAP, though, because I’m in love.

I slept for SIXTEEN HOURS yesterday (I think I was on the verge of getting sick, so my body just took a day off instead?), so I’ll be working like crazy today to try to make up for it! My current goal is to move back to FL by the end of September, so I need to stay focused if I want to have the $ needed to do it! (Or, you know, win the lottery. I’m totally open to that option, too!)

Linking up for Friday awesomeness with these rad ladies:

5-friday Friday blog linkup fri-favs