Floating in a dark silent egg
Therapy emulates feeling of being in the womb
In just 60 minutes, I’ve turned from a lifelong shower-only girl into a bath girl, thanks to the new trend of float (or sensory deprivation) therapy. I’m trying it out at Rest Nest in Yorkville.
In float therapy you effortlessly float (think the Dead Sea) in 10 inches of water, thanks to 1,300 pounds of dissolved magnesium salts in a spacelike white egg called the Dreampod. But that’s not all. Once you close the egg, there is absolutely no light or sound inside the pod, and the temperature is matched to your body. This is the closest, I think, for anyone to ever feel what it’s like to be inside a womb.
At Rest Nest, they have three pods. Alex Deshaies, my host for the day, says their busiest times are after work and on weekends. He, himself, takes one of these baths three times a week. (He’s six-feet-five-inches tall and can easily fit into the pod.)
Floating, he says, has been proven to help memory and critical thinking skills as well as increase immune function and longevity. Many people who have come in with chronic pain find floating in salt water helpful.
“You’d be surprised at how many people come in after car accidents,” says Deshaies.
When I first see the egg, two things cross my mind. The first? “This is so cool.” The second? “Can I make it through an hour in this thing?” Deshaies says people who are claustrophobic have even come in. Once they get used to being in the pod, knowing they can open it at any time or turn on a low light inside, they realize it’s not as scary as it looks. My biggest fear is that I’m going to fall asleep and drown. I needn’t have worried.
Everyone floats naked, so I remove my bathing suit and put in wax earplugs. Then I get into the egg with the lights on and pull down the opening. Relaxing music begins to play, and I’m immediately floating in 10 inches of salt water. I push the button to turn off the lights. I’m now in darkness, and after 10 minutes, the music fades to silence.
I enjoy it immediately and immediately almost drift off, half my mind still in the real world, thinking about the chores I have to do, and half my mind in this pod, thinking about absolutely nothing. Every time my mind drifts back to real life problems, I force myself to just breathe, and I’m immediately back to an almost meditative state.
I open my eyes, just to see if I freak out, but surprisingly I don’t. I try to keep my eyes shut, feeling the warm water over my body, and do actually fall asleep — the salt water holds your head up — the only sound I hear is my breathing.
Five minutes before the session ends, the music begins playing again. And if you are really asleep — and I can see how you can completely end up in a comatose-like state — a voice will come on saying, “Your session is over.”
Afterwards, you let yourself out of the pod and jump into the shower, which is in the same room. You need to. There is so much salt in the pod, that it will get on your clothes and stay on your body.
I haven’t felt this relaxed in months (And, as a bonus, my skin feels softer!) Unfortunately, I have to float back to reality.
Rebecca tries float therapy at Rest Nest in Yorkville