float on

Living in Gastown has its perks. Being steps from the most incredible florist (Olla), coffee shop (Timbertrain) and best gluten free duck shepherd's pie ever (The Greedy Pig) are just a few 'hood highlights.

Just one block down from my front door now resides The Float House. As soon as I saw the tanks being loaded in I was insanely intrigued. As a child I took about 6 rounds of swimming lessons. I failed them all, sinking like a stone, big pre-teen rubbery thighs, water assaulting my sinuses, all culminating in a flailing snorting mess. So, I learned to stay in the shallow end, dreamily watching those who got graceful once they broke the surface of the water, like human spoons sliding into a creamy aqua creme brulee.

Now, if The Float House says I can float, you'll get why I would want to go to there. 

I contacted

Michael Zaremba, Co-Founder

of the Gastown location to pick his brain about this whole deal.

Why floating?

People seem to float for many different reasons.  Pain management, meditation are very common, but mostly people float to just truly relax aka stress management. Floating is the ultimate “reset”, it helps release all the tension that we consciously and subconsciously store in our bodies and does so via two angles - both physical relaxation and mental relaxation. 

How has floating changed your life?

It allows me to have experiences that I would not have been able to have outside of the tank. It is extremely individualistic and subjective, and it is my interpretation of my experiences that dictates HOW I relate to whatever sensation/experience I have. It has allowed me to experience myself as a human being in a completely unique context. That, combined with the profound relaxation, keeps me coming back to the tank every time with more humility and gratitude.

I was IN.

I booked myself in for my first float and counted down the seconds. 

On the morning of, after carefully reading all the Best Practices posted on their site (light cardio, hydrating myself, light meal, NO SHAVING because - salt bath), I was ready. For any new experience I calm my I DON'T KNOW WHAT'S HAPPENING NEXT jitters by getting overly prepared. But I didn't need to worry. Once you step in the door of the Float House and have shed your shoes, you sit down with a wonderfully clear step-by-step short movie that breaks down everything you're going to do once it's just you alone in a room with the tank.

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(image via The Float House)

Escorted to my room, after a quick shower, I inserted the ear plugs, opened the tank door and slid in. The tank, sparkling white and authoritative, is about the size of a XXL bathtub. Once inside there is plenty of room both above your head and around you. The water is that perfect temperature, and thanks to the pounds of epsom salt in it, I was thrilled and relieved to be held perfectly afloat. 

With the tank door closed (recommended for optimizing your experience), it is dark. It gets a little warm. I breathed my way initially through scattershot claustrophobic thoughts that ping around like fleas in your brain when everything is so still the loudest noise is your own heartbeat.

I found that I needed to keep the tank door slightly propped open with help from the mini pool noodle provided. That set the environment for my perfect float. A hint of fresh air was available to my hungry lungs, the tiny slice of light soothed my fears, and the ensuing calm let me fully and completely get sucked down and into my float.

I let my arms gently float up overhead, in the surrender pose. The one your baby sleeps in once it's not crammed up in a womb. Felt that total trust. I was safe. My brain was off, but on. Hopscotch-ing down various paths gaily with no interruption. I didn't come up with any life-changing ideas but I did almost fall asleep. That's how comfortable this can get. Even with a few interruptions - fixing one errant ear plug and a tiny trickle of that water in my eye (avoid at all costs) - the water is so velvety soft on your skin, you float away. You are everything and you are nothing. You are deprived and you are quite happy to be there.

As a parent; as a freelance writer constantly on my phone and engaged in social media; as someone who lives downtown Vancouver - there is never a quiet moment, let alone 90 minutes where it's just me, myself and I with my thoughts. Still as can be with the day's worries and weakness unable to find me. I felt protected and proud of myself. Loose and experimental with no hesitation. For those 90 minutes (that truly FLY by), I floated and it was all and nothing.

Once your time is up a calm bubble of music sounds and you know to exit the tank. Your shower is right there which is super handy as you acclimate to gravity and legs that need to work again in familiar ways. There is a space to freshen up if you need to and also a lovely lounge in a nook with teas to sip, a guest book to share your experience, and other tomes of floating history, stories and education.

Please treat yourself to this.

The Gastown location is offering a special discount to you, my wonderful readers. Enter promo code “recovery” for a 20% discount off a Single Float. And let me know how you feel afterwards, ok?

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(image via The Float House)

"Alright, Already

And we'll all float on alright

Already we'll all float on alright

Don't worry even if things end up a bit

Too heavy we'll all float on alright"

~Modest Mouse, Float On

Download The Float House's Free App here, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter for all your floating updates.

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{I was given the float for free in exchange for this blog post. As always, all opinions and caps lock are my own}