Photo courtesy of Buoyant: A Float Spa


Debbie Monterrey
July 17, 2018 - 7:59 pm

by Debbie Monterrey,

I’m floating, weightless. Floating in a vast sea, just the sound of gently rippling water in my ears. Am I dreaming? No, I’m awake. It’s dark. Pitch black. I stretch out my arms, point my toes. I bob slightly in the warm water. My mind wanders. 

I’m not in the ocean at all. I am in Rock Hill. I’m in a float pod at Buoyant Float Spa.

Perhaps you’re more familiar with the terms “sensory deprivation tanks” or “isolation therapy,” but “flotation therapy” sounds much more inviting!

It is a rare thing in my life to have alone time, let alone sixty minutes of complete silence where no one and nothing can interrupt me. There’s always a child who needs me, a phone ringing, a text arriving, something that needs attention.

On my first trip to Buoyant, I was not sure what to expect. I’d done a little reading, talked to a few people who’d done it before, but still slightly apprehensive.

Photo courtesy of Buoyant: A Float Spa
Photo courtesy of Buoyant: A Float Spa

The owner of Buoyant (with locations in Chesterfield and Rock Hill) greeted me and brought me back to an area with a locker for my belongings, a robe to change into, flip-flops. Everything is very spa-like: quiet, soft lighting, clean. From there, it's on to my private float.

There are many different kinds of float tanks. At Buoyant, they are float pods with a lid that you can close “to your comfort level.” Unlike other float places, Buoyant is the only place where they completely drain, sanitize and replace the water after every client. 

After receiving a myriad of instructions about properly putting in the earplugs, showering completely to remove all oils/lotions/gels, etc., I’m left alone to get myself ready for the float. While I prepare, the pod begins filling with 200 gallons of water and 850 pounds of medical-grade Epsom salt. The high level of Epsom salt gives you the buoyancy so you WILL FLOAT. Basically, you can't NOT float. Even if you fall asleep, you'll keep floating.

I'm admittedly a little nervous. Can I actually be alone and quiet for 60 minutes? In complete darkness? Could I close the lid and not feel claustrophobic? I float. I experiment--arms out to the side? Arms overhead? I start relaxing. I think I fall asleep. I get a little restless and wonder what time it is and how much longer I have to float. Suddenly, the ring of lights around the pod start to turn on and I hear the sounds of nature coming from the speaker by my head. I'm a little sad it's over, although I do feel very relaxed. I shower, change and head home. In silence. A very rare drive for me when I don't turn on the radio or my recorded book on CD.

(There is a little LED call button that acts as a nightlight so it's not TOTALLY dark, but eventually I covered it with a towel to enjoy darkness, and I did end up closing the lid completely half-way through).

My second float is even better than the first. I'm not apprehensive but eager to get started. I definitely fall asleep. I wake and feel extremely peaceful. I'm better able to zone into my thoughts (which for a change don't involve to-do lists or ruminating over issues at work or home!). I smile as I walk back to my car, noting that my creaky knees feel better, too. 

I tell some girlfriends later about my float and they're full of questions. Later at another event, it comes up again. People are curious. 

Just do it, I say. Just try it. 

(Disclosure: I am doing commercial endorsements for Buoyant. When I was asked to do it, I said I needed to try it first. Fortunately, I'm a fan!)