Eve's Experience: Post #1

Post written by Eve. Eve is a straight A student and athlete in high school. She has AMPS and experiences pain everyday. This is her first of four postings she will share about floating and pain relief. 

I was a little nervous going into  my first float. I didn't exactly know what to expect and when people told me that you just float in water with no light or sound. I didn't understand how amazing something so simple could be. But let me tell you!!! I actually felt like I had a new body after I finished my first float. I suffer from AMPS (amplified musculoskeletal pain syndrome), because of this, there is not a day that I don't have some sort of pain.

The day of my float, I was having a very stressful day and my AMPS was acting up. After my float, I actually felt weird at first because all of the pain was gone and it was something that I did not expect to go away so quickly. That pain relief last a day and a half for me and that was the longest length of time that I didn't have pain. I'm really excited to go into my next floats. I was very nervous and tense on this first one. I think if I relaxed more I would have gotten even better results. I am expecting some great things for my next float.

Jamie's Story & Introduction: Post #1

Post written my Jamie. She will be sharing her experience as a Float SNJ guest and the process of her healing. This is her first introductory piece. 

I had a car accident on 2/9/18 where I suffered whiplash injuries as well as a concussion.  Since the accident, I have been seeing Dr. Devon Coughlin with Revolution Chiropractic Health Center three times per week.  He suggested a few days ago that I check into sensory deprivation flotation therapy, and recommended I contact Float SNJ. 

As far as my concussion goes, I have been struggling with constant headaches from the time I wake up until I go to bed at night every day since the accident.  Only a handfull of times have I had a couple hours without a headache or a lessened headache, then it returns with the same intensity. I have had light sensitivity to the point that I have been wearing sunglasses most of the day (even inside at my work) except for in the evenings at home where I keep the apartment lights dimmed.  I also have had sound sensitivity, repeatedly reminding my daughter to talk quieter or turn down music/tv. I have had to step out of my church during the worship music because what is normally okay for me has been too loud for my head the last 3 weeks. Early on in the concussion I was very easily fatigued. The last few days that has gotten a bit better, though when my headache is really strong or I have just finished something that requires a lot of focus (like driving) I become easily tired.  Early on in the concussion I had a difficult time keeping my focus, taking a longer time to think and process information, often lost my train of thought, and had difficulty multi-tasking.

Thankfully that part has almost returned back to normal now with my focus only being a problem sometimes.  I have found myself easily irritable, frustrated, and emotional since the accident and concussion. That is slowly improving the last week or so.  Doing certain things also increases the headaches, especially things that require focus. Driving especially is hard on my head. I think this is because not only is my body moving and my brain having to focus and process all that it does to drive, but also all the objects around me are “moving” too perceptually.  I notice the same thing when I’m walking, though to a lesser extent than when driving.

I work as a sign language interpreter.  That has been challenging for me since the accident both with the mental processing as well as the visual aspects that have been impacted.  The mental processing part of interpreting is starting to get a little better the last few days, though the visual and headache impacts are still there.  Dr. Devon has me on light duty at work for the time being limiting my interpreting time before I need to take breaks. Also, I notice that being on computer screens, phone screen, etc intensifies the headaches.  I am also on screen restrictions right now as well to limit how long and how often I am on screens. I do notice that wearing sunglasses while working on the computer helps somewhat.

Finally, I have had to be careful how fast I move my head as the more quickly I turn the easier I am to get dizzy or have visual disturbances, plus it hurts my head.  Also, when I keep my eyes looking straight ahead and slight down in a “neutral” direction sometimes my headache will ease up. However, when I move my eyes up or to the sides then the headache gets worse.

I am eager to see how floating helps with all of these symptoms from my concussion.  I also am eager to have the floating work in conjunction with the chiropractic work that Dr. Devon is doing with my whiplash injuries (especially muscle and soft tissue injury) as well.

Robert's Experience: Post #1

Written by Robert: Float SNJ guest sharing about his experience with Parkinson's and float therapy. This is the first of four posts.

I grew up in the 70's and floats were pop culture and in movies. It had always been something I had wanted to experience. A little bit to satisfy a childhood curiosity and partly because of a progressive neural disease; the processor is failing, Parkinson's.

Symptoms started 15 years ago. Before I recognized what was happening to me I was drawn to good food, foraging medicinal mushrooms, and drawn to extreme sports for dopamine production. So a Float? Of course. Fits right in with my current path.

I don't drive much and gave myself time to be comfortable. Going in and greeted pleasantly at the door permission to sit anywhere is given. A comfortable lounge where the tension begins to get peeled away. I was tense going in and PD amplifies social stress. The staff kept directing the conversation gently back to the beginnings of the meditative process. Something they must see all the time. I allowed myself to be led.

After the paperwork is an introduction to the float room and hygiene protocol. The staff guides you with what to expect in the float pool and their personal preferences.

Shower. Close the door. Two buttons. Unusual meditation. Got it!

As soon as I locked the door I stripped and showered. I had scrub brush shower before coming so it was cursory. I slid the door to the salt saturation room. Music was calming. Lights were soothing. I was so excited to block out the sensory input. I climbed in and thought I would get right to it. Wrong. This new weightless medium has a slight learning curve and made a little more difficult with the PD. My symmetry of movement was affected and made it feel clumsy at first. The incredible buoyancy is very forgiving though. It was actually kinda fun.

After settling in I tapped the light button. It went dark. The music still on my goal became stretching and slowing breathing. That worked, so I turned off the music. After some more stretching the new goal was to clear the mind and see if I could turn off the tremors in my arm and hand which was still "pill rolling". I started with a candle flame in my mind. Didn't work. As I lay there weightless, my body began to relax more than I had never felt before. The second attempt at meditation I focused on a bonfire. I slipped into a meditative state and the tremors stopped in my arm. The head tremors took longer to control. I learned that forcing my head down and pushing down with my legs relaxed those muscles too.

Drifting in and out of deep meditation it began to be hard to know where my arms and legs ended and the water began. I even had a slight sensation of drifting on a current. The gong sounded. I had lost all sense of time. The soft lights came on. I was so relaxed you could pour me into a glass. I stepped out and washed off in the warm shower and slowly dressed drinking in the relief. Wow. That was something. Looking forward to the next session.

A Galactic Experience

Written by Meghan Aya Letts, Float SNJ Yoga Instructor & Employee

Not all floats are the same experience. They will offer you a new piece of self wisdom each time. This is what the Galaxy float room taught me.

I couldn’t wait to try out the Galaxy float pool. This room has been intriguing me since I started floating. It’s walls are painted black with floors that sparkle in golden and pink specks of glitter. It feels like you are walking on top of a starry night sky. The float pool resembles deep space. The lights on the ceiling are reminiscent of constellations, which then reflect onto the pool water below. It’s a magical scene of mystery and serenity.

I couldn’t wait to turn my mind off and bask in the bliss of calmness. I had high expectations of blissful states of consciousness. My mind had other plans for me though. It was going a million miles per hour with to do lists, with concerns, with worries about deadlines, and so on.

I began to take deep breaths.

Moments of a blissful pause. And then…. Back at it. Mind spinning, becoming anxious to get things done in time.

More deep breaths.

Moments of blissful pause. And Bam! Mind went back to work. I even had the thought I should just leave the water and go the things that were driving my crazy in the stillness of the pool.

More deep breaths.

I began counting my breaths, timing the inhales and exhales, evening them out. This helped immensely. I gave my monkey mind something different to dance too. I even took a moment to turn the constellation lights back on and admired the reflective glow in the pool. The admiration of it’s beauty helped still my thoughts even more until I was able to turn them off again.

I imagine I was about 40 minutes into my float at this point when my mind softened and I entered the space of peace. I entered a place where I was no different than the water that surrounded me. I could feel my body becoming lighter, so light that I was aware of the delicacy that is this human body. My muscles, skin, and bones floated with comfort and ease. The final 20 minutes of the float offered a place of healing stillness to unwind and simply breathe.

Each floating experience is different. Every day conditions are different and at times the thoughts and worries which they create are brought into the  float pool. Those experiences can be the most important floats because they show us our mind and offer us the chance to practice reigning in the usually unhelpful thought wheel. What began as a frustrating float ended as one of the most potent float experiences because it reflected to me the power of breath and focus, to not be hard on myself for not being at total peace, and that I have the ability to pull it all inward into a state of calm. This is a floating meditation.

From the Water World to the Zen Temple: A Personal Experience

Blog written by Float SNJ employee/Yoga instructor, Meghan Aya Letts.

“When you sit in silence long enough, you learn that silence has a motion. It glides over you without shape or form, exactly like water...And silence has a sound you hear only after hours of wading inside it. The sound is soft, like flute notes rising up.” -Anne Spollen, The Shape of Water

Like water, humans take shape and merge into their containers. We are what we pay attention to. We are our environment. The way we choose to take care of our body, mind, and spirit has impact. It’s in the silence of solitude that our bodies can reach a state of harmony and our minds can quiet to a state of equilibrium. Floating is the gateway needed to realign the body and mind to a baseline state of tranquility and awareness.

I am new to floating. The rooms I have experienced are very unique from one another and both equally as healing and beneficial. Your own individual experience will differ based on the theme of your room, your own perspective, and floating experience.

Water World was my first floating experience.

In Water World I felt like a curious and playful child. I was actively exploring the ripples of the water, to the sensations, and lack of sensations, in the dark still quiet room. I swayed my arms and torso side to side in the tank, exploring each movement. In the quietness I could trace the neurons of my brain firing through my limbs telling them to move, even the tiniest of movements. I envisioned myself dancing in the spacious sky above the Himalayas. I felt like I was floating in the heavens. Serenity within the clouds. What I found was most profound is the ripple effect. The smallest movement creates a ongoing ripple in the heavy salt water. For minutes after you can still feel the subtle effects of movements. It gave a tangible experience to the fact that every action we do creates a ripple effect throughout our environment and affects all that are around. I carry this lesson with me day to day now. I notice how I move about a room, I notice how I speak and the tone that I use, I notice how I use touch, and remain conscious to the effect I have in my community and surrounding environment.

The Zen Temple was a whole other experience.

It begin with a journey to the doors of the Zen Temple room where Buddha awaits you as you enter into a space that feels like a jungle temple hideaway. Open the sliding float tank door and greeted with a room that resembles the realm of the cosmos. The float tank floor is artfully designed with a quartz crystal Om. Floating above the quartz crystal is naturally calming and healing to the body.

As soon as I turned the lights and music off I pushed off the wall into the spaciousness. I felt like I was an astronaut pushing off into space. I immediately settled into the stillness. I felt a quality of heavy relaxation, that feeling when the body feels like it is melting, sinking, merging into the float. There was no separation to the end and beginning of where my skin met the water. What I discovered was a feeling of comfort and being held. My sense of calmness allowed my skin to soften, my muscles release, my bones relax, and I imagine even the cells of my body were able to take a deep exhale in relaxation and gratitude for the time to rejuvenate. The only sound to be heard was the beating rhythm of my heart. The thoughts within my mind came to a point total quietness as normal everyday worldly concerns vanished.This experience is one of ultimate peacefulness and stillness. The name of this room is accurate- to zen out; to enter a blissfully contemplative state of stillness.

The after effects of both rooms left me feeling a state of inner serenity that I can carry with me throughout the day.

I notice my senses are sharper and more in tune with the natural environment. I feel rested on a deep cellular level. The float allowed my body to do what the body naturally wants; to heal in order to feel a greater sense of purpose and joy in all that this life has to offer.

Do you want to share your experience? We love to hear from our guests! If you are interested in submitting a guest blog post please email meghan@floatsnj.com