Written by Robert: Float SNJ guest sharing about his experience with Parkinson's and float therapy. This is the first of four posts.
I had different goals going in the second time. I had the meditative experience the first time. I had been thinking about it since the first float. The knowing that I would slip into a meditative state without forcing it was comforting. I was going to use this float to work on stretching and breathing.
I showed up early so the drive would be comfortable. Sat in the car for ten minutes to decompress. Gathered my soaps and salves and headed inside. Before I got in the door I spotted a good and kind friend that works with wildlife. How cool is that. We greeted each other warmly. Then we began to talk gardening and permaculture. Some of my favorite things. I no longer question why my like minded friends are drawn to the same places. It's obvious. There were two sisters in the lounge also - one was a first timer and had some reservations. She had sat next to me and quietly questioned what to expect. I told her I was a novice and that she would enjoy. Which only seemed to quell her worries a little. You could see the free floating anxiety in her face.
I was called by staff that my room was ready. I excused myself from the conversation. The room was different then last time. Same earth tone tiles and wood furniture. It sets the mood well. Stripped - showered - and slowly made the shower cooler to make the saturation pool nice to snuggle into.
When I opened the salt saturation room door there was a hurricane formation of steam with a well-defined eye hovering above the water. It was mesmerizing. I slipped in and the hurricane started to disintegrate. It wasn't steam. It had been salt crystals that had formed in the saturate. That was something.
As soon as I was settled - tapped the light button. Centered myself and began with deep, full breaths. My parky hand was tremoring like mad. I ignored that as much as possible and concentrated on emptying the diaphragm with each exhale. I alternated between holding breathes on the exhale and then on the inhale.
Next up was stretching. I began by tightening and relaxing major muscle groups. Then focusing on smaller groups, then just random tightening and loosening. By the end of that muscles felt like weightless jello in a warm bed. Tremors had mostly stopped. Instead of going into a meditative state I used the opportunity of a relaxed body to push the envelope of my rigid side by stretching. It was painful. The tremors would begin a new but were easier to make them subside.
I relaxed and let my mind drift. I began to drift on a current that was in my mind. I imagined myself on the Red Sea. Then a faint tone brought me back. End of the session. Showered again. Slowly with lots of heat. That was so needed. Used some salve on my skin I had made heavy with beeswax. Spent some time in the recovery lounge and then headed out front.
I talked again with staff and my friend. We made some return plans. The two sisters joined us. The one that had been wound up was loose as a wet noodle and without the tension she had held coming in the door. That was nice to see happen.