Recently I was looking for a harmless adventure, something different that might improve my well being for at least a night. One of my dear friends from Catholic grade school heard from her daughter-in-law about floating, also called sensory deprivation therapy, or isolation therapy.
Instead of going out to dinner or to a movie, we met for a light bite to eat (we were instructed to eat light and no drugs or alcohol before the float) and headed over to the float chamber. Surprisingly, it was discreetly tucked into a strip center in a Detroit suburb. We had appointments and were greeted warmly by the staff.
The first instruction as I put on my own flip flops was to use their provided rubber sandals. Everything in this tranquil environment was precisely controlled. Once we were appropriately garbed, we were shown to our separate rooms, each with its own dressing room, rain shower, and floating chamber. I had envisioned my friend and I chatting in a big pool while floating. Boy, was I wrong.
Floating is typically done within a large tank of super-saturated magnesium water that makes you completely buoyant. In fact, it is virtually impossible not to float in this mini, salt pool. The water is kept at 98.6 in order to meld with your natural body temperature. You won’t feel too cold or to hot, but just right.
Float tanks are made available to a floater for one hour. Once you enter the chamber and close the door, you lay in about 10 inches of salted water with dim lights casting a subtle glow. When you close the door and position yourself in the water, the lights slowly fade and you are in complete blackness with no ambient noise. The idea is to stay still, clear your mind of all thoughts and drift into a stress-free, almost sleep-like state.
I was warned that once immersed in the water, even a slight paper cut or shaving wound could sting. No worries except he failed to disclose a more important fact about the experience: Once immersed in the water, brace yourself for fierce burning in the privates.
With my ever-mounting health issues, I worried that this pain was caused by a weird infection or something worse. But I worried for nothing. When my friend and I compared notes about our experiences, we coyly revealed we both had this issue. The pain lasted about 30 minutes and subsided. We agreed that had we known about this, we would have passed on the $65 soak — maybe had a more predictable massage or reikki session instead.
On the bright side, we enjoyed the herbal soaps and lotions available before and after floating. The plush towel and robe were appreciated. And we were able to relax on comfortable chairs in a dim-lit room afterward. But those luxuries didn’t begin to make up for the fire-like feeling in the crotch. All I can add is float with caution and maybe guys wouldn’t have the same issue.