It happened at a float spa. Although, I suspect that a very similar experience could have been had at home with low lighting, a big, bath tub and a generous handful of Epsom salt. I was lured in with promises of relaxation and untold health benefits. All I needed to do was soak in salt saturated water, Dead Sea style, without the sea part, for 90 minutes.
Did I mention it was in a pod that was meant to be completely dark and silent? Sensory deprivation was part of the salt-water-soak to cure what ails a person that added the potential for psychedelic visions and enhanced creative abilities. So maybe, it couldn’t have happened at home.
How’s that for a selling point?
The salt soak was the newest in a long line of health and beauty fixes with which I have experimented, ranging from algae for breakfast to healing stones strategically placed under my pillow at night. If someone tried to sell me snake oil, I would stop them and say, “What, just one bottle? I need the entire case.”
With each approach, I hope to find a type of magic, a way to reverse the aging process or to replace good old fashioned diet and exercise. Could floating in several hundred pounds of salt and water for 90 minutes be just what Dr. Merlin ordered?
I had to find out.
I booked two floats, one for me and one for my mom (who has dabbled in even more quackery than me). When my brother and I were kids, she sat us down at the kitchen table each morning and dosed us with charcoal, strange pills, and foul smelling liquid vitamins, as she used a whirring machine that guaranteed youthful, hairless skin for just six payments of $19.99.
I was in good company. We are a pair of believers and adventurers, willing to take a risk for what could be the next big thing as long as it comes neatly packaged, more or less.
There were three rooms each with its own shower and glowing pod. We entered our neighboring rooms with a parting wave and prepared to have a real experience.
Sliding into the lukewarm water, I closed the overhead hatch, like the last member into a submarine with one last wistful look behind me. Settling in, I bobbed up and down on the water, surprised at my own buoyancy. I tried to relax in spite of being naked in a glowing pod full of room temperature water but just couldn’t bring myself to turn out the lights.
So much for sensory deprivation. Maybe I should have asked for a partial refund?
Afterwards, I admitted sheepishly that it was too creepy to float in total darkness, to which my mother said with her usual lack of a filter, “You are such a wimp.”
If I were to further analyze the situation, I’m sure this could be key in understanding my unresolved childhood issues stemming from the same mother who happened to be floating next door as free as a bird.
Really, who has time for rehashing the past?
The first thing she asked when we rejoined in the lobby was, “What spirit animal led you? I actually became a starfish.”
Still lethargic and covered in salt, I was speechless. Nothing was how I expected it to be after 90 minutes away from the world. I’m not sure where I was during that time, but it was nice. I came back too relaxed to have a conversation.
I should have guessed that she would have an out of body experience (OBE) as a spiny, multiple armed, opportunistic sea creature. While she was spinning and stretching her extra arms to embrace sea life, I refused to admit that I too had an experience as a sea snake, gliding from one end of the pod to the other.
She didn’t need to know. Sometimes, OBE’s are not meant to be shared. Of course, the same could be said for bathwater, but that didn’t stop me from stepping into the pod of recycled water or writing this post.