I was gifted a float experience courtesy of Cloud 9 in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
I’ve been at a couple of spas lately (usually massage cause my back/shoulders are being killed to death by desk job) and I always walk by a room with a big egg shape bathtub. Always curious, but too scared to try. This egg pod is part of a new trend in spa therapy called Float Therapy.
What is Float Therapy? The benefits are said to be wellness, relaxation, pain relief and better sleep. But at the core of it, it is 1,000 pounds of salt in a tank of 180-200 gallons of water that creates a 30% salt solution, enabling you to float effortlessly atop the water. Kinda like the Dead Sea only you don’t have to go all the way to Israel to try.
So when I had a chance to try out Cloud 9 Float & Wellness in Boston, I decided to conquer my fear of getting trapped in that thing and maybe even see if its as magical as everyone been telling me. So one day after wanting to rip my hair out at work, I ventured on the orange line from Back Bay Boston for a 20 minute ride to Forest Hills.
About a 5 minute walk from the train stop, I found the family owned business on South Street in Jamaica Plain. Both owners were working with clients as I looked around the space to sign in.
Alex greeted me and had me exchange my kicks for some cushy waterproof slippers. Since it was my first time and I clearly looked out of my element, he had me watch a 5 minute animated info guide. I am not a very good listener but I tried to learn the benefits I should be experiencing as I try to relax, count to 300 and if can be avoided, don’t splash myself in the eyes.
As I was getting ready to go for my float, Alex’s mother who is the co-owner said they had a cancelation for the infrared sauna and asked me if I wanted to try it out for 30 minutes. Never one to refuse a deal or a sauna, I agreed.
The infrared sauna uses light to create heat. It is dryer and lower temperature than a typical sauna and causes reactions similar to those elicited by moderate exercise, such as vigorous sweating and increased heart rate. There was also different lights for light therapy, but I was just content listening to some music while I sweated out the toxins of my day, week, year. I’m a big Sauna fan and loved how much easier it was to stay in an infrared compared to a traditional sauna.
There is also a shower in the room to rinse of and refreshen when done. I loved that each service had it’s owner shower so you never had to go to a locker room.
After the sauna, I was walked into a private room with a shower, float tank, and all the essentials (toiletries, ear plugs, etc) . I got my final ask if I have anymore questions and then was left to be.
You start of with taking a shower to remove some of your body oils. I was super nervous about my hair bleeding or my color being eroded by the salt so I researched a bit before I went. It was recommended to fully soak my hair in the shower and a silicon swim cap should help.
The next step was to put in the ear plugs they provide and than you enter the tank.
I actually started with all the lights still on. In the pod there is a switch to close the pod and turn on/off the light. Since the room is private, you are actually encouraged to be nakie but I felt more comfortable in my bathing suit so in the tune, you do you.
Upon first entry, the water felt warm like a bath as I anxiously went belly up. There was a headrest float available if I needed, but once I got into the belly up formation, my head seemed to just know where to float on its own.
My first thought was wooowwww this feels amazing on my back and I started to stretch a bit (but carefully cause the fear of splashing water into my eyes was real, although they do provide a water bottle should that happen to help clean out the salt).
As I eased into comfort, my body was adjusting to the water that was body temp as well and I was now ready to go the next step, turning off the blue light of the pod.
And my anxiety came on again as I played around with what position I wanted me body in – from the mummy, to whatever else they showed in the info video. In the end, I found that what I started with, Shavasana like belly up float was the most comfortable for my body.
My mind on the other hand was racing… about work, about my to do list, about a training plan for a BQ, what to eat for the next week, worrying that this float was cutting into time I could be running/training, everything and anything . I tried counting to 300 but every 20 numbers or so I went back into mind racing thoughts that could only be causing more anxiety then relaxation. It sort of became a tug of war, I told my mind to relax, it would do the opposite, I’d tried to count and repeat.
I have to confess.. at one point, I pulled up and checked my watch thinking I must be almost done. I was only 21 minutes into my soak! You can leave at any time, but if there’s one thing I try to avoid, it’s a DNF. So never a quitter, I returned to my belly up stretching which was the only trick that worked to relax me and started counting to 300 all over again, each time i wavered, I didn’t let my thoughts finish, but went back to the number I thought I left off at and continued to count off into nothingness.
At one point, the idea of closing the pod came, but I was too nervous that without my glasses, I wouldn’t find the switch to open it again and I was finding some Zen and didn’t want to ruin in by fiddling with all the buttons.
I honestly don’t know where my mind went but I zoned out somewhere for 30 minutes because before I knew it, a low light that indicated my 60 minutes were up came on. Maybe I napped? Float therapy black out? Is that a thing?
I slowly eased my way out and into the shower. I was feeling pretty relaxed and lazy and wanted a bed a lot more than a shower, but a shower was definitely needed for all the salt I probably had on me.
There’s a lot of benefits to float therapy that are listed on the Cloud 9 Website and as with most therapy, you do need to go regularly to really feel the physical and mental benefits. I was also told that floating regularly also helps reach the meditative state more easily than what I experienced which is why they also offer 90 minute floats for the more experienced. I never even meditated for 10 minutes before this so IMO, that was a grade A floating performance for Liana.
Aside from some trailing salt in my ears that I found the next AM, I left with the following benefits right away:
- My back felt awesome
- My PF foot felt better than ever (maybe that’s cause I skipped a run to float heh)
- My mind felt weightless for the evening
- I slept a lot better than I have in a while that night
I am not sure if my brain ever reached the step where it is suppose to increase creativity. They say 40 minutes into a float the brain stops producing its normal Alpha and Beta waves and starts going deeper into a Theta or Delta state. I am not sure I got there on my first float, but I plan on trying a few more to find out.
If you’re in the Boston area, check them out at 162 South Street, Jamiaca Plain 02130 Cloud 9 Float & Wellness street parking and train access available,