Turns out, submitting to total sensory deprivation is really difficult.
I’ve heard so many things about flotation therapy, all good, from my friends and fellow content creators that I just had to try it. The lovely (and I do mean lovely) people at Floating Lotus offered me the chance to experience this trend for myself and I couldn’t resist booking an appointment ASAP. I’ve had the privilege of trying a lot of spa services over the past ten years, but this one topped them all.
What to expect
The atmosphere inside Floating Lotus is bright, welcoming, and relaxed. The staff answered my many questions and concerns before getting into the tank and they walked me thoroughly through the entire float process. The treatment room itself is completely private and stocked with amenities for both before and after your session. Because of the sensitivity of the water, you have to remove all makeup & products from your skin with a quick pre-soak rinse. Because of the high salt content of the water, you’ll need to shower after as well. The process is pretty simple, however, there are certain precautions you’ll want to take and things to keep in mind before your first float.
In the days leading up to my float, I became hyper-aware of any little disruption in my skin. Like swimming in the ocean but 10x more intense, salt can be very irritating to skin disruptions as small as a pimple or an ingrown hair. Fortunately, I didn’t experience any extreme stinging or burning during my float. My hair, however, was another issue entirely.
For a variety of reasons, Floating Lotus requests that you do no float for at least a week after your hair has been color treated. My appointment was exactly one week from my incredible new color and after a cursory Google search, I saw that salt rinses can be used to strip color from my hair. Although I had a gloss appointment immediately following my float, I didn’t want to undo all of Janelle’s brilliant work and damage my freshly bleached hair.
My experience inside the tank
There were three factors that prevented me from fully submitting to the floating therapy experience: my body, my hair, and my mind.
Inside the float room, which is blessedly not a tiny pod, you’re only working with about 10″ of water. Because of the high salt content of the water, you’re extremely buoyant. Once you start to lay back and lift your hips, it feels like your entire body is being pushed up from below at a fast pace. I can imagine that in deeper water, this might be startling. The challenge for me and my body size is that I could never quite get my butt up off the bottom of the tank. I had to focus on keeping my hips lifted otherwise, I’d touch the bottom of the tank every few seconds.
Floating Lotus provided an impressively secure shower cap, but no shower cap can keep all the water out. After my first real attempt at floating where my hair became entirely soaked, I gave the experience an earnest try. The concerns for my hair (and my imagination running wild with scenes of red dye floating out into the tank) combined with my frequent awareness of the bottom of the tank inevitably disrupted my experience entirely.
After I gave up the notion that I could float with my full body, I turned sideways in the tank and sat with my back against the wall, allowing my legs to float. Because I couldn’t totally disengage with my experience, my mind began to wander. At first, it was similar to being on a flight without wifi, except with far more personal space. It seemed relaxing until I became overwhelmed with everything I was missing, everything I needed to do, and how much time I had left in my session. My float lasted for 50 minutes and I was committed to enduring all 50 of those minutes, if for no other reason than the beauty benefits of the salt.
After my float
The skin benefits of the tank are real. When I left, my skin was plump and hydrated for at least 24 hours after. So hydrated, in fact, that I ended up over-hydrating and my makeup slid off my face for the rest of the day as a result. The shower at Floating Lotus is pretty fantastic and the steam-filled room following your shower is a great re-entry experience.
I don’t feel confident in saying that flotation therapy isn’t a great choice for me. Based on my experience, I believe it would take at least two (maybe even three) sessions to learn how to shut your mind down from the outside world. Especially in a city like New York, with signals flying everywhere and the world swirling outside, it can be difficult to focus on yourself. Similar to meditation, I didn’t expect great results the first time out. I would love to give it another try, but perhaps at a time when being a vibrant redhead isn’t quite so high on the priority list.
A 50 minute float session is $150.
39 West 56th Street, Penthouse
New York, NY 10019