It’s not difficult to find wellness activities in Southern California. There is a big connection between the body, mind, and soul that many Californians live by and San Diego is no exception. We’re also pretty lucky weather-wise in San Diego. Our days are perfect for hiking, biking, swimming, or just being outside enjoying the beautiful temps and (usually) sunny skies. Floating in San Diego may not be an activity you’ve thought about or knew existed.
With so many nature spots, not to mention the vast ocean, to serve as places to calm our thoughts, I’d like to say San Diegans, in general, are focused on being more mindful of their surroundings. For me, when days get too hectic and life is too chaotic, I press pause and allow myself a full day of nothingness. This could mean reading a book, writing letters, or doing absolutely nothing and being ok with that.
Like most people, my schedule means I’m running on all cylinders for most waking hours with an hour or two here and there for “me” time. After awhile, this becomes wearing on the body and uninspiring for the soul.
Floating in San Diego
Hydrotherapy may be a new concept to many, but it’s been a healing practice used for decades, centuries even. The healing powers of water are many, but floating is a newer concept, at least it was for me. My friend had done floating treatments a few years back and had liked her experience. Since then, I had been intrigued but had never signed up to go. Until now.
Recently, I signed up for a series of three floating appointments with Float North County, located in the beautiful beach town of Solana Beach. I read the recommendations diligently before my first appointment. You are supposed to eat lightly, but have no caffeine. It’s also suggested to be well-hydrated (as you always should) and it was noted that physical activity before floating could help enhance the experience, which turned out well because I was busy moving to a new place the morning of my appointment.
Each room at Float North County is private to the user with a lock. There is a chair and hook for your clothes and bag on one side of the room and a built-in shower with drain on the other. The shower is for you to rinse off pre-float. The float studio provides basic toiletries for you to shower post-float as well. Ear plugs are also provided before your step into the floating area.
The floating area in the room is a tub encased on all sides. You can choose to leave the door open to the tank if you feel too claustrophobic, but to really relax and be part of the sensory experience, I recommend shutting it. There are soft lights in the tub when you step in so you’re not left in the dark, which you can shut off when ready. There is also soft music that plays in the first several minutes and again, as your session comes to an end. Rather than being rattled with a loud knocking or drifting off to sleep and not knowing what time it is, these are nice reminders of when the session is up.
Whatever Floats Your Boat
Having practiced meditation a little bit, I found it easy to relax my mind and let the water hold me up. One thing that was suggested, which I appreciate, is to relax the neck. I did find myself tensing up there to keep my head afloat, which is unnecessary because the salinity of the water does that for you.
I did drift off to a semi-sleep. Without about 10 minutes left in my session, I felt a little antsy. When the music came on and I knew it was time to get out, I quickly emerged from the tub. I DO NOT recommend this. Take your time. That’s the whole point and one I didn’t appreciate. The water is warm and because you are in such a relaxed state, it’s best to ease out slowly. Then, shower with cool water. I got a little overheated, which I am blaming on my hurried state. I learned my lesson for the second time.
Floating – Round Two and Three
The second session was scheduled in the floating pod. It started with time spent in the infrared sauna, which felt great in preparation for the pod. The pod was my favorite of the two rooms I experienced. When you walk in, it looks a little sci-fi and again, you have the option of closing the lid or keeping it open.
I’m not sure if I liked the second session better because of the pod, the sauna, or because I knew more of what to expect, but the time went very quickly. I was easily able to relax my mind (and neck!) and have a truly calming experience. The third and final session was in a similar room to the first and again, I “woke up” with a few minutes to spare. Also, with the second and third sessions, I did not follow the recommendations as closely as I did for the first time.
I had a meal about an hour or so in advance, plus a coffee. I wonder if it depends on what your body is used to when you prepare for your sessions. I say, do what you feel is best. Think about it in the same way you would prepare for a massage or other type of therapeutic treatment. You don’t want to go overboard and be overly caffeinated or full, but you don’t want to feel deprived either.
Floating is a different experience for everyone. For those who aren’t used to meditation or calming their minds for a longer period of time, I can imagine it might be difficult to get used to the relaxed feeling of floating in the water with your own thoughts. But I like to look at it as an escape and self-care that’s all so important for busy lifestyles.
Have you tried floating? I’d love to hear your experiences.
Helpful Info & Links
Float North County is located at 991 Lomas Santa Fe Dr., Suite D, Solana Beach, CA.
To Make an appointment call 858-925-6069.
Float North County on Facebook
Float North County on Twitter
Courtney Hartmann is a freelance writer and social media junkie. Korea-born and Kansas-bred, this girl has a zest for life on the move. She’s called both coasts home, NYC for a brief period and San Diego since 2010, to explore new opportunities and fun adventures. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram at @mscourtneybeth.