Flotation, Epsom Salts… What’s it all about?

Being ‘Serious about Salt’, we are always keen to find out more about the uses for our products, and given that Peacock salt can supply Epsom salts for all sizes of bath, tank or pool, we thought we’d look into everything that is the wonderful Epsom Salts and Flotation for this blog – even to the point of taking the plunge itself! Please just ask us for pricing or further information and click here to visit our website.

In a nutshell, flotation is a rather palatable form of Sensory Deprivation. It involves an individual voluntarily stepping into some form of ‘pod’ which has been filled with warm Epsom Salt-saturated water (magnesium sulphate) for 60-90 minutes. The water is so full of salt that it keeps the body floating with no effort from the individual themselves, in fact it can be tricky to roll over even when if you want to. Typically, an 8ft wide, 1ft deep pool would have 1,332lbs of Epsom Salt in it. Our research tells us that the water is subjected to ‘shock treatment’ filtered before and after every user, but – wait for it – only changed twice a year! In fact, they couldn’t be more sanitised - the filtration and bromide keep the tank really clean and the salt effect also means that no bugs could possibly survive. Flotation can be used as part of a program to reduce stress or anxiety levels, PTSD disorder, panic attacks or similar, but others may just wish to have their own type of down-time, recover from the hurly burly of busy lives or have a type of power nap with all the refreshment that that can bring.

12pm, Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow… So, I arrived a little late, a little harassed and not a little out of my comfort zone. After a good rush and 3 flights of stairs, I was also a little dishevelled compared to the predictably immaculate beauty therapist on the other side of the desk… To her credit, she did not bat an eyelid at my ‘allovertheplaceishness’ and calmly ushered me into a small shower room, complete with relaxing candle, lotions and potions. At the back of the room I was shown a cupboard door that turned out (to my immense relief) to be a small room which had been flooded to mid-calf depth. I had been really dreading clambering into something that looks like a giant toilet bowl per those I had seen online.  However, in this instance, the gentle light showed lovely blue watery reflections racing around a generous space in a pretty inviting way. Once was left to my own devices, I opted to avoid over-thinking claustrophobia possibilities and plunged in, shutting the door behind me. I lay down and breathed and relaxed and breathed and relaxed, submitting myself to the indulgent warmth…

The light soon went out, as I had been warned, so there were no visual distractions. The only sounds I was aware of was the gentle lapping of the surface tension along the length of me and the seemingly loud internal sounds of blood chuntering around my body and my breathing. My head was never going to bob underwater, but nonetheless I found it difficult to override the instinct to hold it up so I used the pillow provided, shut my eyes and waited. As I lay there, I consciously noted what I could feel and sense – the occasional air bubble caught behind my back making a great escape up the nape of my neck made impressions out of all proportion - I felt them intensely and experienced every tiny millimetre of movement. I lost track of which way around I was and was surprised when a foot nudged the wall, thinking it would have been closer on the other side. I was aware of enjoyment and peace, but also a keenness to ‘get to the next level’ so to speak.

And then I did. I had some kind an epiphanous thought, like you do when you are on the cusp of snoozing - a true revelation that I will never remember. I then had the tiniest of dozes (or maybe it was bigger?); then woke with a jolt, excitedly thinking ‘was that the thing? Did I feel it?’. I had not only lost my spatial orientation, but because of my never-to-be-remembered epiphany, I had lost my sense of time and had no idea how much longer I had. I suspected it wasn’t long, so I tried to let my mind wander again, but had become distracted, and slightly restless. Anticipating a break meant I couldn’t quite let myself go anymore. I also felt ever so slightly cold – like you do when the bathwater has cooled, but you have no more hot to put in or when you try and snuggle down under the surface, but it doesn’t doesn’t quite cover. It took a wee while, but sure enough, the lovely beautified lady discretely knocked, and my time was up.

I left feeling refreshed, relaxed and delighted that I hadn’t experienced any of the ghastly phobias which I thought I might.  On the other hand, I also felt slightly cheated because I’d been unable to return to my tantalising brief point of deeper relaxation; however, apparently you need to try a few times before you surrender to the experience entirely. All in all, I would gladly go again, and for longer…

Medically, in assisting stress and anxiety related illnesses, flotation represents a breakthrough for non-drug treatment and a huge hope for many people. It is also hailed has having certain physical benefits: it can relieve stress on joints and muscles, enabling faster recovery from muscle and joint strain; encourage easier and deeper sleep; cause the release of endorphins, which relieve pain and may lower blood pressure.

In Sweden these positive effects are recognised and costs for flotation treatments can be covered by the health service; in the UK, it is still seen as more of a spa phenomenon than a medical one, but it is growing in popularity.

An undisputed result of flotation is the incredibly silky smooth skin it leaves you with – there is no doubt about it, the Epsom Salts are exceptionally beneficial! The effect Epsom Salts have on your skin mirrors that of the famous Dead Sea, where people have travelled many miles to find respite from skin troubles and relax and float in the natural salty water.

If flotation or the Dead Sea is all too complicated and hard to get to, you can enjoy the benefits of these Salts in the bath by dissolving a handful under the running tap water. In fact, it is incorporated into many bath salt formulations that you can buy.