Luckily on this day I had an incentive to face the day. After I ran the gauntlet that is getting two small children ready for school and kindy, I was off to Salt Pod; Wellington's first ever Salt Float Centre.
Are you a bath person? A water baby? A Jacuzzi junkie? If like me you love the languid feel of warm water against your skin, then you too will understand the appeal of floating like a starfish in a pod of warm water for 1 whole hour.
If you were not born part-fish like me, then there are still a myriad of reasons why you too should consider floatation therapy. Salt floating is said to potentially relieve stress, relax tense muscles, relieve pain from illness and injuries, abate migraines, assist in improved sleep quality, promote athletic performance and rejuvenate the mind via restful meditative state. Phew! It can also inspire clarity of the mind and aid in creative thinking. Who wouldn’t want to give floating a go?
I made my way down to Salt Pod, situated at Level 1, 287 Tinakori road. Nestled amongst café’s and galleries, above an antiques shop lies Salt Pod; A safe haven of calm amongst the city hubbub.
I climbed the stairs to the peaceful sanctuary and met the Manager Rebecca, who invited me to take a seat while she filled me in on the salt float experience. She explained that the pod was filled with approximately 800 litres of warm, body temperature water, in which 500 kgs of pure Epsom salt (magnesium sulphate) is dissolved, thus giving the water it’s silky texture and incredible density which allows people to float in the shallow pool of water.
Rebecca explained that despite all the images of people salt floating in their togs, it is actually best to float completely naked. That way you’ll find it even easier to let go of your physical self and melt away into a meditative state, allowing your body to completely relax. She also said that it was quite normal for your mind to wander to some deep meditative places.
On first sight, the pod looked like a very large egg sitting in elegantly in a dark room. But once it was opened it looked amazing. The water looked silky and inviting. I couldn’t wait to get in. But there was a gnawing feeling inside me. My heart was beating a little. Why?
It had to do with an MRI I had a few years ago for a shoulder injury. The first time I went, I lay down on the table as the nurse placed a sheet on me and then strapped my arm in place to get a clear picture. All was fine until she pressed a button and I was inserted into the belly of the beast. All of a sudden I broke into a sweat, my heart began to hammer in my chest. There was a noise too. A shrill wail. It took me a moment to realise is was coming from me. “Letmeout! Letmeout!” I screamed until my request of was acquiesced.
I went back again. On a lot of Valium. I don’t remember the MRI. But I do remember drinking a milkshake afterwards. In the end the results showed nothing helpful. Typical.
Anywho, when I first saw the lovely salt pod, sitting there inviting me in with it’s rainbow colours and deliciously cosy demeanour I felt a tiny pang of fear. What if this is a repeat of the MRI? I asked myself.
Well if you too have had similar fears, I can happily abate them for you. Salt floating is NOTHING like an MRI. It is not even slightly conducive to claustrophobia in my experience. As I climbed into the pod (after a quick shower) I could not wait to pull the hatch down and revel in the cocooning embrace of the pod. It felt almost womb like. Not at all restrictive or scary. But safe and nurturing.
As I lay back into the water I lifted off the bottom and. Just. Floated.
I stretched out like a starfish an enjoyed the relaxing music which would play for the first and last 10 minutes of my one hour float. The coloured lights moved slowly through the colours of the rainbow as I relaxed. My whole body let go and I was able to let go of the world outside. I was here. Now. And all I was doing was nothing. It was blissful. If you are a person who never stops, who can’t sit still, I recommend floating. Who knows what you will uncover in your mind or who beneficial it might be for you to just take a break from the world for one whole hour.
I became very aware of the tension in my neck. The rest of my body had relaxed completely, but I still held tension in my neck and shoulders (not surprising seeing as I am regularly slumped over my computer, writing). By simply adjusting my position and placing my arms above my shoulders I managed to alleviate the tension. But now I know why my massage therapist always spends so much time on those muscles. I really need to stretch more!
I was hoping to unlock amazing revelations in my mind; the meaning of life etc, but all I could hear in my head was: Maybe for my next manicure I’ll get a pastel, diagonal rainbow? Yeah that’d be cool. What should we have for dinner tonight? Not exactly enlightening stuff. But apparently over time, your mind becomes more attuned to relaxation, therefore it’s recommended you try a series of at least three floats to achieve deeper relaxation.
Once the music had played again and I had managed to force myself to get out of the cosy pod cocoon, I realised how calm I felt. My mind felt clean and clear. My body, which had felt pummelled and sore earlier, now felt incredibly supple and relaxed. I felt amazing. Like a veteran yogi.
After a luxurious shower with Sukin products, I was ready to go and face the world in a new calm and refreshed state. So who should give salt floating a go? Everyone! It’s truly blissful. Calming, nurturing, cleansing and restorative.
Check out Salt Pod for more information and to book.
All Photography (except my post-float selfie) by the amazing Connie McDonald.