This year for Mothers Day instead of opting for the yearly new pair of pajamas, slippers or cook book I decided to buy a voucher for my mum and I to experience our first Epsom salt floats together. Although it took us a couple weeks to find the most suitable day for both of us we finally managed to get there and try it out. 

We had an hour session booked at The Float Room in Marion, Adelaide. Float tanks are large capsule shaped tanks filled with water containing high levels of Epsom salt. Although float tanks (also known as isolation tanks, sensory deprivation tanks & REST chambers) have been around for decades since the 1950s, this unique concept is still quite new to many of us, including myself. 

The benefits of float tanks:

—– By freeing the mind from all distractions it can get back to focusing on repairing & rejuvenating your mind & body —–

Everyday we are surrounded by loud noises, distractions and stressors and the float eliminates all the external factors contributing to these. By lying quietly in complete darkness you achieve deep sensory and physical relaxation. The relaxed state of the body assists with healing a variety of conditions including stress, anxiety, pain, swelling and insomnia. The benefits of floating include:

  • Relaxation and meditation 
  • Improved overall mental & physical well-being
  • Reduced stress
  • Relief from back pain & many other ailments
  • Recovery from fatigue
  • Speeding recovery from injury 
  • Effective visualisation or accelerated learning
  • Relieves pain and muscle cramps
  • Relieve inflammation
  • And even encourages creative thinking

The tanks are a large 1.5m x 2m tank filled with about 30cm deep water. The solution is so dense in Epsom salt (I was told its about $400 worth of Epsom salt in each tank) that its so easy to float effortlessly.

Health benefits of epsom salt:

Using the powerful mineral, Epsom salt, the float tank creates a process called reverse osmosis. This process eliminates salts and harmful toxins from the body allowing the high concentration of Epsom salt to be absorbed through skin and into the body’s bloodstream. This allows magnesium to enter into the body, which are essential minerals that has been shown to be deficient in the average populations diet.

The health benefits of magnesium include:

  • Body temperature regulation
  • Involved with detoxification of the body
  • Energy production
  • Create healthier bones and teeth.
  • Helps relax muscles 
  • Helps to improve nerve function
  • Improves blood flow and oxygenation throughout the body
  • Relieve menopause symptoms and provide PMS relief
  • Help regulate high blood pressure
  • Helps prevent cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis

The Float Room – Our experience!

Before the float:

Upon our arrival we were given an explanation of how everything operates and what we needed to know to enjoy the experience and be comfortable. As this was our first time, we were provided with a thorough explanation of what we were required to do, the tank and its facilities and what to do before and after. The staff were extremely friendly and it was a nice and relaxing atmosphere inside. What I loved was that we each had our own ensuite which we could lock for complete privacy. The ensuite had a float tank, toilet, shower, sink and towel racks. It had dim lighting and low background music which helped with the relaxation. Although we brought our own towels, we were provided with towels and a gown to use after the float. There were ear plugs placed beside the floats as it was recommended to use them to block the salty water from entering our ears. Beside the ear plugs was a neck pillow which proved to be extremely handy. 

During the float:

After the explanation the staff member left us in our ensuite to get undressed and enter the float. The tank was very spacious and large enough for one person to lay inside comfortably.There is an easy-to-open sliding door on the roof that you are able to open and close at any time. The water is about 30cm deep and the high level of epsom salt contained in the water means that you will stay afloat in the water effortlessly. The water was so silky you can immediately feel how soft and smooth it makes your skin feel. 

The lights were dimmed and there was relaxing background music. The background music was soothing and calming during the first 10 minutes and it slowly faded away to silence for the remainder of the session. The water was nice and warm as it is maintained at a constant average relaxed skin temperature of approximately 34.5- 34.7C. The lights were on a sensor and turned off once you’re in the tank leaving you in complete darkness to relax and calm your mind.

After the float:

The music gently came back on at the end of the session to signal that the hour session is over. I got out of the tank and had a shower to wash off all the salt from my body and hair. I found this time very rushed as we only had 10 minutes to get out of the tank, shower, get dressed and dry off our hair.

I know this was a very long blog post and thanks for getting this far. Although Epsom salt is amazing and soaking your entire body in it has great health benefits, float tanks do have some disadvantages too:

While I was getting dressed, the water started draining to go through the filter system to be ready for the next user. Due to the amount of Epsom salt it contains in each tank, it wouldn’t be economical for the business to replace the water after each use. The water is only replaced every 10-12 weeks . Therefore just like public pools the tank contains bromine (an alternative to chlorine) to help “kill” germs and bacteria for health and safety reasons and to comply with the relevant regulations governing ‘pools’.  The concern of bromine depends on the amount and length of exposure, therefore every now and then wouldn’t be too harmful. 

Almost everything has it’s advantages and disadvantages so it’s important to weigh the health concerns to its benefits. Although it was a great experience, truly relaxing, peaceful and I really did enjoy it, I probably won’t be returning for another float. Instead I will continue soaking my feet and ankles with Epsom salt for 30-40 minutes couple times a week at home. I get my Epsom salt from Goodies and Grain from the Central Markets in Adelaide, but you can also find it at Nourished Life

Have you ever experienced an Epsom salt float tank?