Weightless and Heavenly

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Pregnancy Float tank
Pregnancy Float tank

In my quest to help families throughout their pregnancy and postpartum period, I stumbled across flotation therapy. I have to admit, I had never heard of this before so I was a tad skeptical but after talking to Kalyn Wolf, the owner of Cloud Nine, I wanted to learn more.  I was eager to try it myself and now that I have thoroughly enjoyed it, I want to share it with the world.  What makes the flotation tank so amazing you ask???  Just sit back and enjoy this blog because I know you will want to try it for yourself once you are done reading.  First, it is automatic QUIET alone time (if you are a parent, this is an added bonus). You are in an environment free from gravity, stress, tension and pain.  YES, it is safe to float during pregnancy and postpartum.

An excerpt from her website: Flotation Therapy allows you to escape the added weight of pregnancy by floating in a weightless environment, taking the strain off the body and spine. It promotes excellent sleep, a lovely sense of well-being, and can help with all the aches and pains normally associated with pregnancy. The flotation tank can help the pregnant mom-to-be literally float through the pregnancy with a level of calm and comfort, the Epsom salt solution will decrease inflammation and the pregnant mom will absorb lots of magnesium from the solution in the float tank.

Brief blurb about my own time in the tank:  Morning of my float, I had a light breakfast, went and did a crazy hard work out (wanted to see how my muscles would feel after my float) and drank a lot of water.  I arrived at her house, we went over some paperwork and she walked me back to the bathroom, where I put in my silicone ear plugs (she provides them), rinsed the sweat and lotion from my body and wrapped a towel around my body as I headed to the tank.  There is a baby monitor in the room so if you need anything, you can easily communicate with her.  I opened the tank door and slipped into the warmth and buoyancy of the water.  Having no idea what to expect, I was quickly swept away by the 800 lbs of Epsom salts and it was fantastic feeling. The water is not deep and it is kept at skin temperature, 93.5 degrees, so you kind of lose track of your body.  Immediately I relaxed and listened to Pachelbel play softly while the lights became dimmer. Once the music stopped there was complete darkness in the tank. I didn’t think I would really be able to turn my mind off or fall asleep but I looked forward to being enveloped in darkness and quiet for 60 blissful minutes. I played around moving my body and stretching.  Then went to work on quieting my mind, slowing my breathing down and relaxing every inch of my body. I wondered if this is what babies feel like inside their mommy’s tummy.  It was warm and I could hear my own heart beating as well as the breath going in and out of my lungs.  I felt safe and secure. I stopped thinking about the remainder of my day and all that I had left to get done and let my mind float to wherever it wanted to.  My thoughts turned random, I was at a fashion show, then playing with white tigers, then the beach and then it happened. I fell sound asleep.  Since I had no concept of time, I have no idea how long I actually slept but I felt amazing as I softly heard the music telling me my time was coming to an end.  I did some stretches in the tank to test my flexibility and was astounded at how my body felt.  I slowly sat up and opened the door, took my time climbing out and smiled as I walked to the shower.

I am eager to help my readers better understand how AMAZING floating is and how it can benefit you. I asked Kalyn some specific questions relating to floating while pregnant. Her website is a wealth of information for all things that ail you.  Check it out at http://floattucson.com/

Colleen: What is a Flotation Tank and Flotation Tank Therapy?

Kalyn: Flotation Tank Therapy is the act of lying in a tank with 10” of water containing over 800 pounds of dissolved Epsom salts. This creates an environment that allows you to float effortlessly. Combining this weightless effect with no sight or sound; your body & mind are guided to fall into a deep relaxation and recovery. The tank’s unique environment is maintained at a constant skin temperature. Eventually your body seems to gradually disappear. Each session is 60 minutes in length but most recall the experience as feeling much shorter. Those who float regularly benefit in multiple areas of health, well-being and mindfulness.

Colleen: Is it safe for Pregnancy?

Kalyn: Not only is it safe for pregnancy, it’s super wonderful for both mommy-to-be and baby(ies). (I had twins). An often recommended supplement in pregnancy, magnesium is key to a comfortable, healthy pregnancy. Soaking in Epsom salt is a wonderful way to help lower blood pressure, relax muscles and lower stress. It takes the weight off the pregnant mommies back and joints, allowing her to relax in a gravity free environment. It’s also the only environment she can be in on her back after about the 14th week. Circulation flows faster while in the tank, and there is no chance of restricted blood flow to your baby. It’s a chance for mommy to “unplug” from the world, and simply “be” for an hour or longer. The salt solution in the tank is very similar to the amniotic fluid your baby(ies) are floating in. Many moms report a spiritual connection with their baby(ies) because they are both floating in the same way. Mom’s also report that baby is often nice and quiet while mom is floating, allowing her a rest. Remember, it’s quieter in the womb, while you are in the tank. The poetry of floating while pregnant is ever lasting; you float in a tank, while baby floats in the ultimate flotation tank, you!

Colleen: Is it effective for infertility?

Kalyn: Any fertility specialist will tell you that in order for a fertility program to be successful, mom has to relax. Well that’s a lot easier said than done, especially with hormones raging through you, and your anxiety to want to conceive. Using a tool like a Flotation Tank takes all the outside stimulus away, and leaves you with your thoughts and feelings. Regular floating helps to train your mind to relax. At Cloud Nine Flotation & Relaxation we also help train you with other tools we have which work hand-in-hand with Flotation like bio-feedback, meditation, sound wave therapy, Reiki and massage.

Colleen: Can I float on my stomach?

Kalyn: YES! We have noodles that you can rest your arms and head on while being on your stomach. Because the solution of Epsom Salts and water are so dense, your stomach doesn’t touch the bottom of the tank!

Colleen: How late in my pregnancy can I float?

Kalyn: As long as you have clearance from your midwife or doctor to take a bath or swim, you can float. If you have started to dilate, floating will have to wait until you are healed from postpartum. Floating postpartum is also wonderful. 1 hour of floating in a tank is equivalent to 4 hours of sleep in your bed. Both new moms and dads who are sleep deprived (and who isn’t) really benefit from floating.

Colleen: Are there any contraindications for floating while pregnant?

Kalyn: I asked that question of Kirsten Gerrish CDM of the Heritage Birth Center in Palmer, Alaska. She is unique in both the midwifery and float community because she has a Float Center next door to the birthing center, and includes regular floating as part of the Heritage practice. Here is what she said, “Nope. Nothing that isn’t a contraindication to the general population.  It is a wonderful addition to pregnancy!”

Just in case you need a little more push to go try it yourself, here are two recent client testimonials:

I am 30 weeks pregnant and went to Cloud Nine for my first time floating, and what an experience. I was a little nervous at first because I didn’t comprehend just what a profound effect this type of floating can have on your body. I’m also slightly claustrophobic, so I was a little hesitant about being in a tank. Pregnancy is tough on the body and I have definitely reached that uncomfortable phase. Being able to lay on my back and float for an hour was AMAZING! It took so much pressure off the sore areas of my body and gave me a chance to stretch in ways that are not possible out of the tank. I was not nervous being in the tank whatsoever! I did not feel closed in, and with the instructions given prior to me getting into the tank, I was aware of certain ways to float to maintain my comfort level if it became an issue at all. I followed up my float with a prenatal massage which was terrific as well! One of the other great things about Cloud Nine is Kalyn, the owner, she is one of the sweetest people I have met. Her whole demeanor is relaxing and comforting. 

If you have someone in your life who is pregnant, giving them a float and massage at Cloud Nine is quite possibly the best gift you could give them! –Tonya Neuman 

I am 35 weeks pregnant, and have been very uncomfortable. I had never floated before and Kalyn was so kind and gave me so much information before my appointment. The whole experience was very nice, from her shop, to the bathroom, where you clean up before and after, to the tank and room it is in. Kalyn is very professional and really knows her stuff, something I will be recommending and doing again. My hands and feet were almost normal size when done, and I can’t even tell you how nice it was to be able to lay/float weightless on my back, and just have some relief from the extra weight, aches and pains that come with pregnancy. Thank you for a wonderful experience!-Rebecka Schauer 

As with everything during your pregnancy check with your health care provider first and then come in for some quiet time in the tank to relax and bond with your growing baby in a gravity free environment.

You don’t have to be pregnant to enjoy floating. You have nothing to lose but so much to gain.  If you want to improve your sleep, relieve stress, recover from injuries, minimize recovery time, reduce chronic pain, increase circulation and your mood, check out Cloud Nine Flotation here in Tucson or google flotation tanks in the town where you live. Check out Kalyn’s website at http://floattucson.com/ and call and schedule your time to float.  You will not regret it! She has an incredibly thorough FAQ’s page that will answer any of your questions and great links to do your own specific research about the numerous benefits. (http://floattucson.com/links/)