For my birthday, my thoughtful friend took me to Chumayo Spa in Blue Lake, CA. I have no relation to them, I don’t specifically endorse them, and don’t benefit if you choose to patronize them.

I’m not really a huge “self-care” kind of person. I don’t regularly get massages or participate in other spa-type indulgences.

Our package included a sauna, followed by an hour-long massage, and finally an hour of “floatation”.

While I know I like massage, I was skeptical and a little anxious over this floating thing.

The sauna was OK. With my health condition comes a little bit of a heat sensitivity. I stayed in for about 15 minutes, until I was drenched in sweat and a little dizzy. I stepped about, drank some supplied cold lemon water and took a relaxing shower.

Next was the massage. I asked my masseuse to be a little on the firm side, and she was. The massage was a little jarring at first, but I eventually relaxed into it. At the end of the hour, I was pudding.

Finally, we were escorted to and trained on how to use the floatation pool. It was in a small, intentionally dark chamber, with some soothing music playing which we were told we could turn off if we so choose. There were a couple neck supports and floatation noodles to choose from.

The pool itself was about 8 ft by 8ft, maybe 10 inches deep. In it was dissolved about 1500 lbs of epsom salts making the water extremely dense and easy to float in. The temperature of the water was set near body temperature. The experience was intended to be similar to a sensory depravation tank.

I can honestly say, I highly recommend this experience. I’m not about to hop on the “healing powers of epsom salts” bandwagon, but the floatation experience was sublime.

After already being in a state of relaxation from the massage, settling into the floatation pool was amazing. The water temperature was perfect, and the air, nearly so.

The experience was that of utter weightlessness and relaxation. It was like laying down in a perfect bed, where you couldn’t feel any of the pressure of the mattress.

I wondered to myself if this was what weightlessness felt like. As I lay motionless, i felt completely supported and it took zero effort to just be. Unemcumbered with physical sensation, my mind freely wandered to some happy and creative places. It felt really good living in a happy reverie , momentarily freed from the chronic pain that lives in my body.

Of course, this isn’t a cure-all. It’s not going to fix what ails you in the long term. I will say that, for a few hours or so, I felt nearly pain and anxiety free. It was a short and welcome vacation from my chronic illnesses

I would certainly do it again, and recommend it to anyone who might be on the edge and need a break from it all.