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Monday, June 17, 2019

Drifting Away


Float Center can ease worries and pain away

Have you ever wished to be wholly unreachable and completely relaxed? Sounds priceless, but it’s only $55 for a pampered hour of precisely that. Driftaway Float Center in Bossier City offers a solid hour of floating – a chance to escape anxiety, pain and stress by floating weightlessly in a private pod.

The pods are filled with 10 inches of water, heated to an average body temperature of 93.5 degrees and filled with 900 pounds of Epsom salt, which allows the body to float effortlessly. The temperature of the water is intentionally designed so that once relaxed, it’s hard to tell where your body stops and where the water begins. Gravity seemingly ceases to exist.

When I saw the pod, I had to admit, my first thought was, “Isn’t that how Eleven transports into the Upside Down?” (“Stranger Things” reference). My second thought was, “I’m going to be so claustrophobic.” Good news – neither event occurred. What did happen was a blissful hour of stress-free relaxation.

I arrived on the scene, and the owner had me sign a release and escorted me to a private room. He patiently went through the instructions he probably gives on average three times an hour, yet he made me feel like I was the only customer there.

Once he left, I eyeballed the pod – still unsure about the claustrophobic element – and locked the door. I then proceeded to change into my swimsuit (optional) and take a quick shower in the stall across from the pod (body wash, shampoo and towels are all provided, along with a robe).

I put in the disposable earplugs that were provided and stepped into the pod. Fearing the claustrophobic element, I chose to leave the lid open. A flotation ring for your head is provided if desired, so I used that initially and got settled. I floated, with zero effort on my part, and figured it was going to be a neat but potentially long hour.

I turned the music and pod lights on via a button on the side of the pod, then chose to leave the music off and enjoy the silence. After a few moments, the dim, motion-detected light over the shower went off, pitching the room into darkness. I turned off the pod lights, and the room was plunged into solid black – a dark so dark that you couldn’t tell if your eyes were open or shut.

It was at this time I decided to experiment letting my head float without the aid of the ring and preferred floating without it. I tossed it over the side of the pod with no regrets.

Now for the hard part – turning off your brain. Your senses are deprived, so your body is fully relaxed, but it’s challenging to convince your mind to relax in the same way. I kept finding myself thinking of my to-do list. Finally, I chose to meditate on a favorite verse (Romans 11:36) and repeated it silently. After some time, I drifted into that state between sleep and awake – the state that releases endorphins, aids the immune system and provides the natural stress relief I so desperately needed.

At one point, in a moment of personal victory, I reached up and shut the pod lid. I was immediately able to settle back into my state of relaxation, half awake, half asleep, with zero issues of claustrophobia. You’re honestly just too relaxed to care.

I was genuinely disappointed and surprised when the lights in the pod came on some time later, and a gentle recording prompted me to exit. The hour went much faster than I’d anticipated. I vacated the pod, took another quick shower to rid my hair and body of salt residue, and got dressed.

Once I left my room, the owner brought me water and showed me to the oxygen bar, where I proceeded to sit in a hanging hammock, with a disposable oxygen tube in my nose, and inhaled ocean-mist-scented oxygen while I continued to relax and reluctantly transition back into the real world. I will most definitely be going back.

Richard Watson, the owner of Driftaway Float Center, has worked in physical therapy for over 20 years. After trying float therapy in Dallas, he knew this was the direction he wanted to go with his career. “My favorite part of floating is seeing people’s reaction when they get out of their float,” Watson said. “Some are so relaxed it’s hard for them to speak, but the best ones are those who have been hurting for a long time and were able to get total pain relief with just one float.”

“We’ve seen great results in people who suffer from fibromyalgia, arthritis, MS, neck and back pain, stress, anxiety, PTSD and depression,” Watson said. He hopes to open a Shreveport location soon.


• Don’t shave the day of your float,as the salt water will irritate your freshly-shaved skin.

• If you do have a recent skin irritation, petroleum jelly is provided so you may cover the area before entering the pod.

• Float with your arms up by your head, to relieve pressure from your neck and shoulders.

• Women currently on their monthly cycle shouldn’t float.

• Floating is safe for pregnant women and provides excellent relief.

• If you’ve recently dyed your hair, wait two weeks post-appointment before floating.


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