I have used many different therapies over the years, but I have never experienced an infrared sauna, halotherapy (the salt room) nor a float pod. So, I was really curious to try them all and I have to say a little nervous of using the float pod as, just recently, I have experienced claustrophobia in certain circumstances. Therefore, I was really curious and interested to see how I would feel and react during and after this challenge and other new therapies. So off I went, with a quiet excitement and curiosity, to Re:Set, in Lancaster.
Firstly, I was pleased to find parking very nearby, which helped begin the day with calm! When I arrived at Re:Set, I was greeted by Neil, who was really informative and I sat in the very chilled out reception area with some mineral water provided, awaiting my therapies. This particular day, I was to experience the infrared sauna, followed by the salt room and finally, my big challenge and biggest curiosity: the float tank.
The infrared sauna was really interesting. I have heard of the many benefits of these saunas, so it was great to experience one. Neil informed me that, unlike traditional saunas you do not feel excessive heat, so can stay in for longer. Also, he mentioned that it is beneficial for joints, arthritis and many other ailments. Once left alone, I decided to not use any music, iPhone or anything and just ‘be.’ For 40 minutes.
As a mum of three children, school teacher and even as a trainee yoga teacher, 40 minutes completely alone with no tasks, nothing to do, is completely alien to me. Even practising yoga, 40 minutes of complete stillness in meditation, alone, isn’t something I often get. So, it was interesting.
I found myself a little twitchy and decided to do a few neck stretches as I was a bit tight around my neck and shoulders and then do some Reiki on myself, then some breathing / pranayama and then finally, I could just really be still and lay down. I have to say, I found it hard to switch off and didn’t realise how busy and anxious my mind had become during 2020, for obvious reasons, and it took me a while to disconnect, but I did. For this, it was a really rejuvenating experience.
The warmth was comfortable and a pleasure, it never felt at all too hot throughout. I was able to shower straight after in the lovely luxurious shower and slipped on the white robe and slippers provided, ready for part 2: halotherapy, the salt room. I did feel quite uplifted already.
Neil was in reception and took me up to the salt room, explaining the benefits as we walked: for anyone with breathing difficulties, asthma etc the salt room can help clear and improve breathing passages. The room had a gorgeous glow with salt-lamp like tiles around the room, glowing the colours of the cakras and I felt instantly at home in there.
There was a lovely luxurious feel to the room, with reclining cream chairs and an option to use my own music. The next 40 minutes were a dream: peace, colour therapy, tranquillity, fresh and clean air, reiki music and me! I felt I could breathe for longer, more slowly and calmly and I just switched off and again, disconnected from the busy-ness of my mind. What a luxury! I felt well and truly spoilt at his point.
Finally, I was taken to the float pod. I felt an instant link to a birthing pool where I had birthed my second child (and my work as a doula/birthing assistant) and, as Neil took me through instructions, I felt a mixture of excitement and nerves, just like during birth: I guess there’s a fine line. Neil showed me the switch in the pod that could change the lights (again a gentle glow of cakra lights) or you could switch the lights off. He showed me the options of lid open or closed or even half/nearly closed.
Once left alone, I entered the pool and, as this was a new and unknown experience, I felt some apprehension. I felt the lid would remain well and truly open at this point. The music piped through and I liked that, it was quite enchanting music, and it relaxed me. I found I could float easily, but held on to the bar on the lid at first a bit like an umbilical cord, my safety cord!
Soon I gained confidence and let go of the bar and just floated. It was nice just to play in the water a bit, I found I could bounce gently from side to side, I could touch the floor if I wanted and let my leg then float back up… I guess I was finding my surroundings, finding my boundaries.
My head and neck were quite stiff at first, held in a prop that supported them, but eventually, I just said to myself, just let go, and allowed my ears to go under and let the water take the weight of my head: I was beginning to let go and it felt good. My mind was particularly busy once the music went off: checking everything for safety, a bit on high alert, but I let go eventually, and actually experienced many points of peace and tranquillity and felt really at ease. One reflection that kept coming and going was that none of the ‘stuff’ that was congesting my mind, really mattered.
It became clear to me that I could transcend that and just ‘be’ in the moment… it was quite an amazing experience. I realised I had many anxieties, and many just weren’t important, and being in that pool taught me that I could transcend my anxieties too. At one point I decided I should pull the lid down a little, leaving a gap, so I did and it was fine.
I felt I was overcoming some mind blocks. I also decided to turn out the cakra glowing lights as I got a little more confident and, when I did, I was plunged into complete darkness. I was ok with this at first, in fact it was quite empowering, but I must have floated off and lost the light switch, so had a moment of panic, which also made me laugh, but with a little navigation and floating around and bouncing gently off the sides, I easily found the switch, and felt quite empowered at facing these little challenges. I felt more confident in the pool enjoying again just floating and experiencing those moments of lucid tranquillity and peace.
It really was a journey of true self-exploration…..with moments of total serenity……
……. and when finally the music came back on, I felt like I was experiencing a kind of rebirth, like a baby moving towards the light, moving into the outside world. I know that sounds deep, even a little flowery to some, but seriously, it was a WOW! experience.
I honestly felt RESET: like I had pressed the reset button on my world, and totally reconnected with myself and re-evaluated how I was reacting to outside influences right now, particularly my concerns about lockdown, the government and all the external world forces. I just felt like I could rise above it.
That has been my mantra since my experience: RESET and RISE ABOVE IT! I even took a Yoga session for staff at the school where I work and the theme was “RESET and rise above it,” due to the transformative experience I had during my sessions here at Re:Set. I think if you did use this regularly, it must improve your concentration, improve mind health and clarity and overall wellbeing. For me, it was also a bit of a WOW experience that stayed with me.
After your experience and shower, you can go back downstairs to get hair dried and there’s even straighteners, so you can get freshened up and ready for your day – I felt a mixture of zen and totally exhilarated, I have to say!!
So, on a final note, I just want to say, if you get the opportunity to go to RE:Set, do it! Everyone should experience these therapies and go on their own personal journey and hopefully get to press their own RESET button too!
By Katy Redford-Traynor