Floating away my woes at Cloud 9 Boston Float Therapy

I was gifted a float experience courtesy of Cloud 9 in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

I’ve been at a couple of spas lately (usually massage cause my back/shoulders are being killed to death by desk job) and I always walk by a room with a big egg shape bathtub. Always curious, but too scared to try. This egg pod is part of a new trend in spa therapy called Float Therapy.

What is Float Therapy? The benefits are said to be wellness, relaxation, pain relief and better sleep. But at the core of it, it is 1,000 pounds of salt in a tank of 180-200 gallons of water that creates a 30% salt solution, enabling you to float effortlessly atop the water. Kinda like the Dead Sea only you don’t have to go all the way to Israel to try.

So when I had a chance to try out Cloud 9 Float & Wellness in Boston, I decided to conquer my fear of getting trapped in that thing and maybe even see if its as magical as everyone been telling me. So one day after wanting to rip my hair out at work, I ventured on the orange line from Back Bay Boston for a 20 minute ride to Forest Hills.

About a 5 minute walk from the train stop, I found the family owned business on South Street in Jamaica Plain. Both owners were working with clients as I looked around the space to sign in.

Alex greeted me and had me exchange my kicks for some cushy waterproof slippers. Since it was my first time and I clearly looked out of my element, he had me watch a 5 minute animated info guide. I am not a very good listener but I tried to learn the benefits I should be experiencing as I try to relax, count to 300 and if can be avoided, don’t splash myself in the eyes.

As I was getting ready to go for my float, Alex’s mother who is the co-owner said they had a cancelation for the infrared sauna and asked me if I wanted to try it out for 30 minutes. Never one to refuse a deal or a sauna, I agreed.

The infrared sauna uses light to create heat. It is dryer and lower temperature than a typical sauna and causes reactions similar to those elicited by moderate exercise, such as vigorous sweating and increased heart rate.  There was also different lights for light therapy, but I was just content listening to some music while I sweated out the toxins of my day, week, year. I’m a big Sauna fan and loved how much easier it was to stay in an infrared compared to a traditional sauna.

There is also a shower in the room to rinse of and refreshen when done. I loved that each service had it’s owner shower so you never had to go to a locker room.

After the sauna, I was walked into a private room with a shower, float tank, and all the essentials (toiletries, ear plugs, etc) . I got my final ask if I have anymore questions and then was left to be.

You start of with taking a shower to remove some of your body oils. I was super nervous about my hair bleeding or my color being eroded by the salt so I researched a bit before I went. It was recommended to fully soak my hair in the shower and a silicon swim cap should help.

The next step was to put in the ear plugs they provide and than you enter the tank.

I actually started with all the lights still on. In the pod there is a switch to close the pod and turn on/off the light. Since the room is private, you are actually encouraged to be nakie but I felt more comfortable in my bathing suit so in the tune, you do you.

Upon first entry, the water felt warm like a bath as I anxiously went belly up. There was a headrest float available if I needed, but once I got into the belly up formation, my head seemed to just know where to float on its own.

My first thought was wooowwww this feels amazing on my back and I started to stretch a bit (but carefully cause the fear of splashing water into my eyes was real, although they do provide a water bottle should that happen to help clean out the salt).

As I eased into comfort, my body was adjusting to the water that was body temp as well and I was now ready to go the next step, turning off the blue light of the pod.


And my anxiety came on again as I played around with what position I wanted me body in – from the mummy, to whatever else they showed in the info video. In the end, I found that what I started with, Shavasana like belly up float was the most comfortable for my body.

My mind on the other hand was racing… about work, about my to do list, about a training plan for a BQ, what to eat for the next week, worrying that this float was cutting into time I could be running/training,  everything and anything . I tried counting to 300 but every 20 numbers or so I went back into mind racing thoughts that could only be causing more anxiety then relaxation. It sort of became a tug of war, I told my mind to relax, it would do the opposite, I’d tried to count and repeat.

I have to confess.. at one point, I pulled up and checked my watch thinking I must be almost done. I was only 21 minutes into my soak! You can leave at any time, but if there’s one thing I try to avoid, it’s a DNF. So never a quitter, I returned to my belly up stretching which was the only trick that worked to relax me and started counting to 300 all over again, each time i wavered, I didn’t let my thoughts finish, but went back to the number I thought I left off at and continued to count off into nothingness.

At one point, the idea of closing the pod came, but I was too nervous that without my glasses, I wouldn’t find the switch to open it again and I was finding some Zen and didn’t want to ruin in by fiddling with all the buttons.

I honestly don’t know where my mind went but I zoned out somewhere for 30 minutes because before I knew it, a low light that indicated my 60 minutes were up came on.  Maybe I napped? Float therapy black out? Is that a thing?

I slowly eased my way out and into the shower. I was feeling pretty relaxed and lazy and wanted a bed a lot more than a shower, but a shower was definitely needed for all the salt I probably had on me.

There’s a lot of benefits to float therapy that are listed on the Cloud 9 Website  and as with most therapy, you do need to go regularly to really feel the physical and mental benefits. I was also told that floating regularly also helps reach the meditative state more easily than what I experienced which is why they also offer 90 minute floats for the more experienced. I never even meditated for 10 minutes before this so IMO, that was a grade A floating performance for Liana.

Aside from some trailing salt in my ears that I found the next AM, I left with the following benefits right away:

  • My back felt awesome
  • My PF foot felt better than ever (maybe that’s cause I skipped a run to float heh)
  • My mind felt weightless for the evening
  • I slept a lot better than I have in a while that night

I am not sure if my brain ever reached the step where it is suppose to increase creativity. They say 40 minutes into a float the brain stops producing its normal Alpha and Beta waves and starts going deeper into a Theta or Delta state. I am not sure I got there on my first float, but I plan on trying a few more to find out.

If you’re in the Boston area, check them out at 162 South Street, Jamiaca Plain 02130 Cloud 9  Float & Wellness street parking and train access available,

50 Miler Peak!

The plan – Run 20 Miles on the trails Saturday, Run Cox marathon on Sunday

If I succeed, I am ready for TARC 50 miler and I’ll keep my spot.  If I want to die, I’ll switch to volunteering/eating instead.

Progress thus far

Best way to run a 20 miler? Almost break yourself around mile 10.  I started to cry and turn to go home, then I realized that there is no way I am getting through 50 miles, if I give up and cry over one fall with 10 miles.  Womaned myself up and got going!  Saw a lot of really fast runners on the trail.  I decided I will happily accept being the slowest as long as I can finish.

Step 2 – Providence Marathon – Goal is for a sub 4 but a finish will be good enough!

Breaking the 20 Miler in the Summer Heat Barrier

Since Thursday while working late I’ve been commenting how I will run 20 miles this weekend.  I will do it.  I will get it done and as a reward I will register for the RnR New Orleans Marathon.  Why that reward?  Because I couldn’t keep signing up for marathons (Montreal, Newport, Philly) without running any more 20 milers since Boston, since April.

So of course in typical fashion when I woke up at 8AM and looked at my phone for time, I decided now is a perfect time to rollover and go back to sleep.  Not like it’s summer and it isn’t going to get stupid hot and sunny in a few hours.

Finally I rolled out of bed and of course my first thought was “fsau! It’s hottt!  I thought Iphone Weather app said it will be 60s.”  Stupid Ap, stupid IPhone.  Hate you all.

By the time I started my it was around 10:30.

I started my run slow around 8:50 pace because I knew I had a lot of miles ahead of me and my legs felt rusty.  It was hot, I took half a liter bottle filled with Nuun and water.  I was planning on making a water bottle refill trip home around mile 10 but… well lets start again.

Mile 1-3: shake out miles, a little sleepy and a slow incline up to the woodsy road I run on.

Mile 4-8: I felt great, a little thirsty but I sipped from my bottle here and there.  Was starting to get into the run and was hitting sub 8:30s at a comfortable pace

Mile 9-12 I felt so great mile 4-8 that instead of taking the two miles back to loop by the house and refill my water, I decided to make a second loop around my woodys road.  STUPID STUPID STUPID.  I got thirsty and my water was running out.  I slowed my pace to slow down my thirst and still felt okay.

Mile 13-14 The side stitches of pain came on.  It’s okay, just walk it out, only a little over 2 miles from home on a down hill.

Made it home, refilled my water bottle, legs felt great so I thought I was good to go for the other 6 miles, maybe even at a sub 9 mile average pace even with my short detour?  I had hopes, I had dreams!

Mile 15: nope this is not good, can’t move as the pain in my side is killing me and now my tummy hurts, so I round out back to my house for another 10 minute break.

Mile 16: let’s try this again on a flatter path… okay not so bad… wait a minute I have a Y membership until the end of the month.  Why am I still suffering in the heat?  Make a turn and jog to the Y.

Mile 17-19:– Ahhh much better!  Getting tired, but the AC feels devine.  Did 2.5 miles in an 8:30 pace.  And left my last half mile for the job back home.

Mile 20: this sucks, does it count as 20 if I walk the last mile?  Come on run walk run walk, 13 minutes a mile pace?  Ouch! But it’s done.  I’m home… I’m done!!!

So now that I’m done with the second longest (time-wise) run of my life (first being Boston Marathon this year) I have some time to consult Dr. Google about what went wrong.

Anyways, DR. Google or How Stuff Works told me a few things I think I did wrong.

1. Weak Core – It’s true, I’ve been lazying, getting up at 7:11 instead of 7:00 AM when I did my 6 minutes of planking exercises.  I need to be better!  11 extra minutes of sleep are not worth the pain I felt on this run.

2. Shallow breathing – I was trying to conserve energy due to lack of water and probably didn’t breath as deep as I usually do in my panting manner.

“According to America’s Council of Exercise, a stitch is likely caused by the jarring and stretching of ligaments at the point where the diaphragm meets the stomach. Once a stitch develops, there is little you can do to stop it until you have had some time to rest”

Does this basically means that once it starts I’m screwed and should just give up then?

What I’m reading is no… I should have tried taking deeper breaths to ease the pressure on my diaphragm.     Either way, whatever I did, was wrong because it still hurts today!

Have you ever dealt with side cramps? What worked for you?

Musing of a lazy mind and weekend recap

Happy Seis De Mayo! I personally don’t think I ate nearly enoughB guacamoleB for theB occasion. B In fact I had none because I might have gobbled up my avocado before it could be mashed. B O well… At least I had nachos.

It’s been a rough running weekend. B I thought maybe I’ll redeem myself today or maybe I’ll change my blog’s name to Whine to Munch. B I had a happy 7 miler in sub 58 on Friday just to be followed by a rough 5 miler that made me miserable on Saturday.

Today’s run had some good and some bad. B I did make it for a total of 11.5 miles outside with a few solid sub 7:50 miles when I was on a running path. B I still feel a lot of discomfort in my left leg but I grinned and bared it long enough that I got used to it. B I am still excited for my half marathon in Gloucester this coming Saturday. B I hope this will be a huge 13.1 PR for me. B I know I’m at a much better shape than I was October 2011; I just hope my left leg realizes that and quits it whining.

Anyways enough about the running and whining. B I know I should just relax. B Let me legs fully rest and move on with my life for a few weeks past running. B Maybe June will be the time for that. B Good thing I had other awesome things to keep me happy for this weekend. B Awesome things = me with a sore icky throat.

It all started on Thursday when I accepted Tony’s offer to ride his scooter home at night before its faster than our lovely mass transit.

Red Baron & Rogue is our new name, don’t wear it out! B Also needless to say the little faux Express leather jacket I wear is there to be seen and not to keep me warm. B Burrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

On Friday night, Tony and I had a date. B It would have been an almost free date but I love my beer. If I could get paid to consume chocolate and beer with lots of running, I could live a very happy life. B Where can I get hired for that?

We used a Restaurant.comB couponB for Kingston Station. B I’ve always gotten drinks there but I haven’t tried their non-liquid foods so I was curious.

Some random grease face. B My zits are like dead celebrities, they always come in 3s!

Tony ordered their burger and I ordered a Tuna salad.

I forgot to order the dressing on the side but I was pleasantlyB surprisedB by the light oil dressing just the way i would have done it. B Tony’s burger was okay. B TheB truffleB fries which I heard were a hit there were disappointing. B Too much cheese not enoughB flavor.

Once our bellies were full, we made our way to the Orpheum Theatre downtown to see Human Nature. B I got a pair of free tickets from Yelp Elite group and figured why not check ’em out. B What’s Human Nature?

Well, its four Aussies covering Motown songs. B And they were really good! B Really good. B Good enough that I sang my little Russian Girl immigrant heart out to the Temptations, the Supremes and other Motown classic band covers. B It was amazing!

On Saturday I was going to wake up early to volunteer but all that singing wore me out and I did not make it out of bed until 10:30. B Luckily I still made it just in time for theB ChiliB Cook-off at Community Servings. In case you’re curious,B Community Servings is a not-for-profit food and nutrition program providing services throughout Massachusetts to individuals and families living with critical and chronic illnesses. EveryB SaturdayB volunteer session comes with some awesome new friends and lunch! B They’re awesome!

Now I know this plate will look gross…

B But, if you combine all fourB chiliesB they make an even betterB chili! B I was going to participate but I ended up singing Motown classics instead. B I make a pretty solid vegan chili but it takes me about 8 hours to make it and I didn’t feel too safe leaving my stove on while I slept. B Since IB forfeitB by not participating, the Great Chef won!

I guess his was pretty good since it did run out first and there were no leftovers. B The runner-ups were no fallen soldiers either as nothing went to waste. B I even got to take home some of the leftovers. B Mnnnn chili dinner.

There was a small street fair/party in the park next door and I almost had a heart attack when I walked into this lady:

Saturday night I celebrated Cinco de Mayo with Margaritas and some friends. B A lot of fun that killed the rest of my voice. B I really felt the pain on Sunday when I felt like myB throatB was cleaned with a razor blade. B I think I consumed at least 10 cups of tea today. B But finally myB throatB feels better!

Now that I almost never go out to loud bars or concerts anymore, I always feel like all the excitement and screaming kills me. B I’m turning boring!

Also a big heart felt congratulations to all who ran Cox Providence Rhode Island Full and Half marathon. B You’re all awesome!!! B I can’t wait to read all the recaps.

At 3AM last night (I know really past my bedtime) as I was getting ready for bed, a large part of me wished I was getting up in 3 hours to go run a 26.2 mile race. B True runnerd thoughts. B I even woke up at 6AM but I guess I wasn’t too sad when I rolled over and went back to sleep.

What did you do this weekend? B Did you have a race this weekend? B Did you get to go out and eat anywhere yummy?B

A new attempt at a solution without resting…

I’d like to say I’ve been behaving and resting my knee/leg but that would probably be a lie. B I behaved Sunday and did not run. B However that was mostly since I slept til noon and then spent the majority of the day doing this:

And no I did not beat Mario. B I’m stuck at the castle in World 5. B I did find the secret door that allows me to skip to world 8 but I’ve always been aB proceduralB person and am determined to make it through each world one by one. B Or be stuck on World 5 for months…

I did take an hour break to crash Brandeis University’s SpringFest to see Fun, all to realize that I however, am no longer young. B At least not college age young.

Monday I behaved well… I bypassed the treadmill andB ellipticaledB my way through 10.5 miles of sweat.

Tuesday… well I just couldn’t say no to my love and stumped out 7 miles in 57:30. B Great speed; however, I paid the price when I stopped and my shin/knee locked out and I had to sit on the floor for a moment to stretch my leg and gather my strength.

The rest of the day I sat at my desk icing my leg silly. B I’m pretty sure I gave my shin freezer burn from all the zealous icing. B Well the good part since I am no longer running after work; I can cook.

I roasted sweet potatoes and parsnips in the oven seasoned with nutritional yeast and paprika for a cheesy but spicy flavour. B I was secretly craving thoseB kale chipsB B I had a week ago but was too lazy to go to the store to buy kale so I tried to improvise.

I also cleaned/threw my house apart searching for my powerstep shoe inserts while Tony quoted “Born to Run”B minimalisticB propaganda and made fun of me. B I used the shoe inserts when I had a minor stress injury on my foot from hiking (I seem to always get hurt when I do non- running activities).

No luck, however, I did get a chance to clean up all my samples and swag bag stuff from the past few months of races and expos. B I guess you can tell whose half of the cabinet this is:

Yea, it’s perfectly normal to eat chocolate by the pound.

Luckily today when I got to work, I found my powerstep insoles. Between busy times, the free gym, and the awesome showers I’m pretty sure I live at work.

Now I knew I should have behaved, moved away from the treadmill and went to the elliptical. B Part of me was hoping that the guy that usually steals my treadmill would be there so I would be forced into remission. B No such luck, so I lost my self-control, put some trust into my PowerSteps and started up my run.

I was very weary and was expecting pain at any moment in my knees; however, before I knew it, I was at mile 5 with no issues and decided to stump it out for a total of 7 miles in 58:08.

Now knee, before you protest, please take note that I’m keeping the incline at 2 instead of 3 to have a more flat surface for you. B Don’t say I never did anything for you! I don’t completely ignore my pains, I’m lowering my incline for you (and probably for me so I can run easier).

I was also surprised that I was able to keep my pace at the same speed as I ran without the inserts. B Last time I used them they slowed down my runs as my ankles/calves would get to tired.

What’s not surprising? B The bucket of sweat I produced! B (And yes I love my Team BMC singlet.)

I swear on my running shoes that on a normal day-to-day activity I almost never sweat but, as soon as my feet hit the pavement (or treadmill) it all comes out!

I may have DNF but I found a new love

Trail running! B I love it! B While I may not have finished (my left knee gave up sometime around 25K) I learned a lot about trail running and just how different it is from road running (and I got a few blisters to prove it). B I stopped at 30K out of 50K since Tony was waiting for me in the cold to finish and I figured it would be a bit unfair for him to wait for me to limp run 12 more miles. B I’ll have a full (and by full I mean my 3/5ths of it) recap later.

Its been a rough week as my left knee decided to spoil all my running parties. B I thought I resolved all. B I had a great 7 miler (59:29 incl 3) during lunch onB WednesdayB but when I tried to add a few more miles my knee quit around mile 5 (45 incl 2). B I stayed off the running Thursday and Friday and instead did 10.5 miles each day on the elliptical (57 minutes).

Jack and I had a very productive week. B With my knee being crappy and the weather being cold, we watched 10 episodes of Ringer and 5 episodes of Gossip Girl.

While Jack enjoyed watching Buffy run around and play twins, he really kept hoping Spike would somehow make an appearance.

He was also very confused how Sarah Michelle Gellar just doesn’t age. B He’s pondering if maybe she herself is a vampire.

I also didB groceryB shopping for the first time in months, possibly since March. B Yea there’s no need to buy food when you work late. B However, now that I’m home early and I’ve run out of TV shows to watch I should probably work on improving my diet and cooking. B Although I think living off baby spinach, a protein and barley covered inB SrirachaB sauceB with lots of chocolate in between is an acceptable life style.

I can mix it with canned salmon (maybe all this time spent with Jack is changing my taste to catfood?)

Or tempeh! IB preferB cheesey tempeh! B Even if it means I need to drag the tempeh from Boston Wholefoods on the train back home.

The grocery store near my house that I use, devotes a whole aisle to hotdogs but does not seem to know what tempeh or tofu (aside from Boca burgers) is and that makes me sad. B =( At least they carry my giant bucket of organic baby spinach (only 4.29 this week!). B They also have aisles like this that are bigger than the whole fresh produce area. B Then we wonder why low-income families tend to be fat.

To be fair I am writing this while licking my spoon clean of ice cream. B However, sometimes when I’m at the store check out and I see what other people are buying to feed their children I want to go all Jamie Oliver on these fools.

Now that my fridge is stocked and I have no marathons in the next few months maybe I can resolve this whole knee issue. B I thought I was better once I got new shoes but the knee did not agree. B Luckily after this DNFed 50K all my next up coming races are half marathons and the issue seems to not arise until mile 12+ so I’ll survive.

Last time the issue came was in February on my right knee. B To phase out of it, I cut my running days to an alternating schedule. B I also took off the incline and stayed at a 1.5 incline level.

Now it’s my left knee. B I’m not sure what made it flare up (maybe my 20 miles of walking during 88 degree weather on marathon monday) but I’m going to up my stretching and up the foam rolling (I even sucked it up and purchased my own since there’s only 1 at the gym). B I’m going to embrace my cross training days and maybe just maybe this left knee pain will fade into a memory like my right knee pain.