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How a Float Tank Gave Me Control Over My Migraines

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Epson salt, complete darkness and minimal sound. This trio turned out to be the remedy for the worst migraine I experienced in my 17 years of suffering from the condition.

This migraine started like any other. My typical prodrome started with increased thirst and some crankiness. Later that day, looking at my work computer monitor became unbearable as the sensitivity to light kicked in along with the pulsating pain in my temple and behind my eyes. Once these symptoms start, it is usually a three-day long ordeal until my migraine subsides.

After a full week suffering with the same migraine, I found myself in the emergency room. After hours of IV fluids and scans, they sent me on my way with a prescription. Four days later, I was still dealing with the same symptoms. My follow-up appointment with my neurologist was still a week away. Desperation set in. I was willing to try anything to find relief. I headed to social media to see what worked for others.

“Have you tried float therapy?”

The next morning, I walked into a local “Float Spa,”— skeptical, yet hopeful for relief. A calming lobby, with a large water feature and the aroma of essential oils greeted me. The next stop once I changed into a pair of sandals was a dark room with recliner chairs and a large screen. Here, I was treated to a calming, yet comical video explaining the origin of the floatation pods and what to expect. After the video, I was led to a room filled with Himalayan salt rocks, a large egg-shaped pod and a private shower. Instantly, the smell of the 1,000 pounds of Epsom Salt inside the pod and the salt rocks helped to calm me. After a quick shower, I climbed into the pod.

Though I floated with ease in the warm water, my mind instantly began to race. With no sound and no light, it is so easy to get lost in your physical pain and thoughts. The pre-float video suggested sticking with it and counting to 300 to focus your brain.

One. Wow, this water is so warm. Perfect for a cold December day. Breathe deep.

Two. I wish I could get my bedroom this silent and dark. Another deep breath.

This went on until I got to 75. At that point, my mind was otherwise perfectly clear. There was no pressure on any of my joints and my mind was finding bliss. Quickly, I drifted into that odd place of being aware of yourself, but also dreaming as if asleep. I couldn’t tell if my eyes were open or closed as I was seeing beautiful colors floating across my eyes like clouds.

Relaxed doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt. I was finally able to let go of all thoughts and pain and just be. After what seemed like 20 minutes, the music signaling the last five minutes of my float started. That’s when my conscious mind took back over.


My migraine is gone! I laid there astounded, unsure if any movements would cause my pain to instantly return. As the jets started up to start the sanitation process inside the tank, I exited with a stretch. That is when I realized that my migraine was truly eradicated and I started to cry. I was caught in between the most relief I’ve ever experienced and pure gratefulness for the person that suggested it to me.

After rinsing off the salt, I changed back into my street clothes and made my way to the post-float room. Beach themed colors and the same water feature in the lobby greeted me. I took the time to relax at the Oxygen Bar while sipping on some fruit infused water.

An employee walked up to me with a smile, “How was your float?”

“Life-changing,” I said.

Ever since, when a migraine comes on, the float pod is my preferred therapy. It is my oasis and my relief. Finally, after 17 years, I finally have found a way to allow me to live a comfortable life regardless of my migraines.

Photo credit: Teraphim/Getty Images

Originally published: June 23, 2019
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