By Ken Hegan for MSN

Man chilling

Will you even take your clothes off on National Relaxation Day?

Hopefully you’ve booked a vacation day for this Thursday because August 15th is the annual celebration of tranquility.

The origins of National Relaxation Day are pretty fuzzy (rumour says it was inspired by National Slacker Day in the UK). But I’m okay with not knowing where it came from. National Relaxation Day should be a day to forget about remembering. It’s a celebration of taking the day off work, shutting off your social media, sitting on a beach or dock, letting your shoulders drop to your waist, and falling asleep with a crappy novel on your face [this only works with actual books. Your Kindle’s a poor, slippery substitute].

Also: I take back the word ‘celebration’. It’s too strong a word for a day that invites you to sleep where you stand and drool on anyone foolish to walk under your chin.

It’s similar to Buy Nothing Day, except it’s even more chilled out because there isn’t a negative word in the title. Buy Nothing Day makes you think about the stuff you’re giving up. But National Relaxation Day is all positive. It just wants you to wake up (maybe), look at the calendar, smile, and fall back into a coma. I’m all for it.

Here’s one place to enjoy your day of rest. It’s called Float House, a 5-tank floatation centre in downtown Vancouver and the first of its kind on the west coast.

Basically you pay $65 for an hour to lay naked in a sensory deprivation tank. Those senses of sight, smell, and sound you’ve long cultivated? Useless, the moment you’re floating in a dark tank of warm, shallow water buoyed with bags and bags of Epsom salts.

Floating dude

I should not be wearing this swimsuit

The salt makes the water so heavy, your body floats on top like you’re in/on the Dead Sea. Epsom salts are renowned for healing pain, stress relief, and improving your circulation and heart health. It’s profoundly comforting to lean back in water and realize it will prop you up instead of conspiring to drown you like usual.

Floating long
Float House’s mission statement says they offer “a clean, relaxed, and unique environment where people of all walks of life can practice deep meditation, manifest creativity, and foster rest and recovery.”

Just in time for National Relaxation Day, they’ve re-introduced their Intro-Pack of 3 floats for $135 total or $45 per float. That’s down from their usual $65 per float. Each float is 90+ minutes.

Float House — and their selection of herbal, post-float teas — is located at 70 West Cordova Street in Gastown. It’s then a surreal, dreamy, 8-minute stagger back to the Waterfront Station terminal where you can catch a Skytrain, board a cruise ship, or take the SeaBus to North Vancouver.

The fleet of tanks is commanded by brothers Andy and Mike Zaremba. They opened Float House in May 2013 and their tanks are open seven days a week. Bonus: on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, they’re open 24 hours a day.

I recently tested out their float tank and got sooo relaxed, I started whispering to myself “Pee in the shower okay, pee in the float tank not okay.”

When my float was done, I was too blissed out to ask the brothers questions. Days later, I’d recovered enough to ask Mike who holds the record for the longest float.

“Both my brother and I have done 7 hours floats here at FH,” he replied. “Customer-wise, I believe the longest is 4 hours so far… we’re ready for that record to be broken!!”

Mike has three tips for how to enjoy your time in the float tank:

1) “Bring an open mind”

2) “Don’t force the float, if you’re ‘trying’ to make something happen, you’re going the WRONG way, [it’s] all about letting go of EVERYTHING.”
3) “Don’t drink caffeine before your float”
What will you be doing (or not doing) on National Relaxation Day?

— Ken Hegan


Read all Ken’s travel stories here

Twitter: @KenHegan

Photos supplied and by author