Missing hugs during Covid? Try a session in a VibroAcoustic bed.
Hi, my name is Gwendolyn Joy. I teach meditation and I am also a sensory input junkie. Musical tones dancing in my ears. Sunshine and wind warming my skin. Hugs, massages and anything that squeezes and stimulates my body and muscles. This is my happy place. There is a wide spectrum you may fall on this sensory scale, I just happen to hang out more toward "sensory seeking" side than "sensory avoiding" side.
I like to quickly access endorphins and joy through listening to great music or feeling things in my body. Like a finely tuned mind-body awareness that I often hack when I need a pick me up. When Covid hit, the amount of hugging and physical human contact went way down around the world. Not only is that just a sad state of affairs, but there's science behind why it's making some people blue.
Touch calms cardiovascular stress and reduces anxiety. It can trigger release of oxytocin, aka “the love hormone.” It can even boost your immune system. So what is one to do these days when hugging is really not pc? If you're lucky enough to have pets or those in your quarantine bubble available for snuggling, foot rubs and hugs, then doubling down on that is in order.
For those of us who are missing hugs and human contact a little "extra", or just want to try to level up your self-care, a session in a VibroAcoustic bed will satisfy some of that craving in unexpected ways.
My session was at Transitions Float Studio in Juno Beach, Florida. This cozy spa-like studio offers float therapy but also offers other choices like the VibroAcoustic meditation lounge and an infrared sauna. I am always up for sensory experiences that allow me to tap into deeper mental states and I miss hugs, so I booked one.
What to expect? You lie on a comfy vibrational mattress and then you place a long weighted pillow on top of you (for sensory junkies like me this is the best - immediate serotonin release) and last you put on the headphones and off you go.
While calming music of varying intensity plays in your ears, the mattress vibrates along with the music from your head to your feet. It's like virtual reality but for your ears and body only, allowing your mind to either sink into the music and vibrations resting your thoughts or create it's own imagery/meditation to go along with it. For me, I felt like I was moving through a sweeping nature scene in a movie, floating through a forest with a moving soundtrack reverberating in my body. Honestly, it reminded me of the scene from Twilight where Bella and Edward are flying through the trees. There were also times in the music where it heightened and the mattress vibrations felt like hugging. Now that was something.. I was thinking how it's like a touch-less massage! Which I've been weary of getting this year, so this is a great alternative.
After 30 minutes in the bed I felt so relaxed, balanced, and like I was given a hug from the universe. In a time where hugs are few, and our nervous systems are being heavily taxed, we all need to find ways to recalibrate.
If you're looking for a fun and relaxing way to get into meditation, a session like this can allow you slow your thinking mind and drop into the presence of your body. I will definitely do it again.
(photo cred: Eve Greendale photography)