Maggi Summerhill: Floating away

Posted on May 15, 2012

I have started floating!

Yes, you read that right and I mean it literally. It’s wonderful.

Us deaf folks have a very stressful life trying to keep up with what is happening in the hearing world.

Getting introduced to people called ‘Malcolm’ is particularly stressful – if you want to check it out have a look in the mirror and silently say ‘Malcolm.’ Then say it again but instead of thinking M, think B. You see what I mean? – no difference in the mouth shape.

‘Joss stick’ is another one – for ages I thought the person had said ‘dogs***’, only it didn’t seem right in context.

‘Rat poison’ and ‘rent boys’ get mixed up too. Lipreading is very stressful and hard work.

Communication is not the only thing that saps a deaf person’s energy. Walking along the road alone is not like a hearing person’s stroll. We need to be alert and observant for traffic and other people. We can’t hear if someone behind us is walking faster and wants to get past, or if a car or a bike is coming when we want to cross the road.

Cooking, washing up – oh, I could go on. All those audible signals many people are not even aware they are picking up, like having left their tap running or the pasta boiling over, we have to work hard for.

Relaxing is not easy. I like running, but still have to be alert to cars which is counterproductive. Some people play games on the computer, other people meditate, but real relaxation is hard to come by.

Which is why I’m glad my husband discovered The Lazy Frog in Swansea. There, they have flotation rooms.

The rooms are like tanks really, with a door in the side, about the width of a double bed and filled with Epsom salt water heated to 98.5 degrees.

It’s like floating in the Dead Sea, except it’s done in weightless isolation right here in the UK. You are alone in there and no one disturbs you for a whole hour. When the hour is up, they let people know by playing music for hearing people. And for deaf people? Blowing bubbles in the water!

I have been a couple of times now and I like to float in the dark. I don’t fall asleep, but I can feel my whole body relax and let go, and after a while my mind relaxes as well.

I just enjoy the calm, but apparently there are a host of health benefits, both mental and physical. In my experience, the relaxed feeling stays with me for several days. I’ve got more energy and I feel more positive.

Can’t wait for the next one!

Maggi describes herself as a “self-made billionaire. No, that was just to grab your attention – If I had been more organized I probably would be a millionaire, alas, I spend two thirds of my life looking for something I’ve just put down…. somewhere. When I am productive I write…lots, I volunteer with Hearing Link, look after my children and walk the dog. You can follow her on Twitter as @maggisummerhill, check out her blog for Hearing Link and check out her online ‘writing for confidence’ course at

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