Floating in a sensory deprivation tank

How I Survived 60 Mins in a Float Tank

I first learned about floating by complete chance back in October. I was leaving this cute boutique shop in my neighborhood and was walking across the street when I noticed the logo on the window. I was immediately intrigued so I back tracked and stole a pamphlet sitting in a little box outside the door.

“Epsom salt”….”altered states”…”deep meditation”…. were the kinds of phrases I read. This of course peaked my interested so as soon as I got home I did a google search and right there I decided I HAD to try it out.

So what is it?

Float tanks, or sensory deprivation tanks, are salt water tank that you lay in for an extended period of time and are used as a type of therapy. Floating has been shown to relieve stress, increase dopamine and endorphins levels, and eliminate pain. According to the pamphlet I took, as you float your brain will start to produce theta brainwaves, which occur when you’re between awake and asleep, about 30-46 mins in. I personally started to relax and fall asleep around 40 mins of floating.

So I booked an appointment… 

My appointment was actually for a combo 30 min massage and 60 min float experience which is normally $100. But my float center had a Black Friday sale (yay!) and I paid $80 including tip. Score!

The day of my appointment I was hella nervous! This was my first EVER massage and float experience. It was a lot of new things going on at once. I was mostly worried about the massage hurting or drowning the tank! But my worries were quickly put to ease. When I walked into the float center I was greeted by two friendly faces, one woman and one man, the owners I presumed. I was asked to remove my shoes and fill out a form while I waited. Then it was off to the massage room.

The massage…

I’ll keep this part short and simple so we can get to the juicy part: floating. The massage was enjoyable all be it a bit awkward because….well…I’m just an awkward person. The gentleman at the front was my masseuse and he made me feel comfortable throughout, checking in on me and making sure I wasn’t in pain. Nothing as painful as I imagined but there was definitely some suppressed giggles when he started karate chopping my back. Overall, it was pretty good.

On to the juicy part…

Post massage I was directed to my own private room that housed a shower and tiny blue door leading to my personal float tank. I was instructed on what to do next:

  • Shower head to toe (using only their approved bath wash which helps maintain the purity of the water)
  • Put in ear plugs
  • Step into my salt water oasis

One quick bathroom break (highly recommended!!) and shower later, I opened the small blue door. The “tank” was actually the size of a small walk in closet with plenty of room to stand up in. There was one lone recessed lighting above and music emmunating from the built in speakers (waves crashing on the shore, I recall). I stepped in, apprehensive of what alternate world my mind would enter when my toes broke the surface. I attempted to lay down but girl, was it difficult!

The high salinity makes it very hard for bacteria to live and thrive. Consequently, it also makes the water very slick. I carefully lowered myself into the 93.5º water and immeditately felt an intense cerebral sensation. Maybe it was my nerves or maybe it was my skin reacting to all the salt but there was a strange sensory explosion all over!

Once my high passed, I felt more at ease. I played around a bit. Got familiar with my surrounding. Turned the lights and music on and off to see which I prefered. I opted for lights off, music on. My mind wandered non-stop for a good 40 mins before I think I fell asleep. Then I was awaken by silence and that one lone light shining above me. It was over. I had survived my first float.

Would I do it again?

Honestly, maybe. I’d really like to try other float centers to see if I have a different experience. It wasn’t as relaxing as I thought it would be. Perhaps my expectations were too high though.

Should you try floating?

Absolutely! It was a very unique experience that not many people try. I’m all about having new experiences so I’d definitely recommend it!

Now that you’ve been convinced to try it here are some tips to make yours more enjoyable:

How to Make Your Floating Experience Enjoyable

1) Be Open

It is difficult and scary trying new things. If this is your first time floating, you’ll have new sensations that you didn’t know could happen. Just remember the fact that you’re going out of your comfort zone and trying something new. So let your mind wander, embrace the unknown and be open to what happens.

2) Eat a Light Meal

Nothing’s worse than a growling stomach…oh wait…a growling stomach while you’re laying in a salt water bath trying to find inner peace. So do yourself a favor and have a LIGHT meal before you float. This way you avoid the grumbling and the lethargic feeling after eating a heavy meal.

3) Follow the Steps

Good things rarely happen when you don’t follow the outlined steps. So shower before you get in, put in those ear plugs and get out when they tell you. Otherwise you may be banned for life!

4) Do an Evening Sess

My session was scheduled from 4 to 5 pm. By the time I was finished it was dark outside. The floating session made me very relaxed, which is ideal when you’re ready to kick up your feet, veg out on the couch or fall alseep quickly.

5) Relax

The most important tip of all: relax! I spent so much time worrying about what would happen, wondering if I would enjoy it, upset because I couldn’t let go of control over my mind when I should have simply eased into the experience. So remember whether good or bad, this will be an experience. So enjoy!

Have you ever floated? Would you give it a try? Got a question? Leave a comment below and let me know what’s on your mind!

Until next time,

XO Zuri

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