It’s not often you get to see an evil clown, a bear’s head the size of a washing machine, skeletons, and Patrick Swayze all at once – and live to tell the tale! And yet here I am. But we’ll get to that later. First I wanted to tell you about my experience floating, and I’m not talking about this:
I’m talking about floating in a sensory deprivation tank for one hour. This happened last Friday…sound like a new age thing? Sci-Fi, perhaps? Well it felt like both, and was the strangest thing, let me tell you.
So why would I do such a thing? My doctor recommended this type of therapy for anxiety (not recommended for claustrophobics, though!). Some people use float tanks as the ultimate space to meditate. The first modern-day float tank was developed in the 1970s.
The tank has about 10 inches of sterile water filled with over 800 pounds of medical grade Epsom salts. Once you get in the tank and shut the door, there is zero light, zero sound, and the temperature of the water and air is the exact same as your skin. It was very disorienting at first. I kept my eyes open most of the time and played around with hands by my side or hands behind my head.
It’s a nice tool to escape the noise of the world, let go and relax. You feel weightless and free. It’s even possible to fall asleep but don’t worry, you won’t flip over and drown. Besides, the water would sting your eyes so bad you would definitely wake up immediately. For some, float therapy boosts creativity and can even lead to hypnagogic hallucinations if you’re in the proper state to explore deeper consciousness. The transition between sleep and awake is a magical time and floating can allow you to be suspended in this theta state for longer than usual.
I am happy to report it did not transport me to a scary place like it did for Eleven in Stranger Things. Unlike what you see above with The Simpsons, my tank was a lot more spacious – like the size of a walk-in closet. I could get out at any time I wanted.
Before the tank I was brought to a room with black walls and a special massage chair that looked like a space pod. The lights were dimmed. An outer space scene was projected onto the wall and a diffuser misted out a mixture of calming essential oils. Ambient otherworldly music played softly in the background.
After a brief training session and Q&A, a technician led me to a private room with a shower and a float tank. I was instructed to put in some earplugs, shower for 5 minutes, and then enter the tank (nude). He set a timer and left me to shower and prep. The lights in the room would fade when the 5 minutes was almost up so I knew when to get in.
As I got in the tank and closed the door, I couldn’t help but be a little nervous as the lights dimmed. It took some adjustment.
What I thought about in the tank:
-Flying through outer space
-Aliens (neither friendly nor unfriendly)
-Hanging out in my mother’s womb
-Death (is this what it’s like?)
-Nothing, just focusing on my breath
-Positive affirmations and various brightly colored lights moving through my body, hovering and healing over the places where I have health issues
-And finally, how much time has passed? There is no timer in the tank so there isn’t a sense of time.
At last the lights and music gradually came on and I got out of the tank feeling super relaxed. I showered again and then headed to the lounge to chill, drink water, and write in the float tank journals laying on their table, which contained loads of interesting drawings, poems, and musings from other clients.
Although it was difficult to totally relax at first, I think it takes a little practice and I’d definitely be willing to try it again. Such a far-out experience! It’s a little pricey but seems like it could help if I’m going through a period of especially heavy stress.
Now then! Back to the beginning when I mentioned seeing an evil clown, a bear’s head the size of a washing machine, skeletons, and Patrick Swayze all at once. I did not see these things during the float! I did see them the following evening inside the loft of a genius artist (I was attending an art show). The artist also works at a dance club where they need unusual props sometimes. It was comical to see these things hanging out together in the back storage area.
So, would you try float therapy?