My Float Tank Experience
It’s hard to imagine what it would feel like to be deprived of all your senses. You can’t hear, see, your sense of smelling is limited, and all you feel is the water that is heated to the same temperature as your body.
Flotation tanks will give you this experience. While in a flotation tank or sensory deprivation tank you lay naked in complete darkness in a tank of water filled with epsom salt roughly 6 lbs of salt per gallon.
The water is body temperature, so it can be hard to notice where the water starts and your body begins.This amount of salt in the water is what causes you to float effortlessly in the water. There is no sound except what you make, and it is total darkness so you can’t see anything.
People find that having a floatation tank experience helps with relaxation, heightened senses, pain management, increased immune function, chronic stress relief, behavior modification, meta- learning, and insomnia. Float tanks are also known to cause people to hallucinate.
Being a curious person I decided I would try floating. I could use some stress relief and I was curious what sensory deprivation would be like and whether or not I would hallucinate.
It was a relaxing and calming experience. The feeling of having all your senses deprived is odd. Since the water is body temperature it was difficult for me to identify which part of my hands and feet were in the water. I wasn’t sure if I should close my eyes or leave them open because it was so dark it looked the same either way. During my time in the tank it was just me and my thoughts.
An important thing to be conscious of while you float is not get water near your eyes. Salt water went in my eyes. It was difficult to find the spray bottle to rinse my eyes out in the pitch black, while my eyes were burning from the salt. The key is don’t touch your face with your hands no matter what and after you lay down do not sit up. If you sit up water from the top of your head will drip down to your face and get in your eyes.
After you settle in it’s great. While floating I tried several different things. I would meditate for a little bit focusing on my breathing and trying to clear any other thoughts from my mind. If you are unfamiliar with meditation try some guided meditation to help you learn about it.
Sitting in the tank, deep into thought and filled with relaxation, gave me a perfect opportunity to reflect on the blessings I have in my life, and any stress I was experiencing. I would dwell on the stressor and analyze why I felt that way. One example, I had a deadline at work I was worried about whether we would make it or not. I thought to myself why am I worrying about this because I know I am going attempt to make this deadline the best I can. Then the realization came to me that this was not a stressor at all because I am the one that gets to decide if I want this deadline to stress me out or not.
For some people float tanks might cause hallucinations. The only thing that has happened to me in the tank is hearing bumping noises. That happened on my third time floating. I thought it was someone tapping the wall.
Overall I have found float tanks to be a great place to relax and perform some internal reflection. They are worth trying. Everyone will have a different experience, but for some it could positively impact their stress management. If you are experiencing some issues or if you want to have a new experience floating is a good thing to try. An easy way to get started floating is just to do a quick google search for your nearest float tank center. Most major cities have one or several in the area. The float tank centers are welcoming. They have first time floaters all the time. They will walk you thru the process step by step and make sure you are comfortable.
http://www.floatsixty.com/ - Link to the place in Chicago where I floated