You close the door behind you and immediately become consumed by darkness, signaling your first float tank experience has begun.
You sit down in the room temperature water, thinking to yourself that there is no possible way you won’t sink as you lay back.
To your surprise, the Epsom-salt-loaded tub supports your weight effortlessly.
A faint, yet soothing, track hums in the tanks speakers to help ease you into the experience.
This is likely for the best, as your naturally racing mind has already begun to work on overdrive.
What should you think about? Can you survive the entire 90 minutes? What do you have to do later?
These thoughts, while persistent, are quickly dismantled by the melodic music.
30 minutes into the 90-minute float tank experience and the track stops.
For the first time since you entered this world, you are alone with your mind. No sensory stimuli to distract you. It is time to do some serious healing.
Alone Time With Your Mind
Imagine a room so dark that you cannot see your hand in front of your face.
An hour can pass and yet your eyes still fail to adjust even a fraction.
It regularly feels as though your eyes are closed, only when you blink you realize they are wide open. The difference is impossible to measure.
This room is truly absent of light.
Can you imagine a room completely devoid of sound?
You are in a tank, in a room, in a building consisting entirely of other quiet rooms.
The only sound your ears are capable of registering are the movements of your body through the water or your elongated breathing patterns as you begin to relax.
You can no longer hear the sound of cars, electronics, or other people.
Eventually, you may realize an unusual lack of smell.
While you initially smelt the 900 lbs of Epsom salts supporting your body, that smell soon blends to an odorless nothingness.
You can no longer smell the scents of foods, perfumes, or the smell of an office (thankfully).
Last but not least is your sense of touch.
This is one sense you may still retain very minimally which, realistically, is for the best.
The lukewarm water, coupled with a feeling of floating, provides the sensation that you are floating in a cloud or wrapped in a full body fur blanket.
With no distractions and pure comfort, all that remains ‘on’ is your mind.
Dealing With Stress and Anxiety
Your first float tank experience may have profound impacts on any stress or anxiety you may be dealing with but it is important not to force it.
Enter the tank without expectations and you will leave with results. Focus on the experience, not the outcome.
Your mind may try to search for the perfect thing to think about for healing but at this point, you have gone past it.
The stillness and the nothingness only the tank can provide is what makes it so therapeutic.
Allow your mind to mimic the tank and whatever needs to be addressed will come forward.
During my first float tank experience, I found peace and anxiety came in unpredictable waves.
At times I felt relaxation like nothing I have ever known. An inner feeling of ‘nothing outside this tank really matters’.
At other points, I was met with very mild panic. My hard to calm mind would be re-awoken and try to ruin the experience.
If you find yourself in a situation of anxiety, accept it. This is your minds way of working through and pushing past its own chains.
This ability to openly work through your ‘mental rebellion’ will provide you with an enormous sense of emotional cleansing which will transfer through to your daily life after your float.
This is a mindfulness experience like no other. Don’t waste it by thinking of work or your to-do list.
Sitting with complete sensory deprivation can begin to make your mind work in mysterious ways.
You may experience sensations that make you feel as though you have consumed an illicit substance.
At one point in my float tank experience, I swear I began to see stars. This, coupled with the zero gravity effect of floating, made me feel like I was floating through space.
If you are an artist of any kind, or an entrepreneur looking for your next idea, the tank may show it to you.
The answers you have been looking for may simply be buried under the clutter of the outside world.
Freeing your mental capacity by relaxing and blocking out outside stimuli could very well give you your next breakthrough.
Once again, don’t force it.
Suggestions To Maximize The Float Tank Experience
I am by no means a master-floater but here are a few things I recommend for your first float tank experience:
- Avoid caffeine prior. This experience is all about stillness and mindfulness. Caffeine would likely counter many of the benefits.
- Use a washroom prior. You don’t want to throw your money down the toilet because all that you could focus on was your full bladder. (You can get out if needed but it may interfere with results)
- Eat an hour prior. Don’t go in hungry or full. A nice neutral state of hunger will keep your focus on your mind and thoughts.
- Don’t force it. Be in the moment. I wasted a good 30% of my first experience trying to find ‘the perfect train of thought for healing’. (There isn’t one).
Go Try It!
I initially heard of a sensory deprivation tank almost an entire year ago. I assumed they were extremely rare and only available in select locations across the world.
With a simple google search, I found one within 20 minutes of my small town.
It is highly likely your city has one and they are also much more affordable than you may imagine.
Do yourself a favor, go float yourself.
P.S. If you are in the Greater Vancouver area by chance, check out Flouthouse.ca
Their facilities are incredibly sanitary, professional, and affordable. I am in no way endorsed by Flouthouse.