Weird title, right…?
No, I’m not referring to the kind where you grab yourself a donut floatie and chill poolside. I’m referring to a float tank or what can also be referred to as a deprivation or isolation tank. My boyfriend and I first heard about these so called “deprivation tanks” via the Joe Rogan podcast. Joe Rogan is a regular when it comes to floating and certainly swears by it’s benefits. This “deprivation tank” may also ring a bell if you’ve binge watched the series “Stranger Things” on Netflix (I’ll get to this later in my post)! Anyway, if this is your first time hearing of such thing, let me try and do my best to give you the low down on what it is and it’s benefits.
Let’s start with the basics. What exactly is a FLOAT TANK?
Well, it’s essentially an isolated pod or tank that is filled with water (it’s pretty shallow – I’d say shin height) almost entirely saturated with 850-1,000 pounds of epsom salt. The water temperature is kept around 95 degrees to match your body temp, which thankfully feels like you’re jumping into a nice warm bath, but after just a few minutes, you realize that the feeling becomes almost imperceptible. The idea here is that it’s replicating the dead sea – as soon as you make your way into the tank and lay on your back, you automatically float weightlessly and effortlessly. As if you couldn’t pile on any more sensations to the mix, now take away all light and sound. You are now floating in a dark, quiet tank for 60 minutes. WOAH. And when I mean quiet, you literally can’t hear anything but your own breath (PS – they provide you with earplugs so that you can comfortably float in the water without any distractions like getting salt water in your ears).
Well for one, it is SO relaxing and if you can, even for just a few minutes, find yourself in a deep meditative state, the outcome is SO incredibly rewarding. As I was reading through the FLOAT Boston’s FAQ page, I stumbled across this term known as “Flotation REST (Reduced Environmental Stimulation Therapy) (which) triggers your physiological relaxation response directly, so you don’t need to meditate or focus or manage your thoughts in any way.” Pretty crazy!!
So in addition to the float tank being well, insanely relaxing, there are also a number of other beneficial outcomes. As you likely saw from my post last week on yoga moves to help with stress and anxiety – these feelings and emotions seem to be a highly talked about topic lately, which is unfortunate. It seems as though it’s almost become OK to be stressed, like if you’re not stressed, then maybe you’re not working or trying hard enough. With all of these added social pressures around us, we haven’t taken enough time to think about ourselves. Luckily, I’m starting to see a change here, especially in the blogger community where people are truly beginning to put themselves first. Self-care, self-love — all are BIG words and resolutions of 2017, which is AMAZING! Anyway, I know I’m a little off topic, but that’s an area I’ve felt really passionate about lately.
As I was saying above, taking 60 minutes of your day to literally just float in a dark tank seems crazy, right? Especially for those who have busy, non-stop schedules? Yes, I realize 60 minutes is a lot, but this is a great way to cut out any and ALL distractions and truly disconnect from everyone and everything. Also, I found out that a regular visit can help improve sleep as well!
Now that you’ve gotten the down low, I’ll briefly share with you my experience…
As you know, I’m living in the Boston area. There aren’t too many options, but I did stumble upon the amazing FLOAT Boston – located in Somerville, MA. Justin and I booked our float tanks for the same time, each for 60 minutes. They advise you not to drink any coffee before hand, nor to eat a heavy meal, as you want to be as relaxed as possible. As soon as we walked in, we were overwhelmed by a pleasing, spa-like calmness. We had to remove our shoes and replace them with terry-cloth slippers. We then took a seat in the small common area, where we were offered water. They were super friendly and informative upon our arrival, especially knowing we were new to this. Though we booked our tank for the same time, each person is directed into their own float room.
Once we entered our individual rooms, we were advised to shower off, strip down (so FREEEEING!), and put our ear plugs in. You then open the dark tank and make your way into silence. I found myself a bit tense at first and it took me a few minutes to totally let myself go. You truly do float weightlessly with your head just comfortably above the water. After probably 5 minutes or so of feeling my way around, playing with moving my arms and legs back and forth, I finally got over the “discovery” stage and began to try and free my mind and really embrace the full 60-minute experience.
I’m obviously not going to walk you through all 60-minutes of my thoughts but here are some ideas that I experienced.
Circa 2003 when Finding Nemo came out and there’s that scene deep, deep in the ocean where it’s literally dead silent and completely dark. Dory and Nemo see a light and Dory goes “hey conscience, am I dead?” Yep, that’s how I felt at one point.
Another thought that came up was, I wonder if this is what it feels like to be floating in space…like no destination, no idea where you’ll end up, you’re literally just floating there. Hard to describe, but the thought of space 100% came up.
Another thought was, Oh crap, am I going to fall into another dimension? Yes, this is where watching Stranger Things before hand was a bad idea. I don’t want to give anything away, but if you plan on watching it, do the float tank BEFORE hand 🙂
Besides my thoughts that came in and out, I definitely know for sure that I fell into a meditative state a few times during the span of the 60 minutes. It’s hard to say how long for, but I really tried my best to get there. I find it helps me concentrate by focusing on my third eye. I’m definitely new to meditation, so for beginners, you may find this as a helpful tip!
Towards the end, not going to lie, I think I slowly fell into a bit of a sleep which is not exactly where you want to be, but luckily I think it only lasted for a few minutes! They bring you back to awareness with some light classical music when your 60 minutes finished up. This was also a strange feeling as I couldn’t tell if I was beginning to make noises and music up in my head OR if this truly was the cue to get out haha.
Overall, I REALLY loved this experience. I came out feeling SO incredibly relaxed and definitely high on happy endorphins. If the price wasn’t so high, I’d be back weekly for sure. Unfortunately, given my tight budget, I’ll likely only be going every few months. Regardless, I definitely recommend the experience at least ONCE! Let me know if you have any further questions or comments 🙂
*Featured Image taken from: http://superiorfloattanks.com/experience/