Maybe you’ve heard of floatation therapy or REST (Restricted Environmental Stimulation therapy) aka Sensory Deprivation – which is an entirely inaccurate term, but it’s still used. Perhaps you listened to Joe Rogan (actor) or Steph Curry (NBA MVP) rave about it, or maybe you’ve seen that episode of Stranger Things where the kids created a makeshift float tank out of an inflatable pool and a lot of table salt. Or the Simpsons.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the positive effects: how floating can bring about deep relaxation, help alleviate stress and reduce pain, stimulate creativity, or assist in better sleep habits.
A lot of people you respect seem to be doing it on a regular basis and getting great, consistent results.
Yet, you still doubt you can even get yourself into a float tank, much less close the door and stay inside for an hour. And an hour and a half? Yeah no…
You’re not alone. Having concerns about floating is common. But, there are a lot of misconceptions, and knowing more about them, just might change your mind.
So, let’s look at three misconceptions that hold people back from using this effective form of therapy.
“I could never get into a sensory deprivation tank. I’m claustrophobic.”
(You, are in control. You are safe. You can easily do this!)
This is probably the most common fear that stops people from starting. So let’s look at claustrophobia and floatation tanks.
Claustrophobia is defined as an “extreme fear of confined spaces,” especially feeling trapped and suffocated.
But, in our floatation pod, YOU, are completely safe and in control of your environment. Our pod is a safe, well-ventilated space that’s easy to exit. The feeling is more like being in a comfortable bed in a quiet room, except you are weightless.
The pod lid not only pushes open easily from the inside, it does not seal tightly, And, there’s no latch that could lock.
It is impossible to be accidentally locked in.
Plus, fresh air circulates into and out of the tank through a ventilation system, ensuring that you won’t feel suffocated.
So, the fears of being trapped or suffocated are unfounded.
So, if you’re interested in floating and believe you can benefit from its relaxing effects but fear a claustrophobic response, here is a 3-step progression that’ll make the transition to sensory deprivation more gradual.
- First, leave the pod lid completely open. Step into the pod and sit there with your lower body in the water. Once that feels comfortable, you can lay in the tank with the lid still open. Get comfortable and familiarize yourself with the new sensation of floating. Play with the lights. Once you’re comfortable and are ready for more, you can move onto step 2.
- Close the lid. Notice it does not close tightly. Get used to how it feels with the light on.. then off. and get comfortable for a few more minutes. If you want or need lights, by all means, choose your favorite. This is YOUR float! If this stage is all you can manage on this float it’s fine. But, if you’re comfortable, you can move onto the next step
- Turn the room lights And the pod lights out completely. Notice that in total darkness, there is no point of reference to tell where the walls are. You do not feel confined. Focus on the feeling of simultaneous nothingness and expansion, and continue by focusing on your breathing. Turn the pod lights back on if you so desire. Determine your OWN comfort level.
You can even leave the lid open the entire time if you don’t feel comfortable with the lid closed. But, it’s important to know that the water is heated to body temperature, and leaving the pod open for an extended period will cause it to cool down. For your own comfort and for the best experience, we recommend keeping the lid open for only a few minutes.
Once you’re in the pod with the door closed/lights out, you’ll notice you cannot tell where the walls begin and end. Most of our guests who felt initial apprehension due to claustrophobia have reported that lacking this point of reference creates a sense of expansiveness in the tank, rather than confinement, and had no trouble adjusting to the tank. And, you can keep your eyes closed if you prefer lights!
“60 minutes of doing nothing in the dark? That’s way too long.” “90 minutes?? No way!”
Relax into the still, quiet, and calm space. Breathe. Listen to your heart.
Doing “nothing” for an hour to an hour and a half goes against the value our society places on efficiency and productivity. But taking into account the restfulness and revitalization that come with floating, wouldn’t a regular floating practice prepare us more to take on all the challenges we encounter?
Feeling tired, stressed, in pain and overstimulated are common symptoms of fast-paced lifestyles that glorify being busy and are littered by endless devices, that often just provide an escape from the day-to-day.
As many outside distractions as possible are removed in the float pod which creates an environment of sensory deprivation. If there’s no light in the pod, therefore no visual stimuli. You’re floating nude in body temperature, Epsom salt-rich water solution, which leads you to not knowing where your body stops & the salt solution begins- effectively removing your sense of touch.
For both 60 -90 minutes, you’re eased out of daily overstimulation, which creates relaxation. Your brain naturally produces theta brain waves while floating. The theta state is associated with increased creativity, memory recall, learning, inspiration, insight, and decreased levels of stress and anxiety.
This is why we often suggest setting an intention, before floating.
Theta waves are normally produced by the brain right before falling asleep, or right as we awaken, before we are fully conscious. But, these moments don’t last very long, because the moment we reach the theta state we either fall asleep or wake up. Scientists also found that the theta state is achieved by Buddhist monks practicing long periods of deep meditation.
Thankfully, you’re no longer limited to the fleeting theta state between wakefulness and sleep, and neither do you have to practice Zen meditation for 20 years to achieve it. Once you develop a regular floating habit, it comes easily!
You can achieve the theta state for a long period and benefit from its stress-relieving, anxiety-reducing, creativity boosting, endorphin producing benefits by using sensory deprivation as a tool. Granted, it does take a little while to, “quiet the monkey mind,” when you begin floating, which is why we recommend working up to floats that are 90 minutes long. We’ve designed the sessions to ensure you get into the theta state and stay long enough to get the benefits.
The “post-float glow” can last for a few days after the float. During this time you can expect to feel well-rested, relieved from stress, rejuvenated, and ready to tackle challenges.
Creating space of either 60 or 90 minutes of nothingness can take the edge off the daily stresses and give you more mental space for creativity, innovation, and yes, productivity.
We strongly believe that the more you float, the better you feel! We have several packages designed to assist you with your floatation practice and are happy to help you determine one that suits you & your lifestyle.
“What if I fall asleep, turn over, and drown? What if I can’t float?”
Just relax and observe your inner world…
You might fall asleep in the float tank, but you don’t have to worry about turning over and drowning. You are laying on your back in a solution of water with 900-1000 pounds of Epsom salt, floating effortlessly. You Cannot sink, or put your bottom on the floor of the pod!
There are no pressure points that make you feel the need to turn over. Plus, the water is very shallow, only 10-11 inches, and the amount of salt in the water makes it physically impossible not to float. It is nothing like swimming in water where you expend energy to stay above water.
Floating in this saline solution makes you feel weightless, removing pressure and relieving strain from the muscles, bones, and joints while magnesium is absorbed through your skin, decompressing your joints and improving blood circulation, aiding your body’s ability to ease muscle pain.
YOU REST EASILY AND COMFORTABLY IN A FLOATATION THERAPY SESSION
The 3 above-mentioned concerns are the most common fears for beginning floaters. As you can see, each of them is unfounded.
Claustrophobia doesn’t occur in the tank because there are no visible points of reference while in sensory deprivation.
60-90 minutes may seem like a long time to ‘do nothing,’ but it’s just the right time to allow you to reach the theta state and reap the accompanying benefits. Time becomes irrelevant in the tank and the bliss experienced during this time of rest is far from boredom.
Lastly, you may fall asleep in the tank, but you certainly won’t turn over and drown because there are no pressure points that will make you want to shift positions in your sleep.
Please feel free to ask questions! Drop in to take a look for yourself!