Float Session – Sensory Deprivation Tank What to Expect and Tips for the Best Experience
So the new trend in relaxation and meditation would be a ‘Float Session’ or a ‘Sensory Deprivation Tank’. Basically it is a large low tub with a lid that is full of very salty water (about 800 to 1000 pounds of salt per tub). The water is kept at body temperature, the air is a body temperature so you are never too hot or cold (I will get into this a little more in a bit) and because of the water is so salty your whole body floats on the top. The idea is that you will float there for an hour, in complete darkness, with no sound, and no distractions around. I know that this does not sound appealing to a lot of people, but you really should give it a chance. I have had a stressful time lately and my husband got me a session in Toronto through Groupon to give it a try and to see if I could relax a little and this is my experience.
First of all if you have any cuts or scrapes (or just shaved or waxed) don’t go. The water is so salty you will only be able to focus on the stinging of the salt water on your cuts. I had to get out a couple of times to rinse off the salt from my scrapes and cuts. After I got over the anxiety of doing something so new and weird and different for me I was able to start to relax and enjoy it. I had envisioned floating in a way that stretched out my hunched shoulders due to the stress but because of where weight sits in the body (the heaviest part in the middle) you kind of float in a hunched position.
I was told that you would think that you are fully relaxed but you wouldn’t be and then you would start to have sore muscles so I was constantly thinking “Am I fully relaxed?” “Are all my muscles at ease?” “How else can I relax them?”. Eventually I was able to let that go, and I focused on my breathing, and started to enjoy it. I couldn’t “turn my mind off” but I was able to blissfully go through my never ending stream of thoughts and worries. Normally I am not able to think a full thought due to always being interrupted but this gave me an opportunity to really just be there and think. It was first thing in the morning so I wasn’t able to sleep, but many many people say that they sleep during these sessions, and due to the salty water you don’t have a risk of drowning because you will not sink or turn even if you really wanted to.
I eventually put my hands behind my head (suggested by the attendant) to relieve some of the tension and stress in my shoulders and neck, and it felt great. I think it was then that I was able to fully relax and enjoy every moment of it. I started to drift, I started to just….be.
The temperature of the air and water are kept the same so once you start to relax and “just be” you will not know what part of your body is in the water, and what part is above. It really is this kind of weird, out of body experience. So although I had some interruptions, some unease, and some nervousness it was the most relaxed I have felt in a very long time. If you are wanting to get into meditation, need to relax, like trying new things, and believe in the benefits of Epsom Salts (my muscles were sore the next day because of all the ‘gunk’ the salt pulled out) and want to have an hour to yourself then this is the thing for you. It really was amazing.
Some tips for you before you give it a try (and you should)
- Don’t have any open cuts or scrapes
- Don’t wear contacts
- You will be naked
- Don’t sit up during (until the end) because salt water will run into your eyes (ouch)
- Turn off your cell phone, fit bit (I have alarms set on mine to remind me to drink water), watch alarms and anything that may make a noise or vibration to disrupt your zen.
- If you want to have a nap schedule it for later in the day
- Change positions if you aren’t feeling as relaxed
- Practice some breathing/meditation techniques before you go so you can bring those techniques in with you
- Have someone drive you so you don’t have the stress of driving to ruin your experience
- Enjoy it – Don’t worry about how much time is left, don’t worry about how much time has passed, don’t worry about anything, just focus on your breathing, relax as best as you can, and enjoy your time.