13 July 2017
If you find confined, dark places uncomfortable or have an over-active imagination, floating in an enclosed tank filled with salt water is probably not for you.
With an irrational fear of sharks, I had to consciously resist the rising urge to get the hell out of there during the first five minutes of my maiden float.
I heard, or made, a sound that made me feel like I was under the sea exploring the hull of a sunken ship, which almost sent me into flight response.
I have always had an irrational fear of sharks – bath tubs, swimming pools and don’t get me started on the ocean – send me into high alert for sharks.
A dark watery place was not surprisingly a challenge for me. But I stayed.
Flotation tanks, also known as sensory deprivation tanks, are enclosed, sound-proof, light-proof and filled with water mixed with Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate).
Magnesium is a mineral that can be absorbed through the skin. The mineral helps relax muscles by flushing lactic acid buildup, which may occur during physical exertion.
Magnesium also plays an important role in the absorption of vitamins in the body and helps regulate muscle and nerve function.
The water and air temperatures in the tank are the same as a person’s skin temperature, making it almost impossible to perceive which parts of the body are submerged in water and which are not.
The buoyancy of the salt water allows you to easily float, removing any sensation of gravity.
The experience of weightlessness was incredibly relaxing, like levitating or floating on a cloud.
Without visual, sound and physical distractions I could more easily achieve a state of deep rest and relaxation and I used some of the time to meditate.
I think it helps to relax and enjoy it if you’re experienced at meditation or are familiar with the type of breath work often practiced in Yoga such as pranayama.
If you’re not experienced with meditation or breath work, frankly I think you’d struggle to relax.
To be honest I found it boring. Sixty minutes was too long and I became extremely restless and cold.
With no idea of the time, I got out five minutes before the light and music started signifying my float was coming to an end.
Floating is something only people without kids must do. Because it’s time consuming and a lot of effort for questionable gain.
To be honest, I’m not sure if the fad will last. I’d prefer a guided meditation class any day.
I’d recommend floating to:
- Relieve muscle soreness or recovery
- Relieve body strains in the later stages of pregnancy (check with your medical specialist first)
- Achieve deep relaxation or contemplate a change, issue or opportunity in your life
- Mix it up, but only if you’re experienced with meditation, mindfulness, pranayama etc.