This past Saturday Neil and I headed to Float On, a sensory deprivation float tank center here in SE Portland, for our very first floating experience. I’ll admit I was pretty excited but I also was feeling pretty anxious as well. The thought of closing myself in a tank, in the dark and just floating there really freaked me out however the benefits which include deep relaxation, stress & pain relief where pretty enticing.
Once we arrived I tried to calm my nerves by reading the Beginners Guide to Floating over and over but after the fifth time I was just making myself more anxious. So I put it down, grabbed a cup of herbal tea (caffeine is not recommended 4-6 hours before floating) and just tried to relax until it was time to float.
Once it was time to float Neil and I were given a little tour of the float rooms. We had rooms 1 and 2– the ocean float rooms which are taller and have a light as well. Neil was lucky and got room #2 the room with the star lights on the ceiling of the tank (see photo below).
Once we were walked through the steps of floating and I realized just how in control of the situation I was I began to feel less anxious. It also helped when I found out the float tank only contained around a foot of water.
Now it’s time to actually float. I put in my ear plugs which transported me back to my childhood when I had tubes and had to wear ear plugs to swim. Anyways moving on.
I showered (check out the lighted shower) and then it was time to hop into the tank. I chose to bring in the neck noodle just in case I wanted to use it to support my neck (and I did).
I climbed into the tank, closed the door, took a deep breath and turned out the light. I instantly felt super relaxed just floating there. Neil and I both agreed that while floating we felt both heavy and weightless at the same time. Being in the dark wasn’t strange at all, I actually found it completely relaxing and it wasn’t until I started feeling a little stuffy that I really noticed that I was closed in; you really just lose all sense of space. When I started to feel a little stuffy I felt around, grabbed the handle and popped open the door just a crack to let in a whoosh of cool air.
So what did I do while I floated? Nothing really. I just floated and I spent some time focusing on my breath. I actually thought that I would spend a lot of time thinking and brainstorming but instead my mind just calmed down and I really didn’t think about much at all. I just completely relaxed. I thought I might fall asleep as well but I didn’t, I just floated there with my eyes wide open until it was time to get out.
As I said above you lose all sense of space (unless you drift towards a wall and touch it) and you also lose all sense of time. I will admit I started to feel a little bit anxious towards the end because my life seems to revolve around the clock. I start my morning trying to help Neil get out of the house in time for work and then the day revolves around nap times and meal times so not knowing how much longer I had made me want to jump out and check my phone -and I almost did. It wasn’t because I wanted to be done but rather because I had no idea how much time had passed. In the end I didn’t jump out to check my phone because seconds later the music came on signaling that my float was over and it was time to get out, shower and be on my way.
The above photo is a perfect image of blissed out Neil. Seriously we both left in a positive state of mind. We were relaxed and just felt absolutely amazing.
Would I float again? YES! I would definitely float again and I think that the next time I will most likely be even more relaxed because all of those (silly) little anxieties I had won’t be there. I think knowing that I could get out of the tank whenever I felt the need (ie. just feeling uneasy, needing to go to the bathroom, get a drink of water, ect.) really made me feel in control and okay to do the float. Once I actually started the float I was kicking myself for not trying it sooner, especially when I was pregnant. I mean seriously what could be better than essentially feeling weightless while pregnant. Plus I truly believe water is a magical thing that just makes life better.
After floating I was thinking about how often I turn to water for therapeutic reasons for myself. I take a shower when I am feeling anxious or frustrated or a bath when I am feeling sore or just need to relax. I give the kids a bath or we do some sort of water play when they are cranky. So really floating is just another level of these things and when I think about it that way it makes so much sense to me why people love to do it.
Have you ever tried floating? Would you like to?
*Disclaimer: Float On provided Neil and I with free floats. I was not required to write a positive review and I received no compensation for this post.