Daily entries

Day 58: Sensory-deprivation tank

I intentionally took a step away from writing every day; the plan was to take a week, and now we’re at five weeks later! The time has been full, and I may not accurately catch up to everything I did, but for now I’ll cover today.

This morning my husband and I experienced a “sensory deprivation,” or “float” tank. 

Upon arriving, we signed a waiver, watched a ~5-minute introductory video, got a tour of a few of the rooms then separated to go to our individual rooms. Each room had a shower, toilet, sink, and tank. 

The tanks are filled with about 10 inches of water and 1000 pounds of salt to keep you floating. The water and rooms are warmed with the intention of keeping everything the same temperature as your skin, to essentially remove as much stimuli as possible. (Links to more randomly-chosen reading from my Google search below).

What is a floatation tank?

Video: How sensory deprivation and floating impacts the brain

Beneficial effects of treatment with sensory isolation in flotation-tank as a preventive health-care intervention – a randomized controlled pilot trial

We had options for lights in the room and in the tank, and whether to leave music playing or not. I opted for no light in the room or tank and no music, and I closed the lid. I thought I might feel a bit claustrophobic, feeling like I was in a roomy, water-filled coffin, but I actually didn’t experience any panic. For the first 10-15 minutes my mind kept wandering, so I gently brought back my focus to being present over and over. I couldn’t completely relax because I felt something like mild motion sickness. The tank was roomy, but I could still touch the sides when my arms were outstretched, and a few times my feet and head bumped the ends.

About 30 minutes in I grabbed my phone to turn on a guided meditation (Michael Sealey is my favorite at the moment.), but it was too difficult to hear while I was wearing ear plugs, so I went back to silence for another 10 or so minutes before climbing out. 

Overall it wasn’t my favorite way to find stillness; I would have preferred ear plugs and darkness in my own bed, under a weighted blanket, but I’m glad to have experienced it.

Surprisingly, to me, my husband really enjoyed it and said he felt super relaxed and as though he had just gotten a massage! 

The facility also had a salt room, and a salt bed. The salt bed looked like a sandbox. The person giving us the tour said it was warm and felt like you were at the beach, but obviously replacing salt for the sand.

Salt bed

The people selling flotation therapy tout a lot of benefits from releasing endorphins, decreasing pain, helping deal with anxiety to increasing intuition and euphoria. I didn’t hate it, but I don’t think it’s something I’ll be eager to try again.

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