I cautiously lifted the hatch door and one by one slowly dipped my toes into the warm murky water. It was as if I was stepping into a futuristic glowing space capsule. As I crouched down, I pulled the door closed behind me. I decided to fully experience the pod and completely close it from any outside distractions. I thought to myself “Goodbye world, I knew I shoulda left my parents a note of my whereabouts.”
The one foot of water slowly crept up the sides of my naked body and lifted me into what felt like weightlessness. It was like the Dead Sea, I couldn’t sink if I tried! The salty water almost had a slick texture as I ran my hand down my arm to the stinging paper-cuts on my fingertips. I laid my head back and looked up at the top of the pod. Water immediately flooded my ears. So much for the ear plugs that I obviously didn’t put in very well. The pod wasn’t claustrophobic at all. I’ve had it much worse riding middle seat on a plane. Just in case, I kept the purple hued light glowing. I wasn’t ready for the complete darkness. I paused and waited for the alien ship to beam me up and into the deep I went.
My past meditation experience had me mentally starting from my head down to my toes, relaxing each muscle as I went. I was tense from being in a strange environment. Thoughts raced through my mind. Am I doing this right? Is someone going to walk in on me? They best not because I’m nakie! Shoot, I’m a little cold, I need a blanket. Is that a breeze I feel? That light is kinda bright. Maybe I want a green light instead of purple? Can I touch the sides? Am I moving? As the thoughts subsided and I relaxed, my head sunk further down into the water, my legs floated apart and my arms rested on either side of my head in the surrender position.
That’s when the hallucinations normally take place.
Deprived of external stimuli, the brain generates its own imagery.
Needless to say, my mind raced for what I thought was 30-45 minutes. After that I said, no more, time to get serious. This must be why they suggest 1.5 hours in the tank….because it’s a total mind game. After I thought about the boyfriend, travel, work and the weekend I found myself drifting in and out of that stage between awake and completely asleep, noticing every breath I took. In a normal situation, that’s when I start seeing funny things like geese wearing bow ties walking around a bedroom (don’t ask). What I meant to say, that’s when the hallucinations normally take place. Deprived of external stimuli, the brain generates its own imagery. But in this environment I guess my mind wasn’t quite ready to see geese with bow ties. What I did experience though was one deep dream after another, all different and I was very aware that I was dreaming. After each dream I jerked myself awake and the whole pool of water jiggled. Truthfully, the body jerks were starting to annoy me. I must have done that about 10 times before the water started to churn to signal that my 1.5 hours was over….just as I was getting the hang of it. Maybe.
What Is A Sensory Deprivation Pod?
A sensory deprivation pod (or Float Tank) is used in floatation therapy. The pod is like a large bathtub filled with a foot of water with 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt and is heated to the temperature of your body. The large amount of salt helps your body float, free of the forces of gravity. Sometimes there are lights and music in the pod but complete darkness is recommended. In between sessions, the water is filtered through 3-4 times before the next person jumps in.
Benefits Of A Float
If you are into yoga and or meditation, this may be a great outlet for you because floating is like meditation on steroids. How often do you get to sit in complete silence with zero distractions? Like never! There isn’t even the distraction of your body because the salt water has taken that away from you as well. In the right environment, the body can heal itself. Consistent use of a float tank can decrease chronic stress, inflammation, help with PTSD, addictions, boost creativity, help problem solve, enhance athletic performance with better concentration, ease sore muscles, anxiety, depression, fatigue, insomnia, help recover from jet lag and adrenal fatigue just to name a few. Read about more benefits here.
Things I Would Do Differently Next Time:
- Turn off the pod lights.
- Ask to warm up the room more.
- Try floating without a neck floatation.
- Stick the ear buds in my ears better. Waterlogged ears for a week isn’t fun.
- Go in with an intention. For example, a problem to solve, a creative project to ponder, prayer or to purely chill.
- Stick with the 1.5 hour session. Originally I had 60 minutes and the owner offered me more at no charge. Glad he did!
- Keep hands resting on stomach rather than the surrender position. My arms were aching after an hour. My lats were then sore the next day.
- Don’t schedule any activities afterwards. I’m glad I didn’t because I was way too mellow afterwards.
In conclusion, I’d give the float take a couple more tries. It was a great experience that I’d hope to become better at. This was my first time and I was adjusting to the new environment. Now that I know what to expect, my mind can skip right over that part and get to business. Do you find Sensory Deprivation Pods intriguing? Would you give it a try? Let me know in the comments below if you have and what your experience was like.
If you live in the Wichita area, give Tankhouse Float & Massage a try. They often have Groupons for a nice discount. Search your own city for local listings!
Other Articles On The Subject:
- Float Hopes. The Strange New Science of Floating – TIME
- The Floatation Tank: Microwave Meditation for Busy Creatives – Behance
Like this post? Share it on your social media and subscribe to my newsletter below!