Tuesday, August 30 2016
When I started working at SF Salt I was introduced to the idea of floating and thought, no way in the world would I ever get in one of the Matrix-esque tanks that are filled with water and over 800 pounds of Epsom Salt. What kind of crazy person voluntarily gets into a sensory depravation tank? Isn’t that the kind of thing they use as punishment for prisoners who misbehave?!
After a few months in the office I quickly learned the benefits of floating. Pain management, relaxation, calming the mind … all things I really could benefit from.
So, when I found out I was going to the Float Conference in Portland … I became the crazy person voluntarily climbing into a dark tank, to float for an hour.
Looking at the thoughts going through my head, it is clear I need to float more often to calm my ever-active mind.
21 Thoughts I Had While Floating For the First Time
1. *Shines iPhone light into the tank*
2. Good, nothing hiding or weird in there.
3. *Climbs into the tank and closes door*
4. Oh … oh wow yeah, it is dark in here.
5. Do my hands go above my head or by my side?
6. I wonder what the salt will do to my hair.
7. Hmmm what I should get for lunch after this?
8. *15 minutes in* Okay its totally been an hour, they will probably let me know its time to get out soon.
9. … Why haven’t they let me know it’s time to get out. Should I get out on my own?
10. I totally could have used this hour to knock some things off my to-do list.
11. I should be relaxing by now, maybe I need to lay the other way.
12. Wow I have never felt less graceful in my life than trying to turn around in this buoyant water.
13. People can totally hear me splashing and fumbling around.
14. OH MY GOD SALT IN MY EYE - so that’s what the eye flusher is for.
15. Okay … for real how is it not time to get out.
16. There is no way people actually fall asleep in here.
17. I really need to go to the grocery store and get some healthy food.
18. I just got in a dark tank full of Epsom Salt naked … WHO AM I?!
10. Oh arms up feels nice, I should have been doing this all along.
20. Ahhh .. relaxing finally.
21. *Music turns on to signal time to get out*
I thought this bombardment of thoughts during my session was a sign that I am not meant to float. I went to the conference and told die-hard floaters about my experience, thinking they would judge me for my inability to enjoy an hour alone away from the world. Instead, I was reassured that this is a normal first experience.
This was probably the first time in a while that I laid and did nothing. And so, my brain took advantage of this to bombard me with all the thoughts that had been pushed to the back of my brain. With practice and repetition my brain would learn to ignore those thoughts, and take the hour to enjoy the full benefits of sensory deprivation and soaking in the magnesium of the Epsom Salt.
Post-float I would have said I would probably not do it again. But since visiting the conference, and having all of the excitement and energy of experts in the industry around me, I have faith that with a few more floats I can reach a point where the hour is spent with a beneficially quiet mind.
Dr. Feinstein presents his research: "Exploring the Anti-Anxiety Effects of Floating Using fMRI" at the Float Conference in Portland, Oregon.