My First Float Tank Experience
Float tanks or sensory deprivation tanks are not very new, having been around since the early 50’s but have seen a resurgence in the last five years or so in the United States. I have a few friends who have used them once or twice in the last two years or so and have only said good things about them. They are touted as being very relaxing, similar to meditation, and having some therapeutic and massage like properties due to the level of epsom salt and the total body support. During the end of May/beginning of June I found myself in Missoula, Montana for a few extra days than originally planned and after finding out that there was a float tank there, and at $60/hr I decided why not and went for it.
I really had no preconceived ideas of what to expect during or after my experience, only that I was going to be alone in a pod floating effortlessly, possibly in complete darkness and silence. Having practiced meditation on and off the last two years, and really valuing my time to myself I felt like it would be a really cool opportunity to relax and see what was going through my head. Showing up for my scheduled appointment time at Enlyten Lab in downtown Missoula, the two guys who run the place greeted me immediately and enthusiastically. Knowing from my online reservation that it was my first ever float tank experience they gave me the full rundown of what to expect, what to do, and how it works. In the pod room there was a shower to rinse off before and after the float, and the overall room was really nice, very upscale spa like. With this float tank once I closed the top of the pod and started floating, I could control the light (either on or off) and the music (high, medium, low, off) with easy to find large buttons on the wall.
My float time was an hour, and it seemed like five. Honestly it took me a little while to get adjusted to it all. With the cool blue/purple light on the inside and the soothing spa music, I kind of felt like I was on a spaceship to Mars and just chilling out for a while. It really seemed very futuristic in the idealistic sense of the word. After a little while (10 min or so maybe) I decided to go with the full deprivation and turned off the light and the sound and just floated there taking it all in. This state, where there was no external stimuli to distract me really let me start to get into the meditative state. Just floating there in a liquid hammock with no effort being exerted to do so truly allowed me to focus on my breathing and thoughts. I was on vacation, so I kind of naturally had almost nothing pressing on my mind, but that was a really interesting sensation. For probably ten minutes I actually just floated there alternating between eyes open and closed just trying to tell the difference without any real active thought. Thus, I was thoughtlessly floating for about ten, maybe fifteen minutes when I realized that I had gone that long without really having a thought. After this deprivation “experiment” I returned to the lights on and low music and enjoyed that futuristic feeling experience. I ended up zoning out again for probably the duration of the time (maybe 25 ish minutes) switching the light and sound around to just see what it was like. Eventually the sound faded out and that was my signal to get out.
While in the pod the last 10 min or so I wasn’t really aware of how relaxed I was both physically and mentally, but upon getting out I realized that my muscles were really relaxed and I was in a state of mental euphoria where I just felt like I was glowing (similar to after a really good massage). So I showered, still super relaxed, dressed and went back to the lobby. The guys in the front were really stoked that I enjoyed it so much and recommended that I do it again if I could within the next two weeks to a month to really get the most benefit out of it since I knew what to expect now. I’ll probably try and take their advice and find one in the Seattle area where I’ll be at the end of June.
Honestly it was a really unique experience that I think will be different for for everyone every time they go. The experience had is really dictated by your mental state going in, and had I had any anxiety previous to the experience I fully believe that it was an environment that would help relieve it.
10/10 would do again and would absolutely recommend to everyone