A friend of mine once described flotation therapy in a sensory deprivation tank as experiencing the inside of your own head. At the time, the idea of floating in the dark alone for an hour sounded like the opposite of stress relief to me. But then I started seeing benefits from more regular meditation, and I wondered how an environment with no sensory distractions might enhance the experience.
My Life Before Flotation Therapy
Ten days before I was getting married, the anxiety of dealing with the last-minute details was taking a toll on my health in the form of stress headaches, neck tension, and sleeplessness. I’ve read that flotation therapy can relieve stress, combat adrenal fatigue, and even boost immunity, so, after waking up with another unfortunate stress pimple, I decided to book an appointment for an hour-long float at Lift / Next Level Floats in Brooklyn.
What Flotation Therapy Was Really Like
The flotation pod looked like something out of The Matrix, with the top half of the container swinging up to look like a giant whale mouth filled with about a foot of body-temperature water and Epsom salts. After a quick rinse in the shower, I put in earplugs (to prevent the saltwater from filling my ears) and covered a few blisters with Vaseline (to prevent any stinging) before climbing into the pod and closing the lid over my head. The motion-activated lights in the room outside the pod turned off after a few seconds, and I splashed around in complete darkness until I found the button to turn off the ambient music.
As I lay back to begin my float, I noticed that no work was required to keep my body completely afloat. I felt my neck and hips crackle a bit as tension escaped, releasing the weight of my head and my legs completely into the buoyancy of the water. After settling in, my mind began to notice the complete silence and darkness, I couldn’t tell if my eyes were open or closed, and there was a slight buzz in my ears from the quiet. I focused on counting my breaths and observing my thoughts until I lost track of time in the pod. Although I expected to fall asleep, I remained awake for the entire experience and was surprised by the gentle chime alerting me to the end of my session.
Would I Do It Again?
After the session, I felt relaxed in the same way I do after a slow flow yoga class or a gentle massage. Throughout the rest of the evening, I noticed that I had a lot more energy than usual and slept much better than previous nights. I felt like the benefits would grow with consistent sessions, so I plan on trying it a second time to see if the experience evolves from my first try!