Float tanks, facing fears and exploring consciousness
Tools to calm the mind.
One of my goals for 2018 has been to continue to work on my mental health and look at new ways I can be more comfortable in the uncomfortable. For a long time I’ve heard a lot about floatation tanks or floatation therapy as it’s called by some, mostly from my cult like listening of the Joe Rogan podcast.
The host of benefits seem endless for both body and mind, for someone with a long history of high level anxiety, my interest was pinged with the idea of another tool to add to the kit to calm my mind. However, I didn’t have a floatation centre anywhere near me, but in late 2017 this changed very quickly when a local facility was bought to my attention and I could actually experience floating for the first time. (For those who don’t know what floating/floatation therapy is, you can find a definition here)
Now the theory and benefits of floating sounded amazing, however the actual practice of sitting in an enclosed tank in the dark with no distractions is what terrified me. To get around this and stop the usual procrastination, I booked a session for the upcoming week and went straight to the appointment with no further research and left myself completely open to what the experience would be.
This turned out to be the right thing to do as when I arrived at my appointment and saw the facility, I was immediately put at ease by the calm atmosphere. Now I can’t attest to the calmness of every facility but the one I visited was in a beautiful converted barn with relaxation rooms, free drinks, reading material and a whole host of other goodies.
For my appointment, I had a private room containing the tank and a shower with towels, shampoo etc which was fantastic and super relaxing. I was given a full tour of the facilities on arrival and taken through how everything works, now it was time to jump in and see what floating was all about.
Now it’s probably a good time to point out here that for those who are claustrophobic, you don’t have to close the lid to your tank or turn the light off inside if you don’t wish too. I’ve tried floating this way and I don’t feel it makes the experience any less amazing, as generally your eyes would be closed at some point during this experience hence the low lights not bothering you. With that being said though, most tanks never fully close anyway and the doors are very easy to operate – it just takes time to find what’s comfortable for you.
Anyway back to the in-tank experience, I completed my pre-float shower, changed into my swim trunks and entered the tank (although it was more pod shaped). The water was the perfect temperature and I laid back to begin my session, now I got proceeded to get up and down from the lying position several times in the first 10 mins as the feeling of floating felt so odd that my mind was convinced I was going to sink down, however this passed after some bouts of mind talk and putting myself into a meditative state.
Now the rest of my session flew by in what I felt like was all of 5 mins but it had actually been 30 mins and I’d had all manner of experiences in my mind, most of them positive and making me face my neurotic fears and panic head on to actually deal with them.
It is pretty much the only time I can recall in the past 10 yrs that I have been cut off from everything and it was beautiful.
Most people are scared to not be distracted and have to listen and face the chatter in their mind. But what this experience does is allow you to be disconnected from all those distractions and actually see what is going on in that old head of yours, it makes you deal with shit. For me personally, I was able to look at alot of my worries during my sessions and practice the art of letting go.
Besides the effect on your mental state, I’ve also found the physical benefits very positive too. My body immediately feels like it’s loose and my muscles are super relaxed in the next few hours once I’ve left the tank. I actually think that a 30 min session in the tank is equivalent to a couple of weeks continuous meditation, in my opinion anyway.
I’ve had at least 3 sessions so far with a grand total of 2.5 hours in the tank, I’m told that you really start delving deeper into your consciousness after about 8 hours total time in there. So far 2 of my sessions have been at the 30 min mark each, which are great to refresh and relax the mind and body, but the session I completed for one hour was the sweet spot for me. I experienced some intense, emotional and amazing things while I was floating for that hour and I’ve never felt so good for weeks on end after this. I won’t detail what I went through in that hour as it’s quite a personal experience, but I encourage you to try the tank out and see for yourself.
Has this helped my day to day life?
This is 100% easy to answer yes, it’s another great tool to use with supporting a healthy mental and emotional state. Plus it’s one of the very rare occasions where your completely disconnected from everything and you get to discover abit more about you, even delving deeper into your own consciousness to see what dwells in there.
Now not every experience will be calming or life changing, you will for sure have some where you struggle to relax and are faced with difficult thoughts that you need to address but this is the whole point. It’s a time for you to face the mind chatter and bring some resolve to your life, it’s not for everyone and some people won’t want to face this but it could change your life.
Overall, I feel floating is an experience everyone should try out at least once and I really wish it was promoted more as a natural experience to improve life as it’s amazing. The mental and physical benefits are widely available to see by doing a little research and some have said that it’s the closet experience that you can get to taking plant medicine to explore your consciousness without actually taking that stuff.
All I know is floating immensely improves my life, it’s an enjoyable experience and helps me tame that little inner critic in my head to find some calm.
What do you have to lose? give it a go and let me know your experiences in the comments below.
(Ps if you’re in the U.K. you can check out the place I recommend going to here)