What it is about something as simple as floating in a tank of warm water that makes some of us want to run and hide? No matter how much research and studies there have been proving the mental, physical, and emotional value of floatation therapy, there still seems to be an even greater number of people who refuse to give it a try.
It might seem odd to sit there listening to your own thoughts while lying in water and epsom salts and staring at darkness. Fully relaxing and shutting off your mind can certainly be a challenging thing to do and even more so if we are putting thoughts of uncertainty into our minds before trying it.
It’s time to get those thoughts out of your head though. If you want to give floating a fair chance, it’s important you go not just once but at least 3 times. Yes, three times. You may think, “What if I don’t like it my first time? Why should I have to go again?” I’m here to tell you why:
Most first time floaters will typically fit into one of two categories: Type-A, you love it and couldn’t get enough of it or Type-B, you hate it and are unsure if you could fathom another hour long session in a tank. I was definitely a Type-A kind of floater. During my first float I didn’t have some crazy out of body experience and I barely made it to the point of complete physical or mental relaxation but after one session, I felt so good that it kept me eager to go back and give it another go.
My second time in the tank proved to be an even better experience. Largely due to the fact that I was much more at ease going in knowing what to expect. I decided to use the float pillow provided and found that it took a lot of tension off of my neck and upper back and overall helped me to get more physically relaxed. Within the first ten minutes of my float I started to drift in and out of consciousness. There were even times that I felt like I was laying right in my own bed and I almost started to forget that I was laying in a bed of water in float tank instead. This time I decided to try a morning float instead of a night time float and I also could tell how much more it made a difference in my ability to relax.
With how good things were going, you’d think my third float would go along with the common saying, “third time’s a charm.” However, this couldn’t be more far from true.
Knowing that I was more of a morning floater, I made sure to schedule my third float for 9 a.m., the first appointment of the day. I arrived and started as usual by undressing so I could shower before getting in the tank. However, as soon as I got undressed I looked down to grab the ear plugs (I like to put them in before I even shower) and realized there were none in the room to be found. Not only were there no ear plugs, but the usual face towel and neck pillow were also missing. Frustrated, I quickly re-dressed and walked out to the front to grab the missing items from the receptionist. I decided I wasn’t going to let this ruin my float. Instead I got undressed for the second time, showered, and hopped in the tank to maximize my hour float time.
In the past, I had chosen the setting to have the music fade in and out during the first and last 5 minutes of my float. This time, I opted in for music during my entire session to see if it would make my floating experience more or less enhanced. It certainly made a difference, but not in a good way. The music was playing way too loud inside of the tank. Instead of relaxing me like it usually does at the beginning of my float session, it was practically hurting my ears by how loud it was blasing. Luckily, I was in a isopod with music and light controls, so I turned on the light and found the control button for the music and shut it off immediately.
In turning the lights on I began to notice something I had never seen before, tiny salt crystals floating on top of the water all along the edges of the tank. A clear sign of an over saturation. Then after just five minutes in, I was dying of too much heat. Naturally, my body temperature is a little low so having the tank water warmer isn’t a problem for me. In my previous float sessions I only had to crack the door once because of too much heat, and that was almost 45 minutes into my session. So how I was sweating after just 5 minutes this time? My only conclusion is that the tank had to have been heated up too hot. Closer to the 94 to 95 degree range, instead of the 93.5 like I am used to.
Something was clearly going wrong here. I couldn’t even make it more than 20 minutes through my session before I had to hop out and shower off. I was over heated, my skin was plastered in salt and I did not feel relaxed one bit.
The point of this story is not to scare you off from floating or trying it out. The point is to say that sometimes things can go wrong that are out of your control and it’s okay to feel uncomfortable. If I hadn’t previously tried floating before this experience, I would have had no idea otherwise. I would have also become a Type-B hater and probably never tried it again.
Think of it like trying to get into fitness and working out for the first time or maybe just the first time in a while. You may feel awkward doing it your first, second, third, or even fourth time. However, eventually, it becomes a natural habit and you start to feel like the expert in it. Floating is the same way. Commit yourself to at least three float sessions for you to be able to know for yourself.