Greetings, friends!! My blogging schedule has been a bit sporadic lately, so thanks for bearing with me. So… I’m the first to admit, I’ll pretty much try anything in the name of wellness. But when my boyfriend Matt suggested we try a sensory deprivation tank, I was a little hesitant. I mean, I’m slightly claustrophobic and not a water person, so floating in a dark and silent enclosed pod of water for 90 minutes didn’t exactly sound like my cup of tea at first.
Recently Matt and I checked out a new local business called Float8 in Deerfield Beach, FL. Float8 is a wellness lounge that offers sensory deprivation float tank services. The atmosphere at Float8 is similar to that of a spa, but I liked it even better because there is definitely more of a focus on mindfulness, internal wellness, and holistic healing.
Whether you’ve never heard of “floating” before, have tried it, or are just interested in learning more about the fascinating art of sensory deprivation, let this post be your guide to floating!
What is Sensory Deprivation?
So first thing’s first, what even IS sensory deprivation and why would you want to do it? Basically, it means we are essentially shutting out or hitting “pause” on our senses, therefore eliminating external distractions that prevent us from getting into a deep meditative state. In a float tank, there is no light, no sound, no weight of gravity, just pure nothingness. The water in each tank contains 1000 pounds of pharmaceutical-grade epsom salts! The high magnesium salt content of the water is what allows the body to float.
Most of us are extremely overstimulated due to work, home life, traffic, technology, and other daily stressors. The idea is to embrace the 90 minutes (or more) of nothingness and use this quiet time to do, well… absolutely nothing. It’s kind of like a 90 minute Savasana, only better. Remember, we “do” nothing while laying in Savasana, yet it is the most important part of our yoga practice.
Benefits of Floating
- Relief from the constant weight of gravity. Decompression of the spine and joints.
- Elimination of all external distractions enabling the floater to tune in more deeply to their body and breath.
- Extremely efficient absorption of magnesium via the skin. In today’s sterile society, we are essentially all deficient in certain minerals due to depletion of our earth’s soil. Magnesium is a vital mineral that is actually best absorbed through the skin and floating provides the body with an ample dose.
- Anxiety and stress-relief.
- Softer, smoother skin.
Preparing to Float
Ok, so you’ve decided you want to float. First, think about whether you want to float in the morning, afternoon or evening. This will probably take some trial and error. Some people enjoy a morning float to mentally prepare for the day, while others prefer to float in the evening to wind down from the day. It is mostly a matter of personal preference and I encourage you to try floating at different times of day to see what works best for you.
A 60-90 minute float is usually recommended for first-timers. I did a 90 minute morning float, but now that I know what to expect, I feel that I would probably prefer an evening session. If I were to float again in the morning, I would only do it after an intense workout or yoga class because it’s easier for me to focus on relaxation after I’ve gotten some movement in. Plus, epsom salt baths are fantastic for post-workout recovery, which I’m sure you knew already ;). Again this is just my personal preference, so see what works for you and stick with that.It all depends on what you’re looking to gain from this experience.
So you’ve booked a session. On the day of your float session, I recommend showing up at least 20 minutes early, if not more (if the facility you’re floating at has a waiting area or lounge), to meditate, do some breath work, and really just get in the zone to transition into your float. You will get a lot more out of the session if you are already a little prepped for maximum relaxation. Float8 has an amazingmeditation library equipped with yoga props like blocks, mats, bolsters, blankets, and pillows. I’m pictured below in front of the altar that holds incense, sage, palo santo, and healing crystals. To my left (not pictured) is a huge bookshelf filled with amazing reads on sensory deprivation, meditation, and more.It is truly a magical space that is a perfect way to transition into your float.
Oneyou’rezenned out,you’re ready to begin the session.
1.) Turn off or silence your phone!
2.) Insert the provided earplugs (this is optional if you don’t like water getting in your ears).
3.) You’ll be asked to do a quick pre-float shower to keep the pod as clean as possible. Then you’ll take another post-float shower to wash off the salt residue.
4.) Cover up any cuts or wounds you may have. Also, be sure not to shave the day before your session, because the salt will burn.
Now its time to enter the matrix!! The pod, that is.
Step inside and relax. If it’s your first time and you have trouble in enclosed spaces, you can try what I did and lay there with the pod door open for a minute or so. Once you feel okay, close the pod door. The pods at Float8 have a soft light inside. I kept mine on for half of the float, but when I started to get comfortable inside the pod, I switched it off and was able to go deeper into relaxation. You’ll notice that the weight of gravity is lifted off of your body, particularly your spine. Try doing a little body scan, focus on your breathing, and allow yourself to just be.
While I honestly wasn’t really able to *fully* quiet my mind, my experience in the float tank was still great. The physical relaxation was definitely nice and I loved how weightless I felt in the pod. It gave me the sensation of floating through outer space which I thought was incredibly cool. I was expecting to freak out about being in a dark closed space filled with water, but I was shocked at how relaxed I was and surprisingly it hardly bothered me at all!
The only thing that did bother me a little bit was my body grazing the sides of the pod. I have an extremely overactive, easily stimulated mind and it’s super difficult for me to shut that off. So each time I felt like I was getting closer to a meditative state, my body bumping the side of the pod sort of took me out of it. I was still relaxed the whole time but I wouldn’t say I reached my full relaxation potential. I think next time I would spend a little extra time mentally preparing for my float. Float8 also offers a larger “suite” tank with more leg room that the standard pods, which I think would be incredibly helpful for long-limbed people like me.
So that was my float experience! I’d say its definitely worth checking out, especially since you have nothing to lose (except maybe stress and back pain) and everything to gain. Also, I got the best sleep that night, likely due in part to the massive dose of magnesium! Be sure to hydrate yourself well post-float. 🙂
Thanks for reading and I hope I was able to answer some of your sensory deprivation tank questions! If you’re local to South Florida and are looking for an amazing atmosphere to float in, I cannot recommend Float8enough! From the kind and knowledgable owners and staff that made us feel right at home, to the cozy and chill vibes of the facility (featuring some beautiful pieces by local artists), its the perfect environment for avid floaters and newbies alike!
If you’re in the area and would like to book a session, use the code OMMADE at checkout to get $20 OFF your first 90 minute float!! Click the link above to check out their website and show them some love on instagram @float8ion.
Have you tried a sensory deprivation tank? What do you think?! Share your thoughts and questions with me in the comments! Or share on my latest instagram post @ommadebyemily 🙂
People have reported experiencing mild euphoria, increased well-being, and feeling more optimistic following therapy using a sensory deprivation tank. Others have reported spiritual experiences, deep inner peace, sudden spiritual insight, and feeling as if they were born anew.How long can you survive sensory deprivation tank? ›
How long do people usually stay in the tank? We recommend 60 or 90 minutes for first time floaters. As you become more experienced and aware of the effects, you may find that 60 or 90 minutes are effective.Can you hear yourself in a sensory deprivation tank? ›
Not even the kind of silent that's broken only by your own movements. I can feel myself move, but I can't hear it. Sound is just an enormous void; there's nothing there. It's weird, yeah, but it's also kind of cool.Can you hear your heartbeat in a sensory deprivation tank? ›
I found that once I got in, it looked the same if my eyes were open or closed, so I didn't really have the feeling of being closed into something. You can't see anything, and you can't hear much beyond your own heartbeat and breathing.What should you not do before a sensory deprivation tank? ›
- Avoid Stimulants such as Caffeine or Nicotine. ...
- Avoid Shaving before your Floatation Therapy session. ...
- Avoid Colouring your Hair. ...
- Avoid Eating Large/Heavy Meals or Skipping Meals. ...
- Avoid Drugs and Alcohol.
Floatation is not recommended if you experience claustrophobia, or have epilepsy, kidney disease, low blood pressure, any contagious disease, including diarrhoea or gastroenteritis (and for 14 days following), open wounds or skin ulcers.How do I protect my hair from a float tank? ›
- Use Professional Color-Safe Shampoos and Conditioners at home. ...
- Use a Color-Safe Clarifying Shampoo & a Protein Building Deep-Conditioner soon after each float. ...
- Use a Heat Protectant. ...
- Use Natural Bristle Brushes. ...
- Use Warm to Cool Temperature Water.
What Do You Wear to Float Therapy? Float therapy is a strictly private experience. Although you may choose to wear a bathing suit, anything pressing against your skin can provide a distraction during your float. For this reason, we recommend that you don't wear any clothing.Should you eat before sensory deprivation tank? ›
You can float with a full stomach or an empty stomach, but in order to avoid focusing on the sounds and feelings of your digestive tract, experts recommend eating an hour or two before your float. Relax, recover and renew in a therapeutic environment free from disruption and distraction.Do you close your eyes in a float tank? ›
Inside the tank, you close the door (it doesn't lock, so you can get out anytime) and lay on your back in the water. The salts make you so buoyant that you feel weightless. You can keep your eyes open, but it's so dark that you won't notice any difference if you have them closed.
You also do need to shower before and after getting in the tank, so if you have special toiletries you want, you should bring those, too. If you have long hair, you might want to bring a brush. (We do provide soap, shampoo, and towels.)Can you listen to music during float therapy? ›
Returning to the real world
We can even play music or other audio during your float… Although we recommend doing the first few floats in silence – it's a really magical experience.
Yes, we would encourage you to wear earplugs and rinse your ears thoroughly after the float with warm water to remove any salt that may have snuck into your ear.What happens to your brain in sensory deprivation? ›
The effects of sensory deprivation on the brain were noted when brain-imaging studies indicated that sensory deprivation seems to regulate the over-activity seen in a part of the brain called the amygdala, which controls feelings of fear and anxiety.What happens if you shave before a float? ›
Shave: Skip the shave and leave that stubble right where it belongs! Shaving before a float can cause an itchy sensation during your session which will keep your mind preoccupied and active instead of relaxed and meditative.What should you do after a float? ›
- Allow yourself some recovery time. ...
- Try enhancing your sense of well-being or relaxation by using an aromatherapy shampoo in your after float shower.
- You might feel emotional, euphoric or slightly disorientated. ...
- Drink a lot of water afterwards to make the most of the detoxification process.
Can I wear jewelry during my float? It is recommended that all jewelry be taken off beforehand. Gold jewelry or stainless steel jewelry will be ok however there may be salt residue on any stones on the ring.Do females float better than males? ›
Those with more body fat and less muscle usually float more easily. On average females have a higher body fat % 21-24% than males 15%-20%. Consequently females generally float more easily than males. You can enhance your floating by inhaling and holding your breath until you have to exhale then inhale quickly.Does your face get wet in a float tank? ›
You're obviously getting wet again so you don't have to dry your entire body, but we suggest drying your face and hairline well before getting in. Not only does the salt solution irritate any cuts you may have, but being about twice the salinity of the ocean, it also stings if you get it in your eyes.Do you get your hair wet in a float tank? ›
Yes, your hair will get wet, though the water is neutral and the Epsom Salt is not at all harsh. If you dye your hair, you will need to wait at least 10 days after you dye it to give your new color time to set in completely. With red dye, we require waiting 30 days to float and you must bring a tight-fitted swim cap.
Yes, you can float while menstruating. Just treat it like going to a swimming pool while on your period. Pro tip: if you happen to be using a tampon, consider coating the string with petroleum jelly (provided in the room) to prevent salt water from wicking into the tampon.Do float tanks dehydrate you? ›
Will floating cause dehydration? You will not get dehydrated from floating. You won't even get a little bit pruny! You will leave the float tank feeling smooth and silky.Should I wash my hair before a float? ›
Without this first shower, an oily film would develop on top of the pod water and ruin your float experience. This is also the reason we ask that you shampoo your hair but not use conditioner in this first shower – the conditioner acts like an oil in the float pod.How do float tanks affect your hair? ›
Using hair care products such as volumizing products, alcohol-based products, hairstyling products and a lot of heat makes the hair frizzy, dull and brittle. Floating in the float tank helps to strips off all the contaminants and cleanses your hair.Can you leave the door open in a float tank? ›
You can go in and out of the tank as you please. You can use the tank with the door completely open, you can keep it partially open, or you can close it. There is an interior light. You can turn that light off or leave it on.Do you wear swimsuits in float tanks? ›
Should You Wear a Swimsuit During Flotation Therapy? You can wear a swimsuit or a bathing suit during your float, but it isn't necessary. In fact, we recommend not wearing anything at all. This is because the less sensation you have against your skin, the better.Should you listen to music in a sensory deprivation tank? ›
For the best float tank experience, effortlessly buoyant atop super saturated salt water, there are a few key considerations. Silence. Having silence, or an absence of ambient noise, is crucial. While the option to listen to music is a choice while floating, silence offers a way to go even deeper.Can you fall asleep in a float pod? ›
So the short answer is yes – you can fall asleep in a float tank, although you may be mistaking nodding off for reaching a deep, meditative state! Still, it's common to have questions. Especially if you're new to floating. We're sometimes asked if sleeping through a session is a waste of your float.Is there music in a float tank? ›
To play or not to play music in a float tank… Some centers start the float with a few minutes of music and then fade away, some don't play music until the end, and another float center will not let you turn off the light.How do you breathe in a float tank? ›
When you're inside the tank, draw in deep breaths through the nose until your lungs can't hold anymore. Hold the air for a moment before slowly releasing it through your nose or mouth. Try to get a steady rhythm going – there are no “max repetitions” for this meditative exercise.
Nobody knows for sure who spent the longest time in a sensory deprivation tank, however, it is said that John Lilly, himself, spent 3 days connected to an IV.Do you have to close the lid for float therapy? ›
It's possible to have the lid open, or to have a light on in the pod if you want to, so that you can float your way, although you will probably find it more relaxing to have the lid closed and the light off. It's possible to open the lid or put the light on at any time.Should you get a massage before or after a float? ›
The answer is that it really does come down to personal preference as you benefit differently in each way. Floating before a massage will mean that the therapist can get more out of your body. But equally floating after a massage will offer additional relief.How many times a week should you float? ›
Most patients see the benefits of using float therapy around two or more times a week, and even more positive results from long periods of routine use. The number of float sessions could differ depending on your reasons for choosing float therapy. For some people, once a week for 2 months is plenty.How long does it take to hallucinate from sensory deprivation? ›
Observations suggest that fleeting hallucinations typically begin after two or three days without sleep, and that after 100 to 200 sleepless hours a progressive personality disorganization will develop, marked by periods of hallucinosis or, in some cases, by the reappearance of a previously existing psychiatric ...Who is at risk for sensory deprivation? ›
Sensory deprivation occurs when an individual receives a stimulus that is reduced or below the threshold of normal. Risk factors to such alterations can be broadly due to acute illnesses, patient factors related to chronic medical conditions, aging, or due to environmental or iatrogenic causes.Is sensory deprivation good for depression? ›
The effects of sensory deprivation provide endless benefits. The calming effects of float therapy will soothe your mind and help you deal with depression better by allowing you to connect with your inner self while reaching a level of relaxation never experienced before.What happens to your brain in a sensory deprivation tank? ›
Sensory deprivation aims to shift your brain to the much calmer Alpha, Theta, and Delta frequencies. When experiencing these brain waves, your state of mind is altered, and you achieve a sense of deep relaxation and regeneration. The Beta state is the most common for our everyday lives.Do you hallucinate in sensory deprivation? ›
When people are kept in isolation (sensory deprivation), information input via the senses (such as hearing and sight) is reduced. A person who remains alert during a period of sensory deprivation is likely to experience vivid fantasies and, perhaps, hallucinations.Do sensory deprivation chambers make you hallucinate? ›
Many people report hallucinating
A 2015 study divided 46 people into two groups based on how prone they were to hallucinations. Both groups had similar experiences after going through sensory deprivation treatment. But the group that was more prone to hallucinating experienced increased frequency of hallucinations.
Definition. Sensory deprivation refers to the lack of sensory stimulation, either by natural causes in cases of blindness or deafness, or in experimental settings.Do they change the water in float tanks? ›
The Float Tank Association (yes – it exists!) has created the US Float Tank Standards – a stringent set of regulations regarding sanitation, cleaning, and maintenance. They state the water should be changed every 1000 floats or every 6 months.Can you sleep in a float tank? ›
It's dangerous to sleep in a float tank.
Some people believe that sleeping in a tank is dangerous because you could roll over and drown. In reality, the buoyancy of the Epsom salt makes it difficult for you to turn over, so you will stay on your back even if you fall asleep.
Most patients see the benefits of using float therapy around two or more times a week, and even more positive results from long periods of routine use. The number of float sessions could differ depending on your reasons for choosing float therapy. For some people, once a week for 2 months is plenty.What do you wear in a float tank? ›
You can wear a swimsuit or a bathing suit during your float, but it isn't necessary. In fact, we recommend not wearing anything at all. This is because the less sensation you have against your skin, the better.Does floating dehydrate you? ›
Will floating cause dehydration? You will not get dehydrated from floating. You won't even get a little bit pruny! You will leave the float tank feeling smooth and silky.What are the 5 sensory experiences? ›
Sight, Sound, Smell, Taste, and Touch ⎯ How do you use your five senses? Humans understand and perceive the world around us using our five senses. Exploring sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch through hands-on experiments and activities helps hone our children's powers of observation and awareness.How would you describe a sensory experience? ›
What are sensory experiences? Sensory experiences are any activities that help your child learn and develop a greater understanding of the world by using their five senses.What are some sensory experiences? ›
Any activity that encourages children to use their senses is a sensory activity. Playing with water or grains, smelling the roses, jogging, running, playing with sand, listening to music, and dancing are all sensory activities.