A First-Timer's Recap of Sensory Deprivation Tanks

I recently tried floating in a sensory deprivation tank. It was magical. And healing. And hilarious.

Let’s start here:

  • What is sensory deprivation?: I’m not a dictionary, but basically its floating in water that has a boatload of salt in it -more than the Dead Sea- and you are left alone with your thoughts in complete darkness.

  • Why I did it: I had an awful dream that triggered a lot of traumatic memories from my childhood. I intuitively knew that floating was the right answer (after journaling about the memories & talking to a friend). I needed a safe space to be alone with myself & reorganize my thoughts

Now, here’s what you can expect based on my experience. A recap of what went on in my mind:

  1. Ok, this just looks like a shallow pool. Nothing too weird

  2. Wonders how its possible that there are 1,100 pounds of salt in 10 inches of water & its still clear. I. DON’T. UNDERSTAND. SCIENCE.

  3. Lays back, floats effortlessly on top of the water *tries to go underwater to see if its possible* (it’s not)

  4. Got the double-wide tank, start spinning in circles

  5. Lays on stomach, pretends to fly

  6. Itches face, leading to water in eyes. Reminds self to NEVER get salt water in eyes again

  7. Thankful to have purchased the 90 minute float session because I definitely spent 30 minutes f*cking around

  8. Twitches and realized I fell asleep, readjusts body

  9. Twitches and realized I fell asleep again *repeats 6 times*

  10. Stoked that I dozed off and didn’t drown

  11. Repeated to myself “I am safe” about 100 times until I believed it

  12. Understood why other people like floating. It’s like being in the womb again

Overall, floating was a great experience. I felt cleansed of my negative obsessive thought patterns and was given a safe space to re-establish who I am and what I believe. Most importantly, I had uninterrupted time to sit with my thoughts, and remind myself that who I was is NOT who I am or who I have to continue to be. If you have trauma (which we all do), I would recommend doing some journaling, then meditating, call a loved one to sort out your thoughts, and then once you know what your goal is for the float session, set an intention


Tips for your first time:

  • Get naked. Most people do it this way because clothes weigh you down

  • Don’t set any expectations. Just go in with your intention and try to use your first time to enjoy the experience. They only way to guarantee a shitty experience is to tell yourself it HAS to be one way or another

  • Don’t expect results the minute you step out of the float. As with any transformation (this is common with life coaching too), you will see the most changes over the next few days when you notice that you have a less negative reaction to something than is typical

  • Don’t get water in your eyes. Just trust me

  • If you’re claustrophobic: same here, girl. Leave the lights on for a few minutes and turn them off once you’re ready. Many people say floating feels more like being in outer space than being stuck in a small area

  • Put your earplugs in before you shower! You will be asked to shower before getting in the tank, and It’s easier to create a seal when your ears are dry. You definitely want to wear ear plugs because all the salt can crystallize in your ear and cause an ear ache

  • Don’t worry about the water being clean. This isn’t your typical public pool, which is basically swimming in urine and bandaids. It’s more salty than the Dead Sea, which gets its name because virtually nothing can survive in that level of salinity.

  • Don’t float if you have: open wounds, keratin treatments, spray tan, recent hair coloring, hair extensions, or a tattoo within 30 days

  • The day of: don’t wax or shave, no caffeine, eat a small meal at least 90 min before coming in, and you will shower there so you don’t need to prep ahead of time

Did you like this article? There’s a whole lot more fun over on my instagram @mylifecoachalyssa. Hope to see you there!