Let's start by talking about what sensory deprivation tanks are: I’m no dictionary, but basically you get naked and float in water that has a boatload of salt in it (more salt than the Dead Sea) and you are left alone with your thoughts in complete darkness.
Why I tried it: I recently had an awful dream, which 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
Here’s a recap of my thoughts during the experience:
Ok, this just looks like a shallow pool. Nothing too weird
Wonders how it's possible that there are 1,100 pounds of salt in 10 inches of water & its still clear. I. DON’T. UNDERSTAND. SCIENCE.
Lays back, floats effortlessly on top of the water *tries to go underwater to see if its possible* (it’s not)
Got the double-wide tank, start spinning in circles
Lays on stomach, pretends to fly
Itches face, reminds self to NEVER get salt water in eyes again
Feels glad to have chosen the 90 minute float session instead of 60 min, because at least 30 minutes were spent f*cking around
Twitches and realized I fell asleep, readjusts body *repeats 6 times*
Stoked that I dozed off and didn’t drown
Repeated to myself “I am safe” about 100 times until I believed it
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.
I found that most of the epiphanies came in the days following my float session. I had a realization that one of the reasons I don't want to have children is because of a rude comment made to me as a child that I allowed to color my thoughts about myself, my abilities as a mother, and the type of children I would raise. I now see that this line has clouded my judgement, and thankfully I can start healing from it.
Realistically, I don't think this is something you need to do frequently. I can see it being a staple in my healing process during the times I'm really struggling. My method moving forward will be: take the day off, journal about it/write a letter to the person I'm upset with, call a friend, have a good cry, go for a float, and then nourish my body with healthy food that I'm excited to eat.
If you're considering it for yourself, here are a few tips for your first time floating:
Get naked. 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! It’s easier to create a seal when your ears are dry. And 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
If you have any other questions, you can always shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on instagram @mylifecoachalyssa