I had heard about floating through a mutual friend who had tried it and was immediately hooked. She used the floating process to gain mental clarity and a deeper sense of body awareness. Given that I was born high-strung—my natural state of being could probably be likened to an alarm clock: loud, tense, vibratory—floating seemed like a good idea to chill me out.
Living in this constant state of anxiety, my fears going into the experience were plentiful: What if I got claustrophobic with the lid of the tank shut? What if I couldn’t relax or get out of my conscious brain and wasted my whole float? What if I was unable to retain any creative insights once the float ended? What if I was actually secretly so barrel chested that I somehow defied these so-called laws of gravity, sunk and drowned?
But I was willing to go out of my comfort zone to reap any health benefits, knowing how easy it would be to get out of the tank if I ever felt overwhelmed. I knew that many people who suffer from chronic conditions, athletes who train daily and professionals with more physically strenuous jobs used the tank for pain management.
For the first 20 minutes or so, I did my best to relax in this new environment, and I was actually surprised at how big the tank felt once I shut the lid. I had more than enough room to feel comfortable, and the water was so tepid that I wasn’t hot or cold or uncomfortable in any way. The only thing that became somewhat of a mental roadblock for me was getting used to having my head at the same angle as my body. Full disclosure: I have an aversion to having water in my ears.
I have a very physical job and suffer from chronic TMJ, body soreness, aches, pains, arthritis in my wrist and a dislocated rotator cuff that I’ve been rehabbing on and off since 2007, so I figured at least one of my issues would surface, once I was in a state of zero gravity, with no stressors, tensions or distractions.
Because my body is often compensating for these injuries while out in the world, I hadn’t realized how sore my arms were, and how specific the pain was to these muscles I use every day. It was almost as if I was looking at my body like an infographic and the areas in discomfort were being illuminated. It wasn’t until I was able to relax my body completely free of external distractions that I was able to feel such an innate awareness of my body’s ails.
I fell asleep for the last 30 minutes of a 90-minute session and woke up floating in a state of ethereal calm to gentle music, which had slowly pulled me back into reality. I had completely lost all sense of time. It was amazing to interact with my body, weightless and calm physically, the polar opposite of my typically jittery and anxious self.
After I got out of the spa, I felt genuinely more centred, as if a weight had been lifted. My body began to stabilize, anchored by the experience. While I feel like it’s going to take a few floats for me to start fully committing to the process mentally—and actually get out of my head—after just one 90-minute float I know that is something worth exploring and pushing for.
The thing about living inside your own head all the time is that you realize the extent of possibilities that can be created all from the depths of your own brain. Floating is a way to access different states of consciousness that you can’t otherwise bypass, and I’m very excited to discover these planes in future sessions.
Written by Laura Geraldine.