For my husband’s birthday last year, I surprised him with a 60 minute session in an isolation tank. We had seen isolation tanks used in science fiction shows but had not realized that this was a real-life thing until I stumbled across the services of Float Annapolis. When I visited in October for Patrick’s session, I asked Jeff (the owner) a million questions. He was super-nice and showed me the tanks and explained the entire float process. Yesterday it was my turn to float. Patrick gave me an hour in the tank in celebration of Mother’s Day. Here is how it went:
I arrived about 20 minutes early for my appointment. Jeff showed me the room but didn’t go over everything since I had already had the grand tour the first time. I took a shower in the room. There was a wall-mounted soap dispenser with four different shampoo/body wash fragrances (I tried all four, my favorite was Nordic Flower).
There was a shelf with some earplugs- I put them in and got into the tank. It was kind of like a big walk-in refrigerator, except it was about 100 degrees F. There was a small step down and the water came up to my shins. I sat down in the water and the door closed behind me. It did not smell like anything. It was complete darkness. The tank was not huge, but I did not feel confined. I am not small and I had room to float around.
I lay down in the water. It was not the same consistency as water- the salt made it thicker and a little more slippery. The salt was such a high concentration that I floated effortlessly. If I tried to roll over, the water pushed me back upright. I think this was my first mistake, splashing around too much in the beginning. I settled down and tried to get comfortable. I could close my eyes or leave them open- the view was the same and it was silent. As I experimented with the eyes open/closed question, a drop of water from my ill-planned maneuvering at the start of the session rolled down into my eye. I decided to just keep my eyes closed, but I regretted not having a towel nearby. I can’t even take a regular shower without a towel handy to dry my face.
Eventually I lost my concept of time. My mind battled with itself- coming up with ideas and then shooting them down because they were not important enough to think about during my time in the tank. Soon I lost control over the process and my mind went where it wanted to go. I felt like a passive observer, which was interesting and a little scary. One thing that was cool was that I experienced much more visual thoughts. I could see and experience my ideas in a way that was unusual for me.
As time went on, I felt anxious about not hearing the musical cue that my session was over. Now that I know that I will definitely hear the music (even with earplugs and underwater), I will be more willing to relax during future sessions. The music was soft and natural, the kind of music you would expect to hear in a spa. I found the handlebar and sat up, pushing open the door so that I could see enough to exit the tank.
After my float, I had to take a thorough shower. When I picked up Patrick last time, he was covered in white powder because he did not get all of the salt off. The shower was glorious.
If you decide to give floating a try, here are some tips:
- Don’t shave or drink caffeine before you go.
- Bring deodorant and a comb for after your shower.
- Wear non-slip shower shoes to keep you safe.
- Ask for a second towel if you need one before you go into the room.