Welcome back for more juice on Flotation Tanks. If you have not read my previous post “Floatation (isolation) Tank – fringe science?” then I highly recommend you go there first and read the introduction to understand what they are, the benefits of the experience and see some screenshots of tanks I’ve been in, in Sydney (Australia) and San Francisco (USA).
Let’s delve inside – how to temporarily turn off your 3 senses
- The tank is not airtight – it is designed to let air in via the roof.
- It’s pitch black inside. Used to disassociate your visual senses from the environment.
- The tank environment is humid – 37° celcius (99° Fahrenheit) – your body’s temperature. Helps with disassociating your kinestatic senses from the environment.
- Around 10 inches of water in the tank with 800 lbs. of Epsom Salt dissolved in it. When you lie back you will float like a cork. Your ears will be under water. All places I’ve been to provide you earplugs. Use them to cut out all remnants of noise. That’s how your auditory senses are disassociated from the environment.
- Keep the salt out of your eyes. Once inside do not rub your eyes or touch your face – the salt is very strong and even a small drop will sting. Make sure you have a towel near the tank to dry your hands before touching your face / eyes. The same goes for any cuts you have on your body. Make sure you cover them up with Vaseline or similar to stop the salt from entering the wound.
- At the beginning of each float set an intention for what you would like to accomplish during your float. Then enjoy the float – the rest of the journey your mind will take you through.
What to expect during a float
The following is based on my experience. Each experience varies but they all share similar stories.
- First 20 minutes is calming down your mind and relaxing your body. First timers will find it strange to let go at first because being buoyant is a strange feeling and letting go of tension without touching anything in the tank is even stranger – yes you do float in the tank without touching the bottom or the side walls. When the tension pain is gone that’s when you have fully let go (especially neck muscles).
- Concentrate on your breathing – in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try this approach, 4 seconds in, hold for another 4 seconds and 2 seconds out (I will cover breathing techniques in a future post and why doing it correctly is super important). Also try to resist moving or scratching an itch. During the start of a meditation session when your senses are slowly being turned off, your brain will send signals to your body to try to awaken them – this will come through as an itch or a muscle twitch. Resist it for couple of minutes and it will pass. Concentrating on your breathing will also help you with the fight against the “monkey mind”. The monkey mind are random distracting thoughts which rush in and out of your mind.
- After 20 (or so) minutes have passed you will find yourself in an open minded state. Your mind should feel clear & open, your body free of tension. This is the relaxed state. Your mind will be in a frequency state called Alpha. A state which you can also use for accelerated learning.
- After another 20 minutes (40 minutes into the float) you will enter Theta state. You will be conscious in this state and know when it comes. In this state your subconscious mind awakens and your concious mind will experience auditory and visual hallucinations. You will feel as though you have separated from your physical body and are pure energy, a part of something greater. Monks practice years to reach Theta in a concious state. Do not resist. Do not get frightened. This state gives you access to insights, bursts of creative ideas – a key state for “reality creation” through vivid imagery.
- After 1 hour of floating, soft music will start playing inside the tank. This is your queue that the journey for now has came to an end and it’s time to go back to the reality we call society.
With time you will want to float for longer and longer. I have floated for 2 hours before and even though it may sound like a long time there is no sense of time during a good float. John C. Lilly was known to float for up to 6 hours and trained himself to reach such high states that his experiences are what some people would call out of this world.
I would love to hear your experience in the tank. Please use the comments section below to share your journey in the tank.
Common questions & answers
- Q: Will I drown if I fall asleep in the tank?
A: No. You are always buoyant, floating on top of the water like a cork. Same as the dead seas. If you did roll over, the strong Epsom Salt in the water would instantly wake you up.
- Q: I have a fear of being alone in the dark, drowning, not having enough air, claustrophobia, and others…
A: For some the first time might be a bit overwhelming. 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 no particular way to use the tank that is more correct than another. Any way you use it, that is comfortable for you, is correct. But once you relax and let go you will experience peace and tranquility and want to come back for more.
- Q: I did what you said to do and nothing happened. What gives.
A: Practice makes perfect. Like anything in life you need to immerse yourself in it and embrace the offering. I recommend you give it a go at least 3 times and each time be open and willing to let go.