Floating is one of those things that when you talk about it or mention it to people who’ve never done it before, you get weird faces or questions like:
“Will I get claustrophobic?” “Do they clean the water?” “Why do you go in there?” “Is it expensive?”
Floating has been around for over 50 years but recently it has gained some attention as more and more float tank centers are opening. Personally, I’ve been floating for about two years now and it has made a tremendous change in my life. I first went into the tank after hearing Joe Rogan talk about it on his podcast. I also got quite into finding out why Rogan thought so highly of it, so I did some research and found it’s good for helping injuries heal and reducing stress. After a knee injury I decided it was time to give it a go. From that first time I have been hooked and I try to get one in whenever my schedule allows it.
I’m not going to tell you why you should try out the float tank in this post. If you want to know why (or more about them in general) you can read these posts I wrote below:
In this post I will go over the complete guide to your first time in the float tank.
If you’re ready to make an appointment or you already have one set up, here’s the few simple things you need to know.
1. Don’t TRY to get anything out of it.
Trying to get a result from laying in a tank is counterproductive of it’s true benefits. The tank is designed to eliminate any of the sensory input we deal with on a constant basis. We are always using our hearing, our sight, our touch, our sense of smell and nowadays we are bombarded with overloaded sensory input. We have phones, music, co-workers, children, cars, driving, billboards, televisions, and much more always begging for our attention. The most beneficial part of floating in a float tank is all of that is completely eliminated for the duration of time you choose to float. The sensory deprivation you experience is like a renewal of the mind. A resetting of your senses and a cleansing of your stresses. For this, do not try to get anything out it. Just be.
It’s hard for many of us to stop what we’re doing and listen to our thoughts and be alone in complete serenity with our minds. The float tank will open your mind to many things we don’t recognize in our subconscious mind.
2. Don’t Be Over Hydrated.
If you’re going to float for an hour or more, make sure you’re not loaded with water that will make you want to urinate. This can totally distract you from experiencing the awesome benefits and bliss inside the tank. There are toilets in every float room. Use it right before you go in.
3. Eliminate Use of Electronics Prior
For about an hour before you go to the float center, try to avoid stuffing your face in your phone or computer and begin the relaxation process. The overloaded stress from electronics can make it harder to relax when it comes time to float.
4. Don’t Listen to Music
Many float centers offer the option to listen to meditation music or other forms of relaxing music. For the first time, do not do it. The experience you get in the tank will be like nothing you’ve ever been through. Adding music to it the first time can distract you from allowing the brain waves to settle in the appropriate levels.
5. Avoid Caffeine Before Hand
Try not to have any coffee within a few hours of your float. “Caffeine may increase heart rate, body temperature, blood flow to the skin & extremities, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, stomach acid secretion and production of urine (diuretic).” (http://www.uhs.umich.edu/caffeine)
We don’t want this. We want our body to be as relaxed as possible.
6. Avoid Eating Anything Before Hand
Having food in your stomach before you begin your float can alter your experience. When the body is busy digesting food, the mind is busy and far from the relaxed state we want to be in. Going in a tank in the fasted state can decrease brain activity and help you get much more out of your first float.
7. Do not Shave Anything Before Going to Float
For at least two days prior to floating, make sure you do not shave any part of your body before going in. The high salt content with sting and will definitely affect your float in a negative way.
8. Be prepared to cover your scrapes and cuts.
If you have any scrapes, cracked fingers, or abrasions, call your float center and ask if they supply q-tips and Vaseline. Again, the high salt content will burn and sting and will keep your mind occupied and away from the benefits of floating.
9. Go For 60 Minutes Minimum
90 minutes is a REM cycle in your brain. It can take about 40 minutes in the tank for your brain to stop producing Alpha waves which are what we experience on a constant basis except for sleep, depending on how relaxed you were prior to going in. This means it’s possible that the first 40 minutes of a float you are completely aware of everything and not in the Theta and more relaxing brain wave state. Anything under 60 minutes and I believe you are not getting the majority of benefits a float has on your mind and body. After your first float at 60 minutes, never go less than 90.
10. Enjoy Your Solitude
This is why we go float. To be completely alone and uninterrupted by anything outside of our minds. How often are you able to simply unplug from life and be completely alone? Not often, so enjoy the time you have by yourself and completely relax yourself. Don’t fuss over deadlines or schedules or where you are supposed to be the next hour. Just BE.
“Don’t try to be good, don’t try to be a meditator, don’t try to be spiritual, enlightened, or perfect. Hold nothing. Just be.” – Unknown
Floating has the power to change your life from the very first time you experience what’s inside. You can open a whole new part of your mind that you didn’t know existed and you can rejuvenate your mind and body and enjoy the easiest form of meditation known. Since I started floating two years ago, my entire mentality has changed. My life has dramatically improved and my mind works better than ever. My energy levels have increased with my improved diet and exercise, my knee injury is gone, and my peacefulness which evaded my life for years has come back and made life more enjoyable. If you have any questions, shoot me a message below and I can help you get the most out of your next float. Comment below about your favorite experience in the tank!