For a couple of years now, I’ve been tired. I’ve been pent up, wound up, fed up, and in need of a break. I love my life and I love my job, but it’s sometimes all a tad overwhelming (yes, I am whining).
Working in customer service, troubleshooting websites all day, can be draining – and that’s when the day goes well. There are also a lot of jerks, who can make things quite miserable: “I hope you choke on a wiener while falling down a volcano.” “You’re literally dog shit.” “Can I talk to someone who actually knows something?” are all phrases I’ve heard over the past year – either said to me directly, or to my colleagues.
But I digress. My search for the best way to relax, recharge and fill my own cup led me to a new hobby: floating in a sensory deprivation float tank.
What’s a sensory deprivation float tank?
It’s a light-proof tank with about 12 inches of water, in which almost 1000 lbs of epsom salts has been dissolved. It’s dark, it’s silent, it’s warm, and, due to the salt, you bob like a cork. Seriously.
My husband, Jeff, and I have been visiting oGoFloat, a home based float studio in Penticton, British Columbia, regularly for the last month. We first saw mention of this place on Facebook, and then tuned into the website, which is a great source of information, as is Julie, the owner!
When we arrived for our first 90 minute float session, we weren’t sure what to expect. We pulled into the driveway, and headed up to the house – we knew we were in the right place because of the beautiful, welcoming front door! And Julie had that front door open before we even reached the step, warmly inviting us in.
How does it work?
Here’s the routine: You arrive for your appointment, and leave your shoes and coat in the entrance to the house. At this point, you can’t even tell it’s a house, because the floating area is renovated, extremely professional, and completely separate from the rest of the home.
After using the washroom – nothing worse than having to rouse from a satisfying float to visit the loo – you enter your float room. The door to your float room locks, for full privacy, and it’s the beginning of your journey into peace and tranquility.
A quick shower (also in the room) and some petroleum jelly over any small nicks or cuts (the salt does sting a bit!) and plug up the ears with the provided ear plugs, and you’re ready to go!
What do I do in there for 90 minutes?
So what do I do for 90 minutes in a dark, warm tank filled with water? I do whatever I want. There are no demands, no requirements. No phones ringing, no nasty customers to deal with, no conversations, no chores or tasks.
I. Do. Nothing.
Well, that’s not totally true. I think, a LOT. I am working on thinking less, trying some mediation techniques. I focus on my breath, and try to clear my mind. I’ve done this for as many as 12 breaths in a row (yes… that’s low, but I’m working on it).
I also drift from one end of the tank to the other, while trying to see how small of a nudge it takes. Because it’s dark, I can’t tell if I am moving, if I do it super slowly.
At times, I think about my body, each part individually, and I thank it for serving me well.
But mostly, I have flashbacks. To when I was a child, floating in Mabel Lake on a warm, sunny day. To when I was small enough to lay down in the bathtub and had to stretch to reach both ends. I flashback to my son’s home water birth. And to the cenote (water cave) I swam in, in Mexico.
And I also spend a lot of time wondering how much time has gone by, and also how much time I have left. Never has 90 minutes felt so long, and yet so short at the same time. At the end of the session, which always comes as a surprise, gentle music starts to play and then, regretfully, it’s time to ease out of the tank for another shower, and then tea or a fresh, cool glass of water with Julie, in the main area, before returning to real life.
The float tank is an environment designed to allow your brain to take a break from processing the constant external sensory input of daily lives. This distraction free environment is an ideal place for healing, meditation, problem solving, and so much more.oGoFloat Website
Our experiences have been wonderful. The after-effect of the total relaxation lasts for days. I feel more grounded, interested and excited. It’s also meeting my expectation, of a full and total disconnect from the everyday.
It’s been established that floating can lower blood pressure, muscle tension, pain, decrease stress, and anxiety through cortisol levels, and increase positive affect and serenity.oGoFloat Website
Intrigued? Try it! Both Jeff and I highly recommend it. For more information, check out oGoFloat’s website!