by Andy Zaremba
Floating is as much of an art form as it is a science. It can take some practice to avoid the common pitfalls in a Sensory Deprivation Tank that can take away from your experience (if you let them)! Master these seven tricks and you’ll be on your way to floating bliss in no time!
1. Avoid caffeine: Avoid coffee, tea, pop or any other caffeinated beverage that stimulate your body in a similar way to the stress response (fight or flight). Avoid caffeine at least four hours before your float begins.
Pro tip: Morning floats have become some of my personal favourites. I’m a pretty hard-core coffee addict myself. But if I can just roll out of bed and make it to Float House before indulging in my two-cup/morning habit, my reward is very lucid visual and auditory floats. It’s much easier to slip back into theta state after you wake up from a night's sleep!
2. Try not to touch your face: Even one drip of the super-saturated water and Epsom salt solution in your eye can cause you to get out of the tank. Do whatever it takes to avoid contacting your eyes with MgS04 rich solution.
3. Ease into the water slowly: By easing into the water you can skillfully avoid getting the water on your torso. This can help eliminate the sensations of the salty water drying and "crustifying" (the official scientific terminology) on your skin. The dry salt on your skin can itch causing you to slip out of your deep state of meditation.
4. Body position: Some people can experience neck discomfort simply because of the natural alignment of the cervical vertebrae. If you feel this, try floating with your arms above your head. This can change the alignment of your neck and alleviate discomfort. The 98 inches of our Oasis tanks allow for this position nicely!
Pro tip: If you still feel discomfort, try one of the Float House “Head Halos” a flotation device designed by the Float House team that minimizes the feeling of anything touching your head and neck, yet still aligns your neck perfectly!
5. Audio floats: I consider myself a float purest. Meaning that I prefer the true sensory deprivation experience. But when I’ve had a stressful day even I have trouble settling my mind. I find 15 minutes of relaxing music at the beginning of my float helps me get out of my head and into a deep state of relaxation more quickly.
Pro tip: At Float House, we offer an Audio Menu designed specifically for floating. Just let our staff know how long you’d like to listen before they can fade out the music, dropping you into a deep state of pure floating bliss.
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6. Shower thoroughly: In British Columbia, Vancouver Costal Health requires float centers to use either bromine or chlorine to sanitize the water. You can sometimes leave smelling like a swimming pool. The chemicals in the water can bind to the oils on your skin. If you remove the oils, the less you’ll smell like a public pool.
Pro tip: Pick a centre that is very diligent with their water testing. At Float House we use bromine and keep it at a minimum. It’s more work for us and requires constant monitoring, but it’s worth it to minimize your exposure.
7. Don’t sweat the small stuff: It’s almost impossible for to prevent every tiny little thing from going wrong in a Float Tank. A drip, the odd thud, or the stinging scratch on your skin. I use these as opportunities to practice mindfulness. I observe the sensation and then let it go. It’s easy to let your critical mind spiral downward and over analyze every little thing. Just let it go and enjoy the rest of your float.
Thanks for reading and happy floating!