Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale.
Slowly your mind begins to drift into a state of hyper-awareness; your senses start to take over. You feel the weight of the water. It’s heavy, prominent. It laps against your body, presses on every inch of your skin. It sounds as if you’re in a cave and every noise resonates forever. Visually it’s pitch black because you have your eyes shut. Without the use of your eyes, you “see” through your other senses. The smell is potent but not fishy or sweet like after a rain if you were out on the ocean. Should the water get into your mouth, it burns, is sharp, and is astringent. With all the senses going into hyper-awareness, it seems that you wouldn’t be able to relax.
Quite the contrary.
Dr. John Lilly in 1950, a neuro-scientist who was researching brain waves and altered states of consciousness, invented floating is meant to deprive you of all your senses. Since it is a sensory deprivation chamber, or a Float Pod, the purpose is to let your body relax and reset. It is filled with 900 pounds of MgSO 4, Magnesium Sulfate, also known as Epsom Salt, dissolved in 250 gallons of water. Due to the high volume of MgSO 4, your body is completely buoyant, suspended as if in outer space with zero gravity.
Along with allowing your body to relax and reset, it is said to be a good tool for chronic pain. This is what drew me to trying this.
“Internal studies have shown chronic pain will drop 40-50% in the first float down to 80-90% by the third float.” *
The day I went into float at Full Spectrum Float in Mankato, MN, I was having pain in my right foot that had been acting up for the week prior. I was told floating would help it.
In the float pod, at first it was weird. You’re literally left alone to all your senses and thoughts. It was hard to not think about things that were on my mind.
But, before I went inside, I was told to count my breaths to help my brain slow down it’s theta-waves. By slowing down my brain waves, my body is allowed to completely shut down, reset, alter into a state of full relaxation. Essentially to get full R&R. you have to slow down your “turn off your brain”.
Inside the float pod it was like the world didn’t exist and it was fascinating. It is said floating almost recreates the experience in the womb: lightless and sensory overload. And, it was sensory overload at first. The water was loud when I was moving to get into one of the many positions mentioned to try on a pre-float video (link at bottom): I Surrender, Mummy, the common Plank (arms just down by your sides), or Mild Dance, to name a few. Yes, I said the water was loud. In the Pod, with no other noise, the lapping of the water reverberates and being in such a small, closed in chamber, there’s no where for the sound waves to go. It’s not so loud it is overwhelming, it’s just right there – 360° around you.
So, there I am floating. My brain is shut off. I can actually feel my muscles relax in ways I have never experienced. It was an amazing sensation. My body fell limp. I was a noodle. As I floated in the water, slowly I began to fall asleep. It was more relaxing than sleeping in bed. My whole body was shut off – lights out. I could feel the pain in my foot but it didn’t hurt, it ached. But, it was as if someone was removing the pain aura from my foot. When I woke up and my one hour session was over, first it felt longer than an hour session, second I felt calm, laid-back, completely at peace, and the pain in my foot had subsided probably 30%.
The experience of using your senses to allow your body to relax is a good therapy because life is stressful, busy. Most people hold stress in their shoulders or stomach. We clench up, hunch, strain ourselves, and over work ourselves. Floating allows all the “damage” we do to be undone. It’s a reset. You have to be willing to fully let yourself go and let your mind go into the unconscious that happens in the zero gravity like environment. If you can and do, you’ll be refreshed, reenergized, and maybe have less pain
Think you can free yourself to float
Full Spectrum Float was an amazing place. It was clean, the staff was very friendly, inviting, and informative. The directions of what to do step by step made it easy to understand and feel comfortable enough to do it. The room where the Pod is located is like it’s own little spa room. The shower located right outside the pod in the room was also amazing: shampoo, conditioner, and body wash included.
I highly recommend going to Full Spectrum Float.
learn more here: The Float Pod: Intro to Floating
Full Spectrum Float: 514 S Riverfront Dr., Mankato, MN. Contact: (507)-387-4583 Website: Full Spectrum Float
* YouTube. The Float Pod: Intro to Floating. Oct. 9, 2013. Sept 26, 2017.