Perhaps you’ve heard someone mention Flotation Therapy or Sensory Deprivation Tanks, but aren’t quite sure what that entails. I recently had the opportunity to enjoy my first float at KneadIt Massage in Ephrata, and came away impressed by this one-of-a-kind experience.
The first isolation tank was developed by physician and inventor John C. Lilly in 1954. Over the years it was used by many notable athletes for help in easing stress and physical pain from injuries, as well as improving their focus and concentration.
More recently, comedian and martial artist, Joe Rogan, has been introducing millions of his podcast (The Joe Rogan Experience) listeners to his personal practice of floating. Rogan has gone so far as installing a custom-made flotation tank in his home, which he uses on a daily basis to achieve a deeper state of meditation and relaxation.
The tanks themselves come in a variety of shapes and sizes – from basic tubs to fully enclosed and automated pods, but the basic principle is the same. They contain roughly 12 inches of highly salinated water, which allows anyone to float effortlessly. The water and the air in the room are also set to just below the average body temperature.
I had my heart set on the pod-style of float so that I could close the lid and turn off the lights for maximum sensory deprivation. This being my first float, we went over some details as I was shown to my personal locker. A thorough shower is required before your float; robes, towels, soap, shampoo, earplugs and everything you will need are provided. You can bring a bathing suit if you would like, but the float room provides complete privacy for anyone wishing to float “free” as they say.
As I slipped into the pod for the first time, the water and air were noticeably warm, but I didn’t feel hot. I pulled down the lid, took a seat and turned off the lights. Enveloped in darkness, I leaned back into the saline-rich water and my body was instantly lifted – as if gravity had lost its grip on me. The sensation of being weightless took over. Sound was also eliminated. Because the temperature around you is so close to your body temperature, you become one with the water.
At first, my mind was racing and reaching to find any signs of my normal sensory inputs that had suddenly gone completely quiet. Then, I began to feel my muscles easing and accepting this relaxed state where nothing was required of them. After about 10 minutes or so, my mind quieted as I drifted off into a sleep state.
From a personal perspective, I felt the best part was coming out of the experience and returning to my senses with a completely relaxed feeling – like someone had hit the reset button!
For more information on all the benefits of flotation, visit floatatkneadit.com.