My first float tank experience.
The first time I had ever heard of a float tank I though it was completely insane. The only thing I could think was why would someone want to be in an enclosed tank with no sound, no lights and just salt water. But being who I am the girl that has oils diffusing, salt lights glowing in all the bedrooms at night and smudging our house with sage to clear negative energies, believes that life needs prayer and meditation to grow and stay healthy I had to do my research.
Here is a brief history on the float tank:
It was developed in 1950 by an American Neurophysiologist Professor Dr. John C Lilly. Dr. Lilly and his colleague Dr. Jay T Shurley were researching the origins of conscious activity within the brain.
Because they wanted to know if the brain needed external stimuli to keep its conscious states active, they created the first tank that would restrict environmental stimulation as much as possible. This first tank was suspended upright and completely submerged, with their head covered by an underwater breathing apparatus and mask. Over time Dr.Lilly simplified and improved the tank’s general design. In 1970 he perfected the tank one very similar to the modern day ones we see now.
So what is a float tank actually ? A float tank is a sensory deprivation tank while in it you are cut off from all sensory: sound, sight, smell and touch. The tank is filled with water that is almost the exact temperature as the floaters body and contains about 1000lbs of Epsom Salt. The Epsom salt it what allows you to float on the top of the water's surface so that you can rest in stillness. You do not need to exert yourself in order to float due to the high volume of Epsom salt. Also while in the tank when the lid is shut it removes all outside light and sound. Which gives a feeling of floating in air with nothing around.
I was amazed when doing my research the amount of body and mind benefits that came with a single float session. One of the biggest benefits is that it helps induce a deep state of relaxation and that alone can help you deal with day to day stress by reducing the body's fight or flight stress response, which in return reduces the amount of cortisol in the body. Elevated cortisol levels in the body create havoc - weight gain, increased anxiety, fatigue, high blood pressure, reduced libido, insulin resistance and really this list could go on and on. So just reducing your cortisol levels will benefit so much. For me being a mom to a very energetic three year old means I am almost always tired. You can actually fall asleep in the float tank and the really awesome thing is 1 hour of sleep in a tank equals 4-6 hours of regular sleep. At this point I think every mother needs to book one just for this fact alone.
So this past Christmas the love of my life gave me a gift of three 60 minute floats at Float Mississauga. This past Saturday I went for my first float and this is what I experienced.
When I first arrived at Float Mississauga the front lounge is really warm and peaceful feeling. They have some large comfortable chairs that you can sit in before and after to journal or just rest and think. They offer water and tea and you can buy coconut water from them as well. They were diffusing a mix of sage I think and I am not sure what else but it smelt absolutely amazing and I was already relaxed from the time I walked in the door. I arrived early so I sat at the front and read a book until Katie the lovely girl at the front desk was ready setting up my room. I had to fill out some forms which really took maybe 2 minutes top to fill out. Once my room was ready Katie took me in and explained to me how everything worked, where the light switch and music button was, what I needed to do and what to kind of expect. She asked if I would like music while I was in the tank, yes it is supposed to me quiet but they do give you an option of peaceful meditative music. As I had the option of turning the music off once I was in the tank I said yes please leave it on.
The room was warm and inviting with a private shower that was enormous and had a rainfall shower head and a salt lamp that was sitting on a table by the door.
Before you get into the tank you are required to fully shower even if you did before leaving home. There was a container with wax ear plugs that they recommend you wear and they were really easy to put in. You just warm them up in your hands and you kind of just seal off your ears just don't put them into the ear drum. I would recommend you wear the ear wax because 60 minutes of salt water in your ears isn't very good. So after I showered fully and put the ear wax in I was ready to get into the tank. Now they recommend you go in naked but you can wear your bathing suit. I originally was going to wear mine but last minute decided I would just get in naked. If you are going to wear one I would say wear a crappy one cause its a lot of salt.
I am not claustrophobic at all but was really nervous about getting in a tank with the lid shut but as I climbed in I noticed there was a lot of room in it and so I closed the lid. Let me say in no way did I feel claustrophobic at all and if you are claustrophobic I think that you feel so relaxed before you even get in that you will ok. The water was nice and warm not too hot and not too cold (body temperature was exactly what is was) there is about a foot to 2 feet of water in the tank I would think. I left the calm blue light on and the peaceful music while I got used to the idea of being in the tank which didn't take very long. After what I think was 10-15 minutes I turned the music off and floated about another few minutes until I was ready to turn the light off. Once I turned the light off it was pitch dark and completely silent. The longer I was in the tank the more still and peaceful I felt. The one thing that happens is you lose all sense of time and at one point I had no idea how long I was in there or how long I still had to float. While floating my body loosened up and relaxed, my breathing was steady and light and my mind seemed to be clear. When the 60 minutes was up the lights and music inside the float tank came on to let me know it was time to get out. After getting out I took another shower to wash all the salt water off. Be sure to really wash because if you miss a spot you will know later as it turns to salt crush (I missed a spot behind my ear). They have a area with really quiet blow dryers for you to use, while they get the room ready for the next client.
Going in to the float tank I was nervous, had a mild headache from lack of sleep the night before and my back was kind of stiff. When I was finished with my first float my headache was history, my back and the rest of my body felt great, my skin felt soft, I felt recharged after not having enough sleep and I can not wait until my next float. I truly have never felt so relaxed and rested. I would love to sleep one session to see how amazing I feel after. My mind since I have had my first float session has felt clear and at peace. I think that as I float more things will get deeper and I will feel even more clear and at peace. Float tanks will definitely be part of my regular self-care and fits in with my meditation and prayer. I will be definitely be sharing my experience as my float journey continues.
Float Mississauga definitely does a great job of making you feel relaxed from the time you walk in the door until the time you leave. I think that the atmosphere of where you are going to float is a big part of the experience. If you live close to Port Credit I recommend you book an appointment to try for your self or find one in your local area.