Last Tuesday I went to Flo2S, in Little Five Points, to try Float Therapy, or as some call it, a sensory deprivation tank. Why, you may be asking?
For Christmas, I received a set of yoga clothes that I wasn’t happy with. I returned it, and my parents asked me what I wanted instead. Since I wasn’t going to paying for it, I asked myself, “What is something I’ve been wanting to try but haven’t been able to justify spending my own money on?” My best friend raves about infrared saunas, so I went on a google hunt for one locally. In my search, I came across Flo2s that had a deal for a session in the infrared sauna and float therapy.
I have seen multiple YouTube videos about float therapy, or sensory deprivation tanks, and they intrigued me. What would that experience be like? I decided I wanted to find out. So I got the gift card and scheduled my appointment.
There was a little mix up, so instead of doing both the sauna and the floating tank, I ended up having a 90 minute floating session. It’s cool – I still have some left on the gift card so I will be back for a sauna session soon. Stay tuned for that 😉
If you want to try it, here’s what you need to know before going.
- Don’t shave that day because we can get microtears and the salt will make it sting
- If you’re a contact wearer, take them out before your session
- They suggested no caffeine the day of – I followed this
- Don’t eat a big meal beforehand, but also make sure you aren’t hungry
- You can do it naked or bring a bathing suit
After I found the building and filled out the waiver, I was taken to my little room for the next 90 minutes. It was a bit of a process before you could jump right in and float away. But don’t worry, they explain it all and there’s an instruction sheet on the wall.
You first enter a small shower room that has a cute shelf with a big towel, face towel, and ear plugs. Before getting into the tank, you put in the ear plugs. Next, you have to shower from head to toe and completely rinse off any dirt or grim that has built up on your body. Of course I couldn’t figure out how to get the water hotter, so my shower was quick and to the point. I used the shampoo, conditioner, and body wash provided and rinsed it out as fast as possible. And then it was time to head in.
They recommend taking in the face towel and setting it up on the rail that’s on the inside of the tank door. I highly recommend you do that. If you have an itch on your face, you’ll want to wipe off your hands first, or use the towel directly. Don’t get salt in your eyes!
There’s a small strip of lights on one wall so it’s not pitch black initially, but once you’re settled in the tank, you can choose to keep the lights on or turn them off. I kept them on for a few minutes, but I decided to flip the switch. It was a great decision because after that my experience completely shifted.
When you step into the water, it’s warm but not hot. The idea is that it’s around the same temperature as your body. The longer I was in there, my perception of the temperature changed. It never felt cold or hot, but sometimes it felt warmer, sometimes cooler.
Admittedly, it took me a while to get settled. The guy who explained the system told me to relax my neck as much as possible. We don’t realize how much tension we hold in our neck and shoulders until we float and feel like we have to support our head. Truth. I spent the first few minutes asking myself, “Is my neck relaxed? Am I holding tension? Is this right?” I would interlace my hands behind my head for a few moments and then let go. If I felt tension coming back in, I’d give my head a little shake from side to side. It took some time, but I finally got it. Honestly, if he hadn’t told me, I’m not sure I would have thought about it at all.
I also have a very busy mind. I kept thinking about stuff I needed to do, what I wanted from the grocery store, what my future might look like. You know, simple stuff. To quiet my thoughts, I shifted gears and treated it like a meditation. I focused on my breath. I did one of my favorite awareness techniques from the Headspace app – think to yourself, inhale – 1, exhale – 2, inhale – 3, exhale – 4, and make your way up to 10. Then you start back at 1. I repeated this for a while, but eventually it began to fade.
From here, I’m not really sure how to describe the experience. My brain went still. I don’t think I fell asleep, as I remember having some thoughts and noticing physical sensations, like a tingle in my left arm. But I couldn’t tell you any of the thoughts I had. I vaguely remember thinking about yoga and teaching, but that’s all I can recall.
Before I knew it, I came back to reality with no clue how much time had passed. I continued to float for a few minutes, feeling a little fidgety. I turned the lights back on, regretted that decision, and turned them back off. I also wanted to make sure I got a photo for this post before I left, so I hopped out, snapped a few, checked the time (I had less than 10 minutes left), and jumped back in for the last few minutes.
They cue you to get out by feeding in soft music. After the quiet, you notice it even through the ear plugs. I opened the tank door back up, used the rail to help myself out, showered again to wash off all the salt, and changed back into my street clothes.
After being still for so long, I felt like moving. Luckily I parked my car a few blocks away, so I took my time walking back on what had turned out to be a beautiful day. I grabbed the snack out of my bag and munched on my way back home. Despite feeling the need to move, I also felt very calm. I rolled the windows down, put on the Lumineers, and drove home in peace.
My little burst of energy did not last long. Later in the afternoon a surge of sleepiness hit me. I was also incredibly thirsty the rest of the day. I drank at least twice the amount of water I normally would have. But all in all, I felt pretty great. I went to bed early that night, and woke up the next morning feeling refreshed.
Are you curious about trying float therapy too? Let me know in the comments! And if you’ve tried it, I would love to hear about your experience.