Pam and I have been reading and hearing about the benefits of float tanks for a couple years now.
As an example of the supposed benefits, here is information directly from Float Houston‘s website:
“The effects of the tank greatly lessen tension on the muscles, nervous system, sense organs, and brain, which allows the body and mind to enter deep levels of relaxation releasing endorphins – the body’s own natural pain killers. Regular floating has been shown to provide long lasting pain relief for weeks after a float.
Floatation therapy has been scientifically proven to reduce stress by increasing dopamine production and lowering cortisol levels and blood pressure. Within the tank, there is no need to DO anything, no techniques to employ, and no outside stimuli to get in the way.”
Pam bought me a surprise package a few weeks ago and on February 22, I did my first float.
Its taken me a while to write about it because a) I’ve been busy and b) I have actually had to think about the experience for a while.
What was it like?
For me, I can see that it has the potential to be very relaxing and meditative and even restorative. But my first float wasn’t. It took a good amount of time for my neck and shoulders to relax and before they did, they felt tight and crampy.
I haven’t really ever done much meditation, but in the float I did my best to clear my mind of thoughts and focus on the sensation of nothing. I tried to visualize being in space and floating with nothing around.
What actually happened was this….
….you know how at any given moment of the day your mind is thinking of about 10-15 different things at once? What I mean is, in any given minute, no matter what you’re doing, you’re always thinking about lots and lots of things. Well, in normal dailyness, those thoughts are constantly being interrupted by other stimuli…people, sounds, traffic, work, spouse, kids, colors, noises, tv, radio, the physical thing you’re doing…stimulus is always redirecting your mind to some degree.
Not in the float tank. There is nothing there to distract or redirect the mind. So those 10-15 or more thoughts that are going on at the same time…in my first float, they kept going and building and intensifying. So even though there was no external stimulus or input, my mind could not relax because it was THINKING…with full intensity. Not only could I not clear my mind of thoughts…the thoughts were loud and many!
At what must have been about 45 minutes into the float I finally started to relax and right about the time that I started to think, “hmm, I haven’t been thinking of anything for a few minutes,” the hour was over.
I’ll go again. I think it will be a good piece of an overall wellness program. I have sincere hopes that the benefits will increase as my ability to relax and clear my thoughts does the same.
My two main take aways from my first float:
1. I need to meditate more.
2. We spend a ton of time and brain power thinking about and worrying about a lot of bullshit.