Experience in a sensory deprivation tank

Sophia White-

Are you claustrophobic? Maybe this experience might not be the best for you, but if you are a person who just needs a little bit of quiet, muscle relaxation, and respite for your senses, I would highly recommend trying a sensory deprivation tank. It is a different experience for everyone. When you float, you get your own room with a floating tank, shower, robes, towels, and (usually) a varieties of shampoo, body wash, and lotion. At first, I thought it would be some sort of lab with a tank they lock you in, but they give you free reign within your own room and tank. You can open and close the door to the tank, turn lights on and off in the tank, and use floaties for your head. It is a lot more of an autonomous experience than I thought before becoming an avid floater.

There are some things you might notice when floating that could freak you out, like hearing your heart beating, hearing your breathing, and feeling uncomfortable naked. Well, luckily you can use the little earplugs they provide and wear a swimsuit if it makes you more comfortable. Many floaters will say that it is an experience worth having regardless.

Each floating business looks different and offers a different experience as well. I have only gone to two different places, but one has a bigger room with a smaller tank and is more interactive and the other has a smaller room with a bigger tank (more like a mini pool) and less interactive. When I say interactive, I mean the staff can interact with you during the experience in terms of playing calm music in your room and the services they offer you after you’re done (reading books, newspapers, or drinking tea).

Even with these different options, floating has been a meditative, spiritual experience for me. I felt like I was back in the womb but in the embrace of salt water. Usually, when I am in floating tanks, I sing spiritual Latin music and pray. These are things I normally would not do alone with myself on a day-to-day basis. It really makes you self-reflect on yourself and your place in the world. It is easier to connect with your own thoughts and your own body – giving yourself some much-needed attention. If you’re a person not comfortable being alone with yourself and thinking too deeply about things, then this might be an uncomfortable experience for you, but it is definitely worth the try.

College can be stressful and leave you feeling heavy from your day. For me, I have a big problem with jaw clenching and stiffness in my upper neck in my sleep. It has become such a problem that I feel it daily, and I need to wear protective aligners when I sleep so my teeth aren’t as affected by my nightly teeth clenching. It is a constant headache.

But with floating, every time I have gone floating I feel that heaviness lifted off of me like it’s a shawl. Muscles relax and soften. My body fully melts into the surface of the water including those upper areas that get really tense throughout the day. In reality, it is just my body giving way to gravity and floating on a bed of salt water. So if you suffer from any chronic pain on a daily basis, I would recommend it to you most.

Our bodies tend to stay in a state of tenseness due to overwhelming schedules and chaotic lifestyles that come with a society like the one in the United States. I understand that there is this need to keep going and use your body to the fullest of its ability, but it will cease to work if you don’t give it a break. Your mind will stop being able to process thoughts if you overwhelm yourself with one thing on top of the next.

That is why I think it is important to practice aiding your mind and body with different acts of meditation like that of floating. If I have not iterated this enough, floating helps rejuvenate necessary functions in your body and mind. After a 30-minute or 60-minute session, you can take a nice hot shower, get in a warm robe, and drink hot tea. It takes a whole other level to self-care. One that is important to nurture. So keep floating/sensory deprivation tanks in mind if you’re wondering what good self-care activity might really benefit you in the next coming weeks, especially after all those midterms.

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