If you’re an avid reader of my blogs, you will surely have noticed that I love checking out holistic health remedies. In fact, when any ailment of any type surfaces for me, it’s my holistic remedies I turn to first, and I adore adding new ones to my arsenal.
So I joyfully accepted the invitation to come “float” in a sensory-deprivation tank for an hour with my client (and newest BFF) Nicole, in the name of attaining more peace in my life… and seconds later, I bombarded her with zillions of questions. “How clean is this tank? What if I fall asleep – could I drown? What if I am a little claustrophobic? Exactly how dark are we talking? What if I freak out in there? How will I know when my hour is up? Why are we doing this again?”
Nicole patiently answered all of my questions (allaying my nerves just enough to get me in the car to at least check out the tank). And it wasn’t until after I had interrogated our float host, scoped the facility, illuminated the tank with a flashlight to examine its innards and marveled at the peaceful look on Nicole’s face when she got out of the tank that I ultimately decided to hop in myself.
According to our good friend Wiki: “An isolation tank is a lightless, soundproof tank inside which subjects float in salt water at skin temperature. They were first used by John C. Lilly in 1954 to test the effects of sensory deprivation. Such tanks are now also used for meditation and relaxation and in alternative medicine. The isolation tank was originally called the sensory deprivation tank.”
While I was waiting for Nicole (because I made her go first), I began skimming through The Book of Floating by Michael Hutchison, which had been left on a table in the waiting area. The book touts that floating can:
I also learned from this book that the tank contains 10 inches of water with 800 pounds of Epsom salt and is heated to 93.5 degrees (the temperature of the surface of the skin).
Armed with information, I showered, put in the earplugs that were provided (to minimize noise and disable the salt from getting in the ears), hung up my robe (you can wear a swimsuit or go naked) and stepped carefully into the capsule (a rectangular shaped box that measures roughly 8’ x 5’). Sound was piped into the unit, and I listened to waves crashing, followed by the soft chanting of the word “om” for five minutes. Then it was silent (until the waves began again after an hour to alert me to get out). The first thing I noticed is that you couldn’t drown yourself if you tried (yes, I tried). The salt makes you very buoyant and keeps your head resting comfortably above the water.
But quite honestly, I did not have a great first experience in the tank. After I had been in there for probably 10 minutes, my own body temperature began to heat the capsule and I noticed the air become warmer and more humid. I psyched myself into thinking I was having a difficult time breathing, but I think it was more a matter of me being a claustrophobe. As instructed, I cracked open the hatch with the towel that had been left for that purpose. The remainder of my hour was spent trying to get comfortable. The stress and tension that I carry in my neck and shoulders was significantly intensified due to being in ergonomic perfection, and I stretched and moved and fidgeted endlessly in an attempt to “release and just be.”
I felt a little dizzy when I exited the capsule and surprisingly noticed a deep calm feeling that overcame me. I felt sleepy and relaxed the rest of the day, and I noticed that the tension in my neck had gone down quite a bit. I was really proud of myself for making it through the hour, since I had been so (ridiculously) apprehensive. I’m definitely planning on floating again soon, and I suspect that this will become something I do regularly for stress release and a nice helping of that euphoria too, I hope!
If this sort of therapy sounds interesting to you, check out www.flotation.com where they list lots of locations that offer this around the world. We floated in Los Angeles at the home of one of Nicole’s friends, Ed, who is a movie producer. He told us that floating is a fairly popular pastime with many of the celebrities in LA. In fact, he named a few actors whom he knows also own their own tanks. Ed has opened up his private tank to the public and created a meditative retreat where couples, groups or individuals can relax and try this unusual therapy. Learn more at www.ifloatspace.com.
A sign I saw in Ed’s home reminds us, “The word LISTEN contains the same letters as SILENT.” Silence is what this therapy is all about, because there is almost nowhere else we can attain pure silence. And silence results in a deep quieting of the mind, bringing about restorative transformation (I am told).
Kimberly Armstrong is a Permanent Makeup Artist & Educator who has been designing natural-looking Permanent Cosmetic procedures for almost a decade. If you’re interested in Beautiful Brows, Smudge-Free Eyeliner or Luscious Lips, be sure to check out www.beautymarksbykim.com or call 949-466-0080 for more information.
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