A Review: My Experience in a Sensory Deprivation Float Tank

Have you heard of floating? Yeah, it’s a thing.  You get into a pod with about a foot of water and 900 pounds of Epsom salt.  As soon as you slide in you bob like a cork, water reaching over your ears but somehow not covering your face.


Here’s what floating is supposed to be (as described to me by many people and the wonderful world of the internet):

  • Freedom from your senses: You’re floating in a pitch black pod. In water the same temperature as your skin so you lose the sensation of touch. You have ear plugs in.
  • Relaxation like you’ve never felt before: 90 minutes in said pod, where some fall asleep or get to the place just before sleep where your brain produces theta waves. It’s science.  And supposedly magical science that will change your life forever.  My dear friend said it felt like he slept for a week.  So you can see how attractive that was to me, a pregnant mother of a potty training toddler.
  • Recovery from all that ails you: Luckily for me, I would test this theory. I had worked out the day before and was pretty sore.  Then, I took a hard fall due to the slick conditions and probably cracked my knee cap.  Plus, my shoulder is still jacked up.  I was in prime condition to be whisked away from my tiny world of pain.
  • A euphoric experience: Apparently, when you’re THAT relaxed, creative types write novels and come up with their next big ideas. Athletes feel connected to their bodies and their teams (The Cubs have these in their club house, and some contribute their World Series win to these pods). My Chiropractor had an Inception-like experience, with deep conversations with people from different time periods.  Another friend felt a connection to his unborn child.


As you can see, my expectations were pretty high.  So high.  Too high.  So here’s what happened for me in the tank:

  • I buckled under pressure: It’s like when you NEED a nap, but only have a short amount of time. Or you know you’re getting up at 4 a.m. so you force yourself to sleep early.  And of course you can’t sleep in either situation, because you’re continually telling yourself to sleep.  And then getting mad when you’re not sleeping.  And finally deciding it’s not worth it and maybe you should just quit.  That’s what I was going through in this pod.  I wanted to badly to “get there” that I got nowhere except to a place of negative self-talk about how I wasn’t “getting there.”
  • Too many distractions: First, I had a hangnail from days past. Submerging that in salt water for 90 minutes was not the most pleasant of experiences.  At one point, my nose itched, so I itched it and a drop of salt water got inside my nose, carrying the burning sensation through my nose and down my throat.  And for my biggest distraction, see below: A float within a float.
  • I got a migraine: My ginormous pregnant belly made my middle extra buoyant, leaving my head and neck to overcompensate. My neck muscles got so sore and tired, that I kept trying to figure out a comfortable position – using the floating head rest, hands behind the head, or hands under the neck.    And all that strain gave me the start of a muscular migraine, which I didn’t recover from until I actually slept that night.
  • I got cold: The water temperature is the exact temperature of your skin, so in theory, you’re not supposed to feel any sensation of hot or cold. But when you can’t get comfortable and keep moving your various body parts in and out of the water, plus, your big fat pregnant belly submerged once and now floats above the water, you do get cold.  And there’s nothing worse than being cold while you’re trying to sleep in a lukewarm bathtub.  Am I right?
  • A float within a float: The main reason I didn’t have an enjoyable float? Because my baby was floating around inside of me!  Kicking and rolling and having himself a regular blast!  The entire time.  Which, although wonderful and miraculous and blah blah blah, is not relaxing.

So, should you float?  Sure!  Give it a go!  The guys I went with absolutely loved it and are planning monthly visits.  I wouldn’t recommend it while you are pregnant, but I think it has definite potential.  Next time I’ll be sure to go baby-free, scratch and hang nail-free, and most importantly…expectation-free!


P.S. This didn’t cross my mind, but next time!

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