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Flotation Tank


This didn’t appeal to me when a Flotation Tank was just a very tiny space in which you crawled to experience the sense of floating in a very salty water tank, but then I read about a new kind of Flotation Tank which was much bigger and airier and I really liked the sound of it.


The main point of the Flotation Tank, whatever its size, for many people, is that by floating you feel completely weightless, without light you cannot see and with wax earplugs and the water in your ears you cannot hear - creating a feeling of nothingness, or as some would call it sensory deprivation.  For some this might feel like total calm, a space for deep relaxation or meditation.  My experience was slightly different.


I was lucky enough to be given several sessions at a new centre in London (since closed down) as a birthday present by some of my old colleagues (thanks guys!)


The centre was lovely, and my flotation room was huge; a massive changing area with my own shower and then a door to the flotation tank itself.  It was normal height with a pool maybe 7 foot by 5, maybe a little bigger.  My “cruise director” explained that when I went into the tank at first there would be some gentle music and light but then after a few minutes this would fade away leaving me in silence and darkness.  He also provided me with some wax ear plugs and showed me a little air pillow which I could use. He also said that many people like to slowly build up the sensation of “no sensation” by using the air pillow or leaving a little light in the room.


Guess what I did.


That’s right, straight in with both feet (literally).  I loved the feeling of floating, it’s even more buoyant than sea water so there’s no way you can drown and it was incredibly relaxing with the music and the soft, soft light.


The lack of sensation also means you lose the sense of time.

(My friend tells a great story about being in a Flotation Tank, but there being bubbles every so often.  Finally she got bored and got out.  When she did the attendants told her the bubbles were the cleaning system - she’d been in there for about 4 cycles... 4 hours!  They apologised for forgetting about her and offered her a free session.)  Anyway this means I can’t tell you how long exactly I was in total silence and darkness before I totally freaked out.  Yes, I had a full on panic attack and scrabbled about until I finally found the door and got back into the changing room.  I also managed to get super salty water in my eyes so I couldn’t see anything.  It was not fun.


I can’t tell you what a relief it was to feel the shower on my skin.  To feel.


Once I had calmed down I decided to go back in, this time leaving the door ajar so that there was a little light, and using the air pillow so that I wasn’t in complete silence, and it was... fine.


A little while later the music came back on and the lights went up in the tank.


It’s not an experience I would ever choose to repeat, but it had its place in that for some reason during that session I decided to try Hypnotherapy (I felt I had some serious trust issues to work out), which was an incredibly beneficial experience.  I guess for me it always helps to remember this one and remember that not every experience is for everyone!


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