Using the Flotation Tank for the first time?
Many people have some fear or concern before they use the tank the first time. Fears such as being alone in the dark, drowning, not having enough air, claustrophobia, and others. The fears are usually the thought or the idea that YOU won't be in control of the situation, but in this situation you are totally in control. You can go in and out of the tank as you please. You can use the tank with the door completely open, you can keep it partially open, or you can close it. There is no particular way to use the tank that is more correct than another. Any way you use it that is comfortable for you is correct.
When you get to the tank, open the door just to feel the weight of it – it is very light. If you close the door while inside the tank, it is completely dark and that may be disorienting. When you get in and before you lie down, open and close the door several times, noticing how it feels different from the other surfaces. If you try to open the door and it doesn't open, it's not the door.
The Tank is Not Airtight by Design
You'll have plenty of air. To keep the tank air fresher, an air circulation system brings additional air from the room. The air enters at the rear of the tank. You may prefer to have your head at that end.
800 Pounds of Epsom Salt
The tank environment is humid. There are 10 inches of water in the tank with 800 lbs. of Epsom salt dissolved in it. When you lie back you will float like a cork. Your ears will be under water. Earplugs are recommended especially if you have ever had ear problems.
Buoyant Body Positions
You can experiment with the best body position for you. For example, hands behind head, on your chest, along your sides. If you have tension in your neck you can relieve it by clasping your hands behind your head or using a head float.
Keep the Salt Out of Your Eyes!
If you get any salt water in your eyes you will be uncomfortable for a few minutes. To avoid getting drips of salt water in your eyes, push your hair back on your forehead when you change from lying down to sitting up. Also keep your salty hands away from your eyes. If you do happen to get salt in your eyes, have your towel where you can easily reach it, and use it to wipe your eyes.
If you have cuts or scratches or have recently shaved, there may be stinging for several minutes. If you have any open cuts use liquid bandage to seal them. If your cuts are severe you should NOT use the Flotation Tank. This is not only for your safety but for those using the tank after you.
Last Stop before Boarding
Remove your metal jewelry and contact lenses. Shower, shampoo, rinse thoroughly and dry your face before you get in the tank.
Then get into the tank. After an hour passes a staff member will knock on the door to let you know your time is up. When you get out of the shower or tray whichever is in front of the tank.
Your body has salt water all over it which you don't want to drip everywhere. Be careful and walk on the bath mats provided. Shower, shampoo well, and dress. The bathroom has the amenities you need.
Reflects Your Life
At the beginning of each float you can set an intention for what you would like to accomplish during your float. You may also use your float to observe where you hold tension in your body or your mind. You will develop many of your own ways of using your floats. We don't say more because we don't want to spoil your own adventure.
Enjoy your float and check with the front desk for any additional information. Following are some frequently asked questions that may help as well.
FAQ - Before Using
Do I need to prepare myself for floating?
The things you should know are:
- if you shave 2 or 3 hours before using the tank, the shaved skin will sting for a few minutes. If you can postpone your shaving, you will probably be more comfortable.
- If you wear contact lenses, it would be a problem if any salt water got into your eyes. If you remove your contacts you don't have to be concerned about it.
- If you have caffeine before you float, it may interfere with your ability to relax.
Should I eat before I go into the tank?
You can eat. If you eat a very heavy meal you may spend a lot of time listening to your digestive juices. And, on the other hand, if you get very hungry you may spend a lot of time listening to your digestive juices. Moderation works.
FAQ - Who Can Use
Is there a typical tank user?
Not that we know of. People of all ages and walks of life seem to enjoy the experience equally. What seems typical is how good everyone looks when they come out of the tank.
Is anyone not supposed to use the tank?
We don't recommend tank use for epileptics whose epilepsy is not under medical control; for people under the influence of alcohol, drugs, those with infectious diseases, open skin wounds, or those with suicidal tendencies.
Can pregnant women use the tank?
Yes. We suggest that pregnant women inform their physicians or midwives and get their opinion prior to using the tank. The reports received from pregnant women have been enthusiastic. As their bodies get heavier, floating is a great relief from the pull of gravity. Floating has given many women a welcome rest.
Can I use the tank if I'm menstruating?
Yes, if you use a tampon.
Do children use the tank? What is their response?
Yes, we know that children use the tank and we don't know much about their responses. A 7 1/2 year old came to a public center with his mother. He listened to the orientation she was receiving. When he heard about the fears, he said he was very afraid of the dark. Later, when he used the tank, he was asked about the fear of the dark. He said that was a different dark. Night time dark was scary and full of dragons, and the dark of the tank was friendly and nice.
FAQ - Physical Concerns
What effect does salt water have on my skin and hair?
The Epsom salt solution seems to be beneficial to the skin. We have listened to some opinions that say Epsom salt is very good for strengthening the hair. We know it's good for roses, why not hair? You thoroughly rinse the salt from your hair and body when you leave the tank.
Can You Wear a Bathing Cap?
Yes, you can wear one, but it won't keep your hair dry. It may also be too tight around your head to completely relax.
Do you wear anything in the tank?
Since it is a private experience, most people don't wear anything. Anything you wear will press against your body, becoming a distraction. In this regard imagine it as similar to getting into your bathtub.
Do people sleep in the tank?
Yes, some people fall asleep in the tank, and some people use the tank for sleeping.
Is there a right way to do it?
All the ways are right. Each person should find whatever position is comfortable for them. Some people float with their hands at their sides, some with their hands folded across their chest or abdomen, or behind their heads. You can keep your head at either end or sit up if you like. You may float with the door open or closed. Float the way it is comfortable for you and explore what is best for you.
Will I float? I can't float anywhere.
Yes. It is impossible not to float in the tank. Eight hundred pounds of salt dissolved in the water make the solution so much denser than your body that your body is pushed to the surface like a cork. Your face is out of the solution and your ears are underwater.
Can people drown in the tank?
No. Not unless they lay face down in it, and are capable of tolerating the sting of the salt on the eyes, nose and mouth.
Could you get electrocuted?
What if I'm claustrophobic?
People who say that they are afraid to use the tank because they are claustrophobic probably assume that they will be confined to an enclosed space. However, you can use the tank with the door open if you wish. You are in control of the situation and can get in and out whenever you want. You should use it in the way it's comfortable for you. The tank is such an excellent place to go through claustrophobia that if you want to get rid of yours, it is probably the best place to do it.
Is it dangerous to sleep in the tank?
No, it is safe to sleep in the tank. The reason people think it may be dangerous is probably the fear of rolling over. Even those people who say they never sleep on their backs in bed; sleep on their backs in the tank. It is very difficult to roll over in the tank because of the density of the solution, and if any of the salt solution gets in your eyes, mouth or nose, it is an immediate signal that something must be done. You would wake up immediately.
Is there enough air in the tank?
Yes. The tank is designed not to be airtight, so there is a plentiful air supply. In addition, fresh air is brought in by an air circulation system.
Can two people float in the tank at the same time?
No, we don't recommend it. Floating in the tank is intended to be a private, individual experience.
FAQ - The Nature of a Float
How long do people usually stay in the tank?
The first time public places usually schedule an hour. Some people use the tank for shorter sessions and others find 2 or 3 hour sessions very valuable. Of course the "perfect" way is to stay in until you want to get out. You may be able to arrange that in a public place. Experiment with your own time in the tank to discover what is best for you.
What will it be like for me?
We don't know what it will be like for you since it is such an individual experience. The most common reports are profound peace and relaxation, deep concentration and creativity. We like to avoid saying too much before people use the tank, so that they aren't influenced by what someone else says. Not only will it be different for you than it is for anyone else, it will be different each time.
Do I need to float more than once?
Yes, if you want to make use of the potential. For us floating is not a finite experience. It touches the infinite. Most people, but not all, get a sense of what floating will be like after they float 3 to 5 times. Those who see the potential the first time want to return again and again.
Is there a best time to use the tank?
No. This is a matter of individual preference. Some people prefer morning, some prefer night. The best way to find out is to experiment by using the tank at different times of the day.
Will I be able to resume my daily activities when I get out?
Yes. And it may be good to arrange your time so you don't have to rush. Many people enjoy savoring the peace and quiet before jumping into something hectic.
Is there a cumulative effect of using the tank on a regular basis?
Yes. There seems to be a cumulative effect with consistent use of the tank. This is not documented by research; it is the tank users who know it is true. Relaxation is a learned art that needs practice.
Is this sensory deprivation?
The term "sensory deprivation" describes areas of scientific research that consider the effects of reduced environmental stimulation. The words are an unfortunate choice for those of us who are presenting the floating experience as something pleasant, attractive and relaxing. We notice that people run away from us when they hear the possibility of any form of deprivation. As a result we are careful to point out that the senses are fully operational and in fact, the senses are very pleased to be relieved from the prevalent atmosphere of sensory overload. Stimulus reduction is an accurate description of the tank environment.