Floated in an Isolation Tank

26 Oct

Have you ever seen that Simpsons episode where Home and Lisa lie in isolation tanks? When Lisa experiences a hallucination wherein she becomes the family cat and Homer believes that, when his isolation tank is reclaimed by repo men and dropped down a hill, he has also gone on a wild mind ride? I’ve done that. Floated in the isolation tank, that is, not been inadvertently repossessed.

I was at home for Christmas when a Groupon came up to try a floatation tank for an hour. It was £15 and I was curious, so I bought it. When I eventually booked the float, I was nervous. I was hoping to have tried this with someone else, but there were no takers. So I went on my own. I read up on floating before my appointment, and I found out that I was expected to go into an isolation pod and lie, sans-bathing suit, in Epsom salt laden water. In the dark. Um…what?

The floatation tank

When I arrived, I had to fill in forms, read an instruction booklet, and have a brief introduction. This seemed a very intense process for an hour in a float tank. I was taken to my own private room and told to rinse off in the shower, use the ear plugs, and that if I fell asleep in the tank the music would wake me. I climbed into the orange and white pod and closed the lid from the inside. Too nervous at first to turn off the lights (what if I got claustrophobic  and freaked out and panicked and drowned??). Eventually, sometime after the initial relaxation music faded away, I managed to turn off the pod’s internal light. I was in darkness, floating on skin temperature salt water. I couldn’t hear anything, I couldn’t see anything, and I couldn’t feel anything. It was scary. And then it was kind of cool. And then it was relaxing. And then it was nearly impossible to leave at the end of the hour.

The pod open

The pod open

I don’t blame anyone who hasn’t tried it for asking “why?!” but after one experience in a float tank, you’ll never ask that question again. When you lie in the tank, you are completely weightless and each and every muscle, bone, and tendon has a chance to rest. The darkness and silence coupled with the fact that the water temperature so closely matches your skin temperature that you can’t tell what part of you is wet and what is dry, gives you the chance to completely shut off from the multi-sensory outside. The more relaxed and shut off you are able to become, the more you get out of the float. Forgive the new age bullshit. Just think of that moment right before you fall asleep when your thoughts are random and make no sense and you feel slightly loopy. If you can shut your brain up long enough, that’s the feeling you can achieve in a float tank and it can come and go over the hour, lasting a few minutes at a time. That alone is worth it.

I’ve become a regular floater now, nabbing every Groupon that comes up. At £45 per float, it would be an expensive habit. But since I’ve always gone for half price or less, it’s become a viable way to relax and feel amazing. And I’m going to miss it dearly when I leave London.

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2 Responses to “Floated in an Isolation Tank”

  1. Float Spa Locator March 9, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

    Hi! Just because you’ll be leaving London doesn’t mean you have to give up floating. Visit our isolation tank / float spa directory at http://floatation.biz. Thanks for sharing your floatation experience. 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Reading Digest: Marge Costume Edition « Dead Homer Society - October 28, 2011

    […] Floated in an Isolation Tank – A first hand account: Have you ever seen that Simpsons episode where Home and Lisa lie in isolation tanks? When Lisa experiences a hallucination wherein she becomes the family cat and Homer believes that, when his isolation tank is reclaimed by repo men and dropped down a hill, he has also gone on a wild mind ride? I’ve done that. Floated in the isolation tank, that is, not been inadvertently repossessed. […]

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