Look, being shut in a pitch black room naked in a new place obviously doesn’t sound too great. But, trust us—it’s actually the shit. And we’re addicted. When we first tried it we were totally sceptical but, after floating, we’re converted if you couldn’t tell. If you’re yet to try floating, it kind of feels like you’ve been wearing foggy glasses your whole life and floating reveals 20/20 vision. TLDR; it’s the best.
We headed to our Float Brisbane to give it a whirl, and spoiler alert, you should too.
Why would someone willingly shut themselves away in a pitch black sound proof tank, naked? Great question. There’s actually a long list of benefits that a whole heap of people cooler than us are already on board with (Robert Downey Jr, John Lennon, Elle McPherson). The sensory deprivation tank means that your brain is forced to totally relax and let go since there’s nothing else for it to cling to. The water is a warm 34.5 degrees, which is body temperature, so you lose understanding of where your body ends and the water begins. That is, you’re relaxed AF. When your mind is this blissed out it means your body can get to work fixing all of its woes: insomnia, aches and pains, eczema, your eyes will feel refreshed and whiter, your body will produce more dopamine, your blood pressure will reduce, and you’ll sleep better. The science-y explanation for why floating is so darn good for you is pretty simple: you brain waves shift from beta state to theta state, so your brain STFU for a minute and lets more productive and creative thinking happen. Thanks, brain!
So what’s it actually like? In a word: epic.
It’s good to arrive 10-15 minutes early so resident float expert, Chris, can give you the lowdown and talk you through what to expect, how to put the ear plugs in and all the other essentials.
We’ll be honest, when you first see the tank it’s equal parts intimidating and space age. After popping our ear plugs in and stripping down, we took the plunge. The water is a lot shallower than we were expecting—it’s only 35cm deep—and so much warmer too. Chris advised us to “trust the water” when you first float so your neck is relaxed, which took us a few minutes to perfect. If we can give you one piece of advice it’s this: you float without any effort at all, so just let go and do as Chris says: trust the water.
The point of the float tank is that it’s pitch black, so it will be dark. You can leave the door open if you want, to let some light in, but we went full hog and shut the door for complete darkness because ~journalism~ and it wasn’t scary at all, it was actually really nice!
After you stop thinking all those irrational thoughts (is the iron still on? Did you send that email?) you drift away and can’t really work out if you were just asleep, or reached another level of zen. The warmth of the water and the darkness work to transport you to a place of 100% relaxation where your mind is totally able to leave your everyday thoughts.
Time feels frozen, yet somehow passes so quickly. When we hear the little tap to signify our time is up we can’t decide if it feels like one second has passed, or one hour. It’s a weird feeling. I can’t tell if my eyes are open or shut, I can’t tell where my body begins or ends and I can see pretty patterns. I think I like it?
FYI: trying to get out is the hardest part. Where is the door? Where are my legs?
We feel calmer than ever, yet at the same time so energised.
We floated three times, over three months. This is the way you’re meant to do it, as it means your body will have time to get used to floating so that over time you’ll become a real pro. We’ll be honest, looking back on our first time we feel a little embarrassed. We were so… bad at it. By our final float we’d learnt exactly how to bliss out and really “trust the water” (as Chris says), we didn’t get any water in our eyes, our neck was relaxed and we were pros at getting out. It gets easier and easier to switch off and relax.
The best part though, is that with each float the benefits increase. As you get used to the experience, your body as able to let go more which means that your brain can properly shut off and kick into theta mode. Be warned though, the post-float feeling is kind of addictive, and you’ll want to do it every day.
The verdict? It’s like the best nap of your life. Getting to sleep is easier for the days after the float, and, our back doesn’t feel like shit after eight hours sitting at a desk, our eyes don’t feel tired and our view of the world is so much clearer. It’s like we were blind, but now we see.
We get it, the idea of floating is totally intimidating. Here’s all the doubts we had beforehand, and the answers we, as pro-floaters, now know.
Nope! Once you let go and relax you can’t feel where your body ends and the water begins, you literally feel like you’re floating in space. Plus, if you’re nervous, you can leave the door open. But, when we tried this we found we actually craved the darkness and ending up shutting the door anyway. The float chambers are also HUGE: they’re over eight feet long, so you won’t feel cramped at all.
Kind of, yes. We thought we were relaxed in our first float, but over three month we realised how much more relaxed we could get. Think of it this way: it's like that infamous Shrek analogy, you're peeling back layers, like an onion so there's only so far you can go in one float. This is why it helps to actually shut the door, the darkness causes you to focus more on blissing out. Plus, after your second time floating relaxing is actually a breeze and becomes so much easier to switch off. Given that you’re floating your body doesn’t need to fight gravity so you find that your brain starts focusing on other stuff, which means it’s easier to relax.
Uh, no—you’re way to blissed out to even think about any gross stuff while you’re floating. But, rest assured, if they did, the cleaning system at Float Brisbane would have the situation well and truly taken care of. Float Brisbane actually has the only commercially tested and certified filtration system, without using any nasty chemicals like chlorine. Plus, before each float the solution is disinfected using Ozone oxidation and UV radiation that kills 99.9% of any ickiness.
Kind of, yeah. Once you’ve floated a few times and you’re able to fully relax your mind lets you see some pretty cool stuff. One of the main things you can see is a sensation similar the Northern Lights—heaps of pretty colours that look like they’re floating out in space.
Keen to try floating and reach ultimate chill? Check out Float Brisbane on our directory for all the deets!
Image credit: Yaseera Moosa
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