DEPRIVATION TANK • Lila's Wellness Experience
I've heard a bit about Floating and Deprivation Tanks, but I wasn't so sold on experiencing it myself until the opportunity arose. I was excited...and nervous. 60 minutes in a pod filled with very salty water. Total darkness. But, I welcome any chance for a new wellness experience and off I trotted to my appointment at Pause Float Studio.
What is Floating?
If you haven't heard about Floating or Deprivation Tanks, here's a short introduction: Imagine a futuristic spaceship-like pod filled with highly buoyant water. The water is mixed with 1,000lbs of Epsom Salt, which allows your body to float, partially submerged in the tank. The top of the tank closes, blocking out all light and sound, and allowing you to sink into deep relaxation and meditation.
benefits of floating for your nervous system
Floating has been shown to have a powerful, positive impact on your nervous system. By depriving your body of any outside stimuli, your nervous system is able to reset. The deep relaxation one feels from floating and sensory deprivation can lead to a much deeper meditative, Theta state. This allows for neurotransmitters to replenish, stress hormones to dissipate and the mind to calm. The Epsom Salts help to restore the body’s natural supply of magnesium, which also reduces cortisol levels and can tame anxiety and stress, and improve sleep! Floating is also very beneficial for muscle recovery and pain.
Here's the Low Down on my Experience
Properly Prepare • Actually read and follow the guidelines for preparation (do NOT shave your legs day-of -- trust me)
Sweat First • If given the opportunity for a sauna session, take it! Or plan to exercise prior to your session. Sweating, showering then floating is a magic blend for optimal cleansing and relaxing.
Be Comfortable • Don't feel ashamed if you can't go total deprivation. Studios offer customizable experiences, so take advantage. I felt a bit sea sick with my eyes closed, floating in total darkness. So, I opened the pod and l let myself gather my bearings for the rest of my float. Listen to music if you want to listen to music.
It's Okay to Feel Bored • An hour is a long time to lay still in darkness, especially without an established meditation practice. I felt bored, but I'm very bad at laying still for long periods of time. I gave myself mental tasks. I meditated and worked on stories, or simply focused on breathing and the feeling of not-feeling.
Give Yourself Time to Reflect on How You Feel Afterwards • A lot of the times I feel myself running from a self-care session straight to work and I don't give myself the time to indulge in the benefits or post-bliss. At Pause Float Studios in Culver City, they offer you a candle lit room and tea to pause and reflect post-float. If you're not offered this, perform it yourself when you get home. Really take the time to soak in all the relaxing and detoxing you've just done.
Drink Lots of Water • Especially with a sauna and float, rehydrate!
If you're not ready to experience floating, or the experience isn't accessible to you, here are some simple ways to elicit similar benefits:
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Overall, floating is not something I plan to weave into my wellness routines.
I certainly felt more relaxed, and envisioning the salt sucking out all toxins from my system was quite satisfying. I do urge you to experience floating for yourself and mold your own experience. One thing that really stuck with me was a conversation I overheard in the studio:
This man was discussing his experience with floating. he floats once-to-twice a week for 90 minutes. The woman he was speaking to exclaimed, "That's intense!" The man responded, sharing his story of being a 4-time cancer survivor, undergoing 12 surgeries and dozens of pain pills. Since his introduction to floating, he's sworn off all prescriptions and is able to exercise and live a pain-free life.
This can be a powerful tool for those suffering from muscular or skeletal pains, anxiety and stress.