Floatation therapy has been proven to help ease pain, relax the body and mind, and reduce stress in an incredibly unique way. Your float center takes every step possible to make your floating experience comfortable and cozy before and after every float. Even so, you may still feel unsure about what happens at a float center or are unready for your first visit. Floating can be a concept that’s hard to describe or visualize as it really has no reference point. Without actually trying it, you may have a hard time imagining what it will actually be like once you’re in the float tank. This can contribute to a bit of anxiety for a first-time floater. But if do your homework, floating for the first time can be a relaxing and amazing experience.
The best way to start getting comfortable with floating is to learn as much as possible before you even get in the water. Acquaint yourself with the float center you’ll be going to by doing a bit of online investigating. Check out the float center’s website or Facebook page for pictures and layouts of the center. This will give you an idea of the space you’ll be spending some time in. Many times, pictures of the center’s staff will be posted online to help familiarize you with the team before you meet them. Watch other people’s reaction videos on YouTube or on social media for their take on floating — keeping in mind your experience may be different. This will help provide a bit of comfort before your visit.
Once you’ve made it to your appointment it’s time to get settled. Make sure you don’t have any caffeine before your float — you’re there to relax. If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to ask the helpful staff. These knowledgeable employees are more than happy to explain what to expect and give you helpful tips to relax. The staff will also be cautious about setting expectations for you while you’re floating. Floatation therapy is a very personal experience and no two people experience it the same way. Just remember why you came and to keep an open mind.
Now it’s time to start your float. You’ll shower before you get in the float tank. This will help you to relax as well as make sure you’re not contaminating the pristine water. Once you are in the warm water of the tank and the lights are turned off (or left on if it makes you more comfortable) you may notice that you’ve lost your sense of direction within the room. This is normal as your balance takes a moment to adjust to floating on the bed of salt water. At this point it’s best to do a physical check of your body to see if you’re relaxing your muscles. Start with the tips of your toes and work your way up to the crown of the head, mentally checking each area of your body to make sure it’s relaxed and restful. If this practice seems a little abstract, try tensing each part of your body as much as possible and then release it (without splashing the water) to relax the muscles.
After a bit of time passes you may notice that you’re having a hard time clearing your head. When this happens, thoughts come in and out rapidly and your mind starts to race. This is common and is one of the main reasons people get disappointed with their first float. Luckily, there are ways to control these darting thoughts with some mindfulness practices. The go-to for many is to focus on breath. Counting or being conscious of your breathing helps to calm and focus the mind on the natural rhythms of the body. Another great way to wind down is to just let the thoughts pass by. Don’t try to answer every question that pops in your head or focus on future plans. Simply acknowledge the thoughts and let them drift away. This may take some getting used to but can easily be practiced outside of floating by simply lying or sitting in a quiet room and focusing on this relaxing technique.
After the float is over, there may be a chance you are not as relaxed as you had hoped. This is why most centers recommend that you float at least 3 times before making a final judgment on floatation therapy’s effectiveness. Some people experience deep relaxation within the first few minutes of floating while others need a few sessions to be able to fully relax. Much like going to the gym, just simply showing up won’t do much of anything. Floating requires a bit of effort to make sure you get the most out of it. With a little practice and the will to give it a chance you’ll find that floatation therapy is simply one of the most relaxing and beneficial practices you’ll ever experience.