My First Flotation Tank Experience

Dr. Ben Coupe

April 04, 2016

Continuing on my 2016 mission to test and try a variety of different health concepts, this month’s experience was my first delve into a flotation tank. I did this at Gravity Flotation Centre in Northcote. If you are uninitiated as to what flotation tanks are here is the description taken from the Gravity website;

Floating is commonly referred to as Flotation Therapy or Sensory Deprivation. It involves lying in a pod that contains a highly concentrated Epsom salt solution (600kg of magnesium sulphate) which creates the buoyancy for you to float effortlessly. The water is heated to skin temperature so after a while the sensation of your body dissolves and you feel weightless.

The pod is both sound and light proof which gives your brain the chance to disconnect from the constant bombardment of sensory input and enhance your ability to be cognitive, mindful and introspective. The Epsom salt solution contains essential minerals that leave you feeling deeply relaxed and vibrant as the tension in your body melts away and your body releases amazing energy.

So now to my personal experience…

I was interested in trying flotation tanks for a few reasons. First was my increasing interest in meditation. I have written blog posts on my experience with the Headspace guided mediation app and the Wim Hof Method (has meditative aspects). Flotation tanks describe another level of mental disconnection that interested me. It has also been hugely recommended by Tim Ferriss (Richard and I’s man crush) so I figured I’d give it a shot.

Necessary to this story is my personal state when I tried this. I’d just come off a hugely busy week at work and finished yet another CrossFit competition which are particularly gruelling. Thus I was feeling physically and mentally exhausted and needed this more than usual.

The tanks are all located in individual rooms and have a very chilled and serene environment. Once getting into the tanks there is the option of having it as low coloured light, or completely pitch black. I opted for pitch black as that felt right to me.

The first obvious sensation was the feeling of weightlessness. It sounds corny but it felt light floating on a cloud. When I fully relaxed and just observed my body I could have sworn I was floating through the air or down a river, in hugely relaxing way. I used some meditative techniques for the initial few minutes to fully immerse myself but I found it very easy to switch off. The hour I was in there for felt like about 10 minutes in the end, so much so that I wondered if I had fallen asleep. Ultimately I don’t feel like I did, instead I feel as though time is very different in a low sensory environment.

I came out of the experience feeling extremely refreshed, peaceful and clear in mind. In fact writing this blog three days later, I can say that sensation has lasted. My body also recovered extremely well from the CrossFit competition. Certainly better than many others that I spoke to.

I have two more sessions to go. They suggest booking them within a week or two to get the best benefits. So far the experience has been very positive and would recommended it anyone. I could see myself using floatation for certain occasions, such as when I feel the need to de-stress or if body recovery is required post exercise.

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