Drift away – my first float tank experience

Monday, June 2, 2014 Permalink

I’ve talked a bit here about my busy mind and the fact I struggle to relax. In fact I often try to force the zen more than I should and sometimes feel as if I’d try almost anything.

Which is why – although I was about a decade late to the party – in the mid 2000s I decided to try a flotation tank.

Friends and I were heading to Byron Bay for a girls’ weekend and on a previous visit I’d seen a brochure for a massage and relaxation centre so scoped it out on the internet before heading south.

After arriving in Byron I called into the centre to see if an appointment was possible and they offered me something straight away – a package deal involving an hour float and then a massage. My friend offered to pick me up later and left me to it.

float-tank

I’ve never tried anything THIS groovy! PS. Note she is wearing bathers!!!

All I really knew about float tanks before I tried my first one was what I’d read (the extreme saltiness is very beneficial and the sensory deprivation can be challenging for some) and what I’d seen on the TV show Absolutely Fabulous.

111994Unfortunately Edina’s experience on Ab Fab involved her being in (her own) float tank for mere minutes but thinking she’d been there for days – during which time she inadvertently adopted a heap of children.

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect but the instructions were fairly simple. Shower before getting in and make sure you cover any cuts etc with vaseline – or the epsom salts will cause them to sting.

Then you pop in some ear plugs and get into the tank (which is actually bigger than I assumed). Close the lid and voila!

I actually had some regular ‘floats’ in Brisbane after my cherry-busting float in Byron Bay but it’s always pretty much the same. Very soft music is played inside the tank and it’ll usually stop when your time is up – a subtle hint that it’s time to get out.

I hopped in, prepared for the dark still nothingness. However, once I closed the lid I realised I could see a slither of light.

agendaDamn! I started worrying I wouldn’t get the full zen experience if my senses weren’t completely deprived. And there was a bloody slither of light. So I manoeuvred myself around and put my head at the other end of the tank.

But my eyes kept going to the crack of light. I knew it was there and it was taunting annoying me. Instead of relaxing I spent the hour stressing that I wouldn’t be as relaxed as I should be. Because of the bloody light!!!

An hour later, my music stopped and I got out. I donned a robe and headed into another room for my massage. It was bliss and I emerged from the centre an hour later to meet my waiting friend.

Miss T was patiently parked across the street and as I ran across to her I noticed that my brand new bathers (togs, swimming trunks – for peeps from other locales) looked strange. They seemed misshapen and were covered in white furry stuff.

Once in the car we examined them. The elastic had basically disintegrated.

“You didn’t wear them in the tank did you?” my friend asked.

“Umm…. well yes.” I admitted. “But the woman in the picture on the internet (stepping into the tank) was wearing hers, so I figured you had to.”

Miss T looked at me with something akin to pity. “They’d hardly include a picture of a naked woman on the site would they?!”

I wanted to argue with her logic but realised she had a point. It was most definitely a family-friendly website. “Ummm… I guess not.” I was definitely pouting by then, grumpy I’d wrecked a brand new pair of bathers.

I must admit – even now – I’d still like to blame the online picture but (if I’m honest) I’m really not good with domestic and practical stuff. I wash my whites and coloureds together. I don’t handwash. I don’t iron. Or I do iron – fabrics that shouldn’t be ironed. Even if there’d been no picture I probably would have worn my bathers into the tank anyway.

PS. I went sans bathers when I did some regular ‘floats’ after that. I know it’s a bit 1990s but I’d love to try it again though don’t think it’s available anywhere locally. 

Have you ever floated? Would you?
Do you ever try to force the zen?

I’m joining the Laugh Link gang again today.

26 Comments
  • Jess
    June 2, 2014

    I have never done anything like this, but it looks awesome. I love the water! I would have worn swimmers too!

    • Debbish
      June 2, 2014

      I’m not a huge fan of swimming (pools or the ocean) but – obviously – love my baths!

  • Char
    June 2, 2014

    I wash my whites and colours together and apart from a few spectacular fails, it’s worked pretty well. And the spectacular fails are surely a good excuse to go clothes shopping. If only I liked clothes shopping.

    • Debbish
      June 2, 2014

      Ha! Same. I recently had a fail as I’d forgotten a new bright pink bathmat was lurking in the washing machine when I threw some stuff in. Most of my stuff was black so it was fine, but my nice white bath towel did not remain white!

  • Renee Wilson
    June 2, 2014

    They should have told you that you weren’t meant to were your togs. What a bummer! I’ve never done anything like this before, but I think I would love to. An hour may be a little long for me though.

    • Debbish
      June 3, 2014

      Renee I later did a series of 1.5hr floats – not sure I ever really experienced the zen though! 🙂

  • Janet aka Middle Aged Mama
    June 2, 2014

    I’ve never done a float tank, to be honest I think I’d feel a bit claustrophobic once the lid was closed. I love floating in a pool though.

    • Debbish
      June 3, 2014

      The only thing I found hard Janet was what to do with my arms. I often folded them behind my head to keep it afloat better. You DO float but my neck and head sometimes felt a bit awkward. If there was a saline-proof pillow thrown in I’d totally sleep in there!

  • Satu
    June 2, 2014

    I have never floated but I would if I got the chance!

    I don’t think I usually try to force the zen but I can get very upset if I hear annoying noises from other apartments when I’m doing formal practice. If it’s bad enough I’m tempted to stop the meditation and continue it later. Part of me thinks it might be beneficial to learn to mindfully observe my feelings of irritation…

    I also wash whites and coloreds together and very rarely bother ironing my clothes. 🙂

    • Debbish
      June 3, 2014

      I’m with you on the zen thing Satu. It occurs to me that part of BEING zen is letting go of the little stuff (other noises while meditating, slits of light while floating) but… I don’t get to ‘that’ place very often!

  • Amanda @ Cooker and a Looker
    June 3, 2014

    I’ve never struck the opportunity, but I think I would love stint a float tank.
    P.S. We have lots in common! The only things that get ironed around here are tshirt transfers and tablecloths! xx

    • Debbish
      June 3, 2014

      Oh see… I don’t have tablecloths. 🙂

      Actually I only have an outdoor table – the joys of living alone and eating on the couch in front of the tv or at my desk!

  • Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me
    June 3, 2014

    I would LOVE to do that but not sure about my jiggling bits floating around and never quite knowing if someone was going to open the lid?! Hate when you’re trying to relax and there’s a sliver of light- especially in my bedroom! Thanks for linking xx

    • Debbish
      June 3, 2014

      Have to admit I felt pretty safe inside the tank. I was more worried everyone would forget about me and I’d go over my time!

  • Neen
    June 4, 2014

    Do you have to close the lid? I think I’d freak out about being in there if the lid was shut!

    • Debbish
      June 4, 2014

      Yep, you close the lid… that’s the point. Dark stillness. Only you and your thoughts… and a tub of epsom salts.

  • HappinessSavouredHot
    June 5, 2014

    I’ve tried this! At first it was hard to relax, but soon enough I got used to the sensation. I had no idea how relaxed I was until it was time to get out, and I walked like a zombie, my eyes still floating in a bliss. 😉

    • Debbish
      June 5, 2014

      Ah yes… am familiar with that feeling!

  • Ness
    April 27, 2015

    You’re a braver woman than me! I kind of have a water phobia and that also seems a bit claustrophobic to me. Shudders.

    • Debbish
      April 27, 2015

      Bizarrely I tend to be a bit claustrophobic when I don’t have fresh air, but I didn’t mind the tank at all. I suspect it would be different if the door didn’t open easily! 😉

  • Mystery Case
    April 27, 2015

    I really want to try this but I’m not great in enclosed spaces. I did a hydro massage once but it’s only your body enclosed for that one. I would have worn swimmers too, so that is interesting to know.

    • Debbish
      April 27, 2015

      Pleased to be of assistance and happy to save someone else’s bathers! 😉

  • Janet Camilleri
    April 28, 2015

    I’ve never tried a float tank but would love to. I love just floating/drifting around a pool when I get the chance. Hubster is so jealous, he can’t float – I told him I’ve got 2 airbags so it’s a lot easier for me 😉

    • Debbish
      April 28, 2015

      I don’t actually float either normally. Thankfully the tanks have enough salt that anyone can stay adrift!

  • Mike
    August 13, 2015

    Hey Debbish – we just opened a Float Centre on the Gold Coast if you ever get down this way… Float Life.
    It is always awesome to hear stories and see the faces of first time floaters.
    Usually the realisation they forgot something, or should have done it differently. Most often though accompanied by that chilled out do I have to stand up and leave look.

    • Debbish
      August 14, 2015

      Great news Mike and I most certainly will!

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