My first thoughts about lying in a float tank (basically a massive bath with a lid), lying the in the dark petrified me. Did I honestly think that floating in some warm water for 45 minutes would relax me?
I was wrong – big time!
Although if you are claustrophobic, I probably wouldn’t recommend going into a float tank – but I can definitely recommend most other people after my experience testing one out for the first time at Rest House Float Centre.
What is a float tank?
Floatation tanks, also known as isolation tanks and sensory deprivation tanks, were first developed by John C. Lilly in 1954. In the 1970s the practice also became known as REST, or Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy. Float tanks today are used to effectively treat stress and anxiety, migraines, chronic pain and mental disorders.
Epsom salts are often added to home baths, and this much epsom salt (500kg in 25cm of water) can help to reduce pain and inflammation, soften skin and boost magnesium levels. Why boost your magnesium levels? Increased magnesium can improve your circulation, ease muscle pain, regulate electrolytes, and relieve stress.
The idea is, is you climb in (naked or bathers – whatever you prefer) and lie in silence and in minimal light (or darkness if you like) for roughly 45 minutes to de-stress and relax. The theory behind it is basically that floating makes your brain happy and stress less. Infact, A 2001 study found spending time in the floatation tank showed a strong ability to reduce severe pain, increase optimism, and decrease anxiety and depression (source).
Upon arriving at Rest House I was greeted by Jelena who offered me tea after signing in. There I was ushered into my room and was given the run down; where I’d basically shower off before getting into the pod and putting in ear plugs, stripping naked and jumping in to the pod. There is an optional light, a mist water bottle as well as a handle to open the hatch. After being in the pod with the light on, I opted to turn it off so it was pitch black – that felt less confined to me. I also left the hatch closed, however I opened it a smidge after a while (it can get stuffy), and turned the light off. I was given a neck pillow if I wanted to use it – which I did.
It took me a little bit (it felt like an eternity) to get used to the sensation of pretty much being weightless, and by the time the ‘intro’ music turned off I had relaxed. It was hard to fully relax my neck (even using a pillow), however once I fully let it go and the water lap at the side of my face I instantly felt better.
The water isn’t hot or cold, it’s pretty much body temperature, so you don’t actually ‘feel’ the water if that makes sense. I felt a little weird bumping into the sides, but as I let my mind wander off and as I relaxed more the sensation actually felt good. My mind wasn’t racing with thoughts as I thought it would be and found myself fulling immersing myself in the experience. Little did I know I had drifted off asleep, and didn’t wake until my body twitched (and splashed the water) and frightened myself awake!
As I relaxed again, I felt like I had been in the pod an eternity, but also for a split second it was a strange feeling that’s for sure. By the time the music came back on to signal it was time to get out I found myself disappointed that the time was over. Right at the end, before I got out I tried floating without the neck pillow and found it easier! Oh well, next time I’ll go without.
I washed off the epsom salts in the shower and shampoo’d and conditioned my hair. My skin felt amazing and moisturised that’s fore sure.
Costs vary from center to center, ranging from $50 – $75 on average. If you’ve never floated before, head to Rest House Float Center where you can purchase a first time float for $55.
Tips for floating:
- Cover any cuts with vaseline (otherwise it stings!)and wear ear plugs.
- Go naked!
- If you have issues with relaxing your neck, take or ask if a neck pillow is available, as otherwise you will have a sore neck from tensing the next day.
- Go in without expectations!
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. The blogger received a 1 hour float at Rest House Float Centre for review for this blog post. Even though the owners of this blog may receive compensation for posts or advertisements, we always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the bloggers’ own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.