My intrigue with Floatation or Deprivation Tanks began back in college while I was exploring dream studies for my art. The book I was reading discussed how deprivation tanks emulated the feeling of weightlessness often experienced in a dream state. This idea of being weightless without any visual or audible stimuli completely fascinated me. The interest was further stoked by listening to Joe Rogan discuss the benefits of his personal float tank. Finally, after listening to Sam Guay during her One Fantastic Week interview (10:00 in the interview) discuss how she felt the tank recharged her and her creativity, I knew it was time to finally try it myself.
Lucky for me, Gravity Spa is located near me in a tree-nestled neighborhood and offers this service. I arrived early and had a chance to wander around before speaking with Kat. She was finishing up the “deep clean” on the room I would be using and asked if I would like any water or tea before my float. Gravity Spa is not a super posh, afraid to touch anything space. I immediately noticed how clean the space was, even with the subdued lighting. There was a hint of incense in the air and art everywhere. I had a chance to speak with the owner, Melony, who herself is an artist. She told me how it was really important for her to create a space that not only encouraged relaxation and rejuvenation, but also creativity and expression. I felt right at home!
So it was time for my first float. I was super excited and a bit nervous. Would I be scared? Bored? Inspired? The time was here and it started with a shower. Just a quick rinse with their pre-soak solution to remove any soaps, deodorants, etc. before hopping in the tank. I really liked this little corner of the room with it’s beautiful teal subway tile. This space was super lovely after the soak too with provided shampoo, conditioner and soap to remove the salts.
The tank itself was larger than I expected and made me think of 1960s spacecrafts. It had a hatch at the front and inside was a small amount of water, a water bottle and a foam ring that worked as a pillow. Melony explained to me that the water was filled with salts, which is why you float, and the water bottle contained plain water in case you get the salt in your eyes while in the tank. She explained that the lighting in the room was motion activated so that once I was in the tank they would turn off, but would come back on once the hatch was opened. If you have more questions, they have a Q&A section.
They recommend not wearing a swim suit in the tank since straps and waist bands can distract or cause discomfort, so naked in my private room, I opened the hatch and climbed inside the tank. I had ear plugs on to keep the salt out of my ears, but I could still hear little noises from time to time. This actually made me feel a bit better because I was afraid I would not know when my session had ended. That was one point my mind kept returning to during the session: TIME. How much time had passed and how much remained? The other focus was visuals. When I first entered the tank and closed the door, I could just barely make out the edge of the hatch and there was some light from a fresh air vent. After a few minutes they went away and I was in complete darkness. The cones and rods in my eyes were going crazy and I remember seeing whooshing flashes of the most intense blue/purple color. My eyes eventually calmed down and at one point I almost thought I could see stars. Not the random spattering of stars I see from my backyard, but the stars you see in photos of outer space. Billions of tiny points of light. I remember thinking as I swished from side to side, my hair brushing my back, that I felt like a cosmic mermaid.
At first I was having trouble totally relaxing. My body did not understand that I wouldn’t drown and it took a few to finally relax my muscles and just float. I could hear my breathing and when I made small stretching movements I could hear my spine creak and crack. At one point, my back felt stiff from being so still and from a recent minor injury, so I flipped to my knees to stretch it out. This caused a bit of the salt to get into my eyes and Melony was right, it burned! But I quickly and calmly remembered the water bottle, which was easier to find than I expected, and the issue was over. Back to the float. I enjoyed stretching in the tank. I am 5’7” and if I totally lengthened my body I could just touch ends with my toes and finger tips. I could also almost fully extend my arms to the sides. At a few points I was completely relaxed and I even think I may have drifted off a bit. I can not say I had any shattering revelations, but it was a unique and very pleasant experience. Finally, the soft musical tones told me the hour was up and I made my way to the hatch and the shower.
The stars must have stuck with me, because I was a bit spacey after leaving the room. My skin was really soft and smelled amazing! They invited me to stick around and paint or just enjoy a cup of tea. I drank a bit of water and talked with the owner some more. Feeling a bit like I was glowing, I ventured back into the world to get on with my day. I will be back, thank you Gravity Spa!