Float Seattle – sensory deprivation float tank
We’re going to be adding a new “Try It” series to our blog where we go out and test all things health and wellness related that we haven’t had a chance to check out before. We’ll give you our honest opinion on what we each think, if we would do it again, and if we believe it’s worth the money…etc. etc.
Now, before we get into the nitty gritty details of what our first “Try It” looked like (and what it was was), here’s a little more background.
I (Emily) love and truly nerd out on testing out anything health related, no matter how weird it may seem, if it potentially benefits the body. Kate on the other hand………not so much. She is definitely the more apprehensive one when it comes to trying something that has the potential to throw her baseline. I was the one who insisted on pushing for this new series and wanted to also push Kate out of her comfort zone.
The first up on our “Try it” list…
Float tank aka sensory deprivation pod!
This has literally been on my to-do list for years but with life just getting in the way, it was something that I never got around to trying. Last week I decided to just book a session for us because I was really feeling the monotony of the days recently (pandemic!) and thought this would be the perfect first “Try it” activity. Kate is claustrophobic but I convinced her to join and heavily leaned on the fact that she could always end her session early if she just wasn’t feeling it. We went to Float Seattle where you get your own private room complete with a float tank and shower, so you can shower off before and after you float.
Floating entails getting into a pod that has roughly 1000 lbs. of epsom salt dissolved in only 10 inches of water and is heated to body temperature. You basically become weightless and all external stimulation is removed. All the strain is taken off of your body as you lay on top of the water. This allows people to become incredibly relaxed, and with lights out and earplugs in, you’re supposed to get a sensory depravation effect which can be incredibly meditative.
There are so many amazing health benefits of floating such as:
- Pain relief
- Recovery for athletes
- Helps sore muscles
- Stress relief
- Improve sleep
- Eases body tension
- Reduces swelling/stiffness in joints
- Speed up injury recovery
- And more!
The float pods were way bigger than both of us were expecting and we had the option to leave the pod doors open, keep the blue light on inside of the pods, or have twinkly star lights on the ceiling of the pods. We each floated for an hour in rooms right next to each other and although we had different experiences, we both really enjoyed it.
What we thought about our first float tank experience…
Em: I wanted to go for the full sensory depravation experience and kept all the lights off for the majority of the time, but would click on the twinkly lights from time to time (just because they were pretty to look at). I LOVED floating way more than I thought I would. I usually have a pretty hard time keeping my mind from racing between thoughts but with the ear plugs in all I could really hear was the sound of my own breath, and it was really easy to just focus on breath work in a way I’m normally not able to do. It took about 10 minutes to get the hang of floating and by that I mean, you instinctively tense your muscles when floating so I had to consciously remind myself to relax my whole body.
By the end of the hour, I felt similar to how I feel after I get a massage – so relaxed and body like jello. I did notice however, that I felt drugged tired for a good 24-36 hours after floating. It wasn’t necessarily a negative because maybe that intense relaxation is a desired result, but I definitely wasn’t expecting to feel so tired following the float. Would I do it again? Absolutely, I have said at least 2 times since going that I want to be back in that pod!
Kate: As Em had mentioned I was extremely apprehensive going into this experience. When she first told me, years ago, that sensory deprivation float pods were even a thing I thought it sounded like my nightmare, so I was shocked that she convinced me to try it out for myself. I figured that I would last maybe 30 seconds and was irrationally fearful that the door was going to get stuck or the water was going to raise like some “Final Destination” scene.
I was extremely relieved when the lovely staff members at Seattle float tank reassured me that it was in fact impossible for the water to rise while I was in there and that the door couldn’t lock from the inside. I was also super at ease when I actually saw the pods for myself in person. They were SO much bigger than I was expecting and the fact that I could leave the lights on (I went with the twinkle lights) and even have the pod door ajar if I wanted made me excited to start floating.
So my take away? …….This is something that I’m really glad I got pushed into trying. I was surprised that there’s different alterations you can do to fit your own comfort levels and that you don’t have to do full “sensory deprivation”. I didn’t feel claustrophobic in the least bit and I really enjoyed the floating experience overall. I’m not the best at letting myself relax and meditate without thinking about things I need to get done so having that quiet time where I was unable to check emails or devices took me a little while to adjust to but, like Em, I also felt that I’d had a massage when my hour was up. Besides feeling looser, my body also seemed stretched out and elongated which felt great on my joints/muscles.
I experienced the same extreme tiredness afterwards for a couple of days – it wasn’t bad (like extreme fatigue is) but rather a heavy feeling I’m assuming that this came from being so, so relaxed. The staff member had actually told us that floating helps with shutting off your fight-or-flight mode (which is something we struggle with with POTS ) so maybe that’s why we got so tired!
I’m surprised at how much my view point changed on float tanks because of this experience -I never thought I’d like it, yet alone be happy to go again. The only thing I’d do differently is carve out time afterwards where I could expect to be very tired and not have anything I needed to do for the rest of the day.