Review: Sensory Deprivation Float Tank

PSA: Turn your “pedicure piggy bank” into a “float tank bank” because this was the most relaxing experience ever.

For those unfamiliar, a sensory deprivation float tank is exactly what it sounds like. You’re in a pod or tub that is sensory proof in every way. Extreme amounts of salt in the water allow you to float nearly at contact, and the water of the temperature adjusts to your body’s. Surrounded by sound-proof walls and at times, complete darkness, you are freed from all normal bodily sensations. Gravity, temperature, sight, sound and touch are all eradicated in this unique experience.

Physical tension in your body is completely released and you are able to enter a higher state of relaxation than can’t be achieved by any other method. Past the benefits of calming the body’s muscles, it is the prime condition for effective meditating. To be able to redirect all the energy that is usually used by normal neuromuscular activity can allow participants to obtain synchrony between mind, body, and emotion.

As a special birthday treat, Float On in Portland’s SE Hawthorne neighborhood offers a 50% discount for a float tank experience during the week of your birthday. As someone who has been curious about sensory deprivation tanks for years, how could I say no?

While many athletes use float tanks to relieve their muscles, for me, meditating is my most extreme sport. Daily meditation is essential to my sense of calm, clarity and level-headedness. However, since moving to a busy city, I had found that meditating has been a bit more challenging with the extra distracting noise. The float tank provided me a venue to fully immerse myself into the meditative experience I had been craving.

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The tank had plenty of room to move around in, and the water barely went up to my knees. There were lights you could adjust.

My meditating routine often includes setting intentions of feelings and clarity that I want to come out with after I have finished. Feeling a little lost in this point of my life, I sought to find newfound peace with the present.

To be shut off of all distractions allows your innermost creative voice to be heard. Once I entered the meditative state, transformative thoughts that uncovered light on the direction of my life came to the forefront. Without overworking my mind by any means, I was met with various ideas that clarified questions I had harbored.

One could compare it to visiting a silent library to study more effectively. Shut out the distractions and focus on what you need to in order to achieve your desired results. Without any sensation other than your own consciousness, you can truly learn a lot about yourself.

I would highly recommend this experience to anyone. Some tips:

  • Tanks come in a variety of shapes and sizes. There are some that are larger, even the size of a small room, which can be more manageable for those with claustrophobia.
  • Tanks can also oftentimes come with lights if the darkness is intimidating. Find one with adjustable lights if this is a priority.
  • If your float tank center offers to play music, I suggest playing the music for half of the time and another half with silence. That is also helpful for you to determine how much longer you have in the tank, without worrying about time itself.
  • Eat about an hour before so you are satisfied, but try not to be overly full or hungry to the point where your stomach feels uncomfortable.
  • Enjoy yourself! Don’t let yourself think about all the chores you have to do once tank time is over. Check yourself every time you catch yourself thinking about things you don’t want to be. Be completely present in the moment. You don’t have to meditate, but even just being fully immersed in the experience of floating is incredible.
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