One of my main goals in this life is to fully align my mind, body and soul. Through this search I have found a plethora of techniques that have helped me to focus on the present and leave the past and future where they naturally rest. My latest venture took me to Float, San Antonio’s premier float spa and sensory deprivation tank center, located at 4535 Fredericksburg Rd.
First, what is floating?
Floating is a way to pause the hectic, over-stimulation of daily life and enter a state of pure mental and physical relaxation. By removing the endless stream of sensory input, your mind has a chance to recharge, rest, and recover with renewed perspective and energy. So how do we do all this? With the float tank, also known as a pod, sensory deprivation tank, or isolation tank.
They vary in size, but the typical tank is 8′ long and 5-6′ wide. They are enclosed, but the door never locks or latches. It holds about 10″ of water, which is saturated with 1000-1,200 pounds of Epsom salt. This creates a solution more buoyant than the Dead Sea, and you float on your back about half in and half out of the water. The water is kept at a constant temperature of around 93.5 degrees which soon becomes almost imperceptible because it is the exact temperature of your skin! The line between the air and the water becomes blurred which can feel as if you are floating in space. As you enter the tank there will be light music and soft lights. The tank is sound proof and once the lights and music fade out, there is no visual or auditory stimulation.
When I first read that I would be enclosed in a small space, my hands began to sweat. I have a slight (ok, perhaps it’s larger than I care to admit) form of claustrophobia and the thought of being in a pod for 60 minutes was slightly terrifying.
The first question I asked upon my arrival is, “How do I get out of here?” Jeremy, the owner and executive director of Float, assured me that all I had to do was press on the door. He then showed me the larger zero gravity tank that would make my floating experience far more pleasurable.
After our robes were on we began our 15 minute session in the Zero Gravity massage chair. I appreciated this time immensely because I was able to relax before entering the zero gravity tank. Jacqueline was going to be in the traditional i-sopod.
When the massage time was up, Jacqueline and I headed to our Float rooms and after a quick shower, I found myself floating amongst darkness, and peace. I don’t believe I had any worries flood my brain, besides the present one which was my irrational fear of being locked in a tank. Once I reassured myself through positive talk and deep breathing, I was able to float. When I say I didn’t worry, I mean I didn’t even have to actively keep my mind from wandering into the depths of my endless thoughts. They merely didn’t come up because of the sensory deprivation.
When I emerged I felt a sense of strength for overcoming yet another fear and I felt a calmness that lasted with me throughout the week. Float also features an area to experience after your float – a room with art along the walls and notebooks and sketchbooks for everyone to use. I spent the first few minutes outside of the tank reading about the experience other floaters had before me.
Will I be going back to float anytime soon? Yes! I feel that floating will continue to alter my life for the better and remind me to always focus on the present moments, for that is all we have.