I had a fresh new experience yesterday evening with FloatSA. The theme is something I’ve always wanted to try, namely a sensory deprivation experience. FloatSA goes one step further in having you float in a hypersaline solution that leaves you feeling suspended in the pitch black.
When I first arrived, I was given a wonderful microfiber robe (I love everything microfiber) and my rather handsome guide explained that after changing, I get 15 minutes in a massage chair to “pre-relax” me before the float. The chair was lovely, if a bit imperfect; I was too tall for it to properly do my neck. I hold a lot of tension there, so it would have been nice to really have that spot tenderized but I can’t fault the chair for that. Well I can, actually, but that wouldn’t be fair.
After the pre-relaxation event, I was now primed and ready for the main event — but wait! Before engaging in a Float session, one must also take a shower before and after your float, to save on cleaning agents, one would assume. Fair enough. Entering the room, I get my first glimpse of the FloatSA’s pod. That’s literally what it is: a very sci-fi looking pod that opens from one side. I half expect to awaken 30 years post-hyperdrive flight to find myself orbiting a distant star. Very cool right off the bat!
So I take my shower and center myself, feeling the water, smelling the soap and letting myself calm down more and more. And then I get in naked. The water is quite warm, and lit with a soft purple glow. I can immediately feel a slight resistance to the water, moreso than one would expect. There’s hundreds of pounds of magnesium salt in the chamber that gives one so much buoyancy that when you relax, everything is elevated. I’ve heard the Dead Sea is quite similar, despite never having been. Well for a non-swimmer like myself, it’s a must-visit now.
The music eventually wound down, and the lights went out…Leaving me in the dark. With the earplugs I’d also put in, it was quite impressive. Pitch black, eyes open or shut, and almost entirely silent, save my breathing, and eventually, my heartbeat. I had fun for awhile imagining I was floating in outer space, with a galaxy of stars frozen in place in front of my divine vision. I’d read a few reviews and people describe amazingly intense visions from being in that environment. I found it incredibly easy to remain present in such a strange environment.
The longer I stayed, the more the little things seemed to amplify. My breathing eventually became incredibly loud if my attention dropped and regained. My heartbeat thudded in my ears. Sensations in my limbs really stood out. I did some Inquiry-style meditation, and found a particularly interesting formula that dropped into my brain: “I.” “Know.” “Presence.” Investigating “I,” then “knowing,” and lastly “presence” with that mantra. I lost track of all time in there, but despite not getting much sleep the night before, I only got a bit fuzzy near the end. And I have to say, despite the fuzziness I didn’t really drop off fully into daydreams. I believe it’s because of the lack of stimulus; it was so much easier to remain mindful because daydreaming was too abrupt a departure from sensory deprivation, as opposed to sitting on a cushion.
Eventually, the music started back up to let me know my time was over. I touched a button on the side to cue the lights, and pulled myself back out. After the second shower, there’s a lounge area where one can have “spiritual snacks” like kombucha and granola, color, write and express any sort of creative desires you possess post-float. It was nice but I really just wanted to go for a walk, so I simply left posthaste.
It was an intriguing experience; I did encounter some energetic strangeness halfway through but I’m not ready to write about that yet. There was definitely some post-floating meditation-calm. I think I made the girls at Wendy’s laugh; I had such a dopey expression. I just wanted to smile at people, and I had zero desire to play with my phone or pretend to look busy after ordering. I just stood in place for 5 minutes and sensed my environment while they cooked my food. They probably thought I was high on something but I didn’t care; I felt great.. Fortunately, I purchased a triple package, so I’ll probably have another float this weekend. Spoil myself first (or after?) with the Indian buffet restaurant which happens to be next door..! Does anyone else have Float/Sensory Deprivation experiences to share? Comment below!