There is a growing trend of people seeking peace, quiet and relaxation in a busy, noisy world. Many meditate. But there are many more still who find meditation to be too difficult and unrewarding. This is why floatation therapy centers are popping up all around the country, much like the one I visited in Portland, OR.
You might think that float tanks are some flash in the pan fad, but it has been around since the mid-1950s and there are three locations in Portland to “have a float”.
I went to Mudra Massage in Portland and was pleasantly surprised by the entire experience. I, purposely, did not do any research on floatation therapy before arriving (except for watching the movie Altered States). I didn’t know what to expect, other than I would be in a tank for 90 minutes.
My Experience in the Float Tank
The facility was beautiful and had the typical water feature sounds and spa fragrance in the air. The decor was soothing and elegant. When I was shown the room with the tank I was given a number of instructions that worked to make my experience better. There were towels and toiletries for after the float and shower.
My initial thought when I saw into the tank and was told that my head would be at the opposite end as the door I began to feel a bit of anxiety. However, when I got in and laid down I had no problems with the arraignment at all. There was a very gentle fan blowing fresh air into the tank and there was room enough to sit up. I closed the door (no latch) and laid back. I immediately noticed the incredible buoyancy of the salt water. There is 1,000 lbs of Epsom salt and 300 gallons of water in this tank. I felt like I was on top of the water, rather than in it.
It took a while to get used to everything. It is an unusual experience, but after 20 minutes or so I was as comfortable as a sleeping baby. In fact, there is a distinct resemblance between being in a float tank and a womb (maybe a little saltier, though).
I went in not knowing what to expect, but I did have some expectations for the float experience. I had hoped I would have psychedelic visions and maybe kinesthetic sensations. In did right at first, but after a minute or so, it faded.
What I did have was a relaxing experience void of sights, sounds, smells, and tactile sensations. I was able to completely relax without anything distracting me. I’ve tried meditating many, many times before and I have a hard time because I distract easily and I can hear everything. But in the tank there were no distractions and, like I said, it was very comfortable. The water and air was body temperature and I was being cradled on every inch of the back half of my body. No bed could be this comfortable.
I’m pretty sure I could have had a better experience if I was not so alert, awake and full of energy when I arrived. My suggestion to you if you do this is to not have any caffeine at all that day. I had coffee six hours before and I still felt under the influence. Next time I will tire out my body first with some vigorous exercise followed by 30 minutes of yoga and stretching. A massage would heighten the body’s ability to relax too. Perhaps night would also be better for me.
There are a number of claims of health benefits, some substantiated, some not. As with most things, I recommend doing your own research. Maybe I will write more extensively for you in the future, but for now I will tell you the benefits I experienced.
- Ultimate, mental and physical, relaxation
- Ability to meditate (no distractions)
- Felt refreshed and new afterward
- Chronic back pain went away
Jeremy and his wife Nancy DeLong own Mudra Massage where they offer a variety of massage and
floating. To read more about the founders, visit Mudra’s About page.
- Mudra Massage’s home page
- Information about isolation tanks
- The movie that put the bug in my head – Altered States
Listen to This Episode Here
If you would like to relieve stress, relax your muscles – even those you don’t know are tense – try Floatation Meditation or floatation therapy. There are many different names, but the result is the same. I was curious. I tried it. I’ll do it again. How about you? Are you up for something new?
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