Dan vs. The Flotation Tank

313C9664I had been wanting to try out a flotation tank. Those tanks where you are in isolation for an hour to an hour and a half. The first time I heard about this was way back in the 80’s with the movie “Altered States”.

Now some 30+ years later, a flotation center opened in my city. My girlfriend decided that she was going to surprise me with a session.

The center was located in a very nice building close to the offices of a hoity-toity plastic surgery center.

The attendant showed us the facility and explained everything. He asked if I was claustrophobic. The big macho guy that lives in me said no way, so the attendant led me to my room.

He instructed me to undress, shower and get in the flotation capsule when I was ready. He made sure I understood the procedure and left.

I got in the tank and found the water was neither warm nor hot, I’m supposing it was perfectly tuned at 98.6 or somewhere in that vicinity.

Flotation in a soundproof capsule with enough salt to make you buoyant. Once you start floating, it’s like you’re in the Dead Sea or the Great Salt Lake. You don’t sink.

I got in the pod and closed the door.

Now I started to relax. I never thought that I was claustrophobic r anything, but I noticed myself getting edgy and nervous about the pod being closed up.

As I floated close to the door of the pod, I felt my breath.

I started wondering “what if this thing is airtight?” “What if there is no oxygen in here and they find a pruned up, salty corpse in here?” Not because I drowned but because I ran out of oxygen and suffocated in this airtight coffin.

I got more and more uncomfortable until I decided I must open the door- I would still lay in the flotation tank, but I would be able to breathe.

Since it was so dark, it was difficult to find somewhere to hold on so I didn’t slip while opening the door. While executing my escape, my wet salty hand touched my eyes and they started stinging from all the salt.

They were stinging bad. “What if the salt they used had something else that was toxic to my eyes?”

Oh, no! Now I have to leave the pod to wipe my eyes and face! I don’t want to go blind!”

After several clumsy attempts, I was out I wiped my face and eyes and went back in-WITH THE DOOR OPEN.

I tried relaxing, but realized the room was colder than my pod and I was not as comfortable as I should be in order to be able to relax.


“Ok.-you can do this! Relax.”

As I started to relax, I noticed one thing….pain.

Pain in my neck, pain in my shoulders. I realized I was holding tension there and I should let go of those places if I wanted the pain to go away.

I kept trying, -a little let go but the pain was getting worse.

This is when I became aware of all the stress and tension I was holding on to.

Around this time I start hearing my body.

I can hear my heart. I can almost hear the blood flowing through me and I notice I can hear my joints moving. It’s a weird feeling, since it feels like my even my muscles make noise as they work.

I realize that there is a low-grade buzzing and determine it is somehow related to my stressed mental state.

I have done meditiations where as you relax, you try to be in a state of feeling intense love and radiating love and so on.

I felt that if I did that, maybe I would relax a bit and hurt a bit less. So I got into my mental state: I radiated love, I accepted love, I was love.

The buzzing changed. I got louder and throatier-like a jet engine before landing.

“was that what the yogis are talking about when they talk about the “om”?

But this sound was nothing like any “om” I’d heard. It was louder and much deeper.

As I played around with these discoveries I finally stopped hurting and was able to relax.

And I really did relax….into a dream. I guess I fell asleep. And I what seemed like 5 minutes, the chime telling me my time was up started playing.

Will I do it again? Definitely.

I think next time I will be more prepared and know what to expect.