How I Tackled My Anxiety With Floating

What is floating?

Literally and physically speaking, dictionary.com defines floating as “resting or moving on or near the surface of a liquid without sinking.” The type of floating I experienced to reduce my anxiety took place at Tao Float Loft in Mariemont. I stepped into a “float pod,” that looks a lot like an alien pod also known as an isolation tank, filled with 1200 pounds of Epsom salt and 11 inches of water that was heated to skin temperature. The isolation tank is designed to reduce sensory input for “total rejuvenation of the mind and the body” as the lovely employee informed me. It is not a complete sensory deprivation tank because when you close the hatch, there is a very small amount of light that is let through.

What are the benefits of floating?

There are many physical and mental benefits to floating in isolation or sensory deprivation tanks including chronic pain relief, alleviation of stress, deep muscle relaxation, mental and physical rejuvenation, and optimization of athletic performance and recovery. I wanted the specific benefit of stress relief and overall anxiety relief. I wanted to go in and completely clear my mind since it is always going at 100 miles a minute.

What was my experience when floating?

Before I entered the pod, I took off all my clothes and put in earplugs. They also gave me Vaseline to put on any cuts I might have had because they would most likely burn while floating in a bath full of salt water for an hour. Needless to say, I missed a spot and it did burn for about 15 minutes (I think).

After entering the pod, I pulled down the hatch and waited for the glowing lights to turn off. Music soothed me into the experience, so I wouldn’t be completely deprived of all my senses yet. The music eventually stopped and there I was, just me and my thoughts. It took me a little while to relax and get situated. My body kept floating into the walls of the pod and I wanted to be completely in the center.When I finally arrived to natural state I wanted to be in, I remained completely still. The water was heated to skin temperature, so after awhile I couldn’t tell which parts of my body were in the water and which were not. The only sensation I experienced was the feeling of my heartbeat and the subtle stinging of the cut on my ankle. After a while, I felt so relaxed that I am pretty sure I fell asleep. But the thing is, I wasn’t completely asleep. I felt like I was in a dreamlike state, similar to what I would imagine lucid dreaming might be like. I wasn’t thinking about my day or the day previously or tomorrow. I was just in the present moment, finally. The next thing I knew, the music turned back on and it was time for me to get out. I determined that I definitely fell asleep because it felt like it went way too fast. I wanted to stay in even longer! The concept of time did not exist in the pod and I think that is why my stress melted away. Finally, as I got out of the pod, my legs felt like jello. My muscles were so relaxed. I felt like I just woke up from the best-rested sleep I have ever had.

Conclusion

I wouldn’t say my anxiety is completely gone because of my one experience floating. My anxiety will always be with me, I just learn how to cope with it each day. However, I do believe that floating gave my mind the opportunity to slow down and turn off from the outside world. It was a much-needed escape. Everybody is different and everyone’s bodies are different. That means each person will have a different experience with floating. Maybe you need some stress relief or pain relief? I encourage you to try it out and see for yourself.