Earlier this week I booked myself an appointment at Float Brisbane. I’d never experienced sensory deprivation before, but I had read about it and I found it very interesting.
I had seen the sessions advertised around London before and had always intended to try it out. The appeal of deep relaxation and a state of consciousness achievable only by extended periods of meditation had me curious. Unfortunately, the experience in London didn’t happen. However, floating therapy seems to have taken off in Brisbane and I wanted to seize the chance to experience it for myself.
With a lot on my mind lately, I hadn’t been sleeping well at night if at all. One of these sleepless nights I decided to check availability at some of the float tank centres around Brisbane and decided that Float Brisbane was the right one for me. It was booked. Perhaps, I wondered, an hour long bath in Epsom salt would help me finally get some rest.
Why Float Brisbane?
Good question. I’m aware there are a number of centres in Brisbane offering the floating therapy but I chose Float Brisbane for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, Float Brisbane is a 30 minute drive from my home. It seemed more natural to drive to this location than to get public transport to another centre where I might have become more stressed or anxious stuck in the hustle and bustle.
Secondly, I felt reassured about the hygiene of the tanks at Float Brisbane. The filtration and disinfection process is natural without the use of harsh chemicals and it is certified to the highest standard for commercial use. The air purification system is also compliant to the highest standard.
Finally, I felt that Float Brisbane communicated the concept to me clearly without selling me anything more than the experience I was seeking. I didn’t feel like I was entering a space mission and that I would return to earth a different person. It was a clear, simple and easy process to make the booking online with the option to pay upon arrival. I was booked within a few minutes.
Upon arrival, I was greeted by the friendly staff, offered the yummy lemon and cucumber water and asked to remove my shoes. We went through a first time ‘floater’ waiver document followed by a short induction into the process and how the tank worked. Then, with an assuring “Enjoy your time”, the staff had disappeared and I was ready to go.
Inside the subtly lit room, there is a shower to have a rinse before stepping into the tank. I put in the earplugs provided, open the door to the tank and step into the dark space. The water, maintained at 35’C, comes to a height just under my knees. Closing the door behind me I am immersed in full darkness – although there is an option to wedge the door open slightly if you’re less comfortable with the dark.
I position my body, feet facing the door and lay completely suspended in the water. I’ve never experienced this kind of floating sensation before. I imagine this is what it’s like to lay in the dead sea. My hands are resting on either side of my head to begin with but they soon move interlaced under my head to where I feel my neck is best supported.
The room is completely dark, I lose all awareness of depth and direction and find this slightly unnerving at first. It doesn’t take long for my eyes to imagine shapes and colours that I watch intently. No matter how much I blink, the image before me is the same.
It’s already incredibly quiet in the room and the studio, but wearing ear plugs I’m limited to hearing anything outside of my own body. The air is warm and has a slight smell. You can almost taste the humidity. And with the water at the same temperature as the body, it is almost true that you begin to lose perception of where the body ends and the water begins.
For the obvious reasons mentioned, I wouldn’t say it’s complete sensory deprivation but you do lose your senses to a point where you may feel disoriented. I occasionally had to dip my toes down to the bottom of the tank just to make sure I was still where I thought I was.
Since my curiosity began, I had read the benefits of this experience included but were not limited to;
- stress relief
- increased creativity
- deep relaxation
- improved sleep
- pain relief
- enhanced states of consciousness
- mental alertness
- athletic recovery
The benefits I’ve experienced since floating;
- deep relaxation and a heightened sense of the present
- deeper and better quality sleep
- less stiffness and fatigue
- improved meditation
There are a number of claimed benefits to sensory deprivation or float therapy sessions that I suppose could be achieved through repeated sessions.
After the Experience
At the end of the hour-long float, the lovely staff knock on the tank to let you know that you’re at the end of your session. Somewhat disoriented, forgetting for a moment who I am or where I was, I navigated my way in the pitch black to the tank door. Funnily enough, it was directly in front of me, but that seemed too obvious so I walked around the whole tank to find my way out.
Stepping out into the subtle violet LED lit shower room, I indulged in the natural shampoo, conditioner and body wash to thoroughly rinse off the salt solution. I dried off and exited the room. To the far right of the studio, there are mirrors and a hair dryer available to use.
A very easy payment of $75.00 and a nice chat to the staff wrapped up the experience quite nicely.
Would I do it again?
For the experience, yes. It was interesting and enjoyable. I’m curious as to what further benefits could be achieved. However, I feel like I can get similar benefits from other practices at a significantly lower cost.