I recently had my first sensory deprivation float tank experience.
I first heard about Waxhaw’s Float Carolina from my massage therapist. She told me that floating in a sensory deprivation tank for one hour is as restorative as four hours of sleep. As someone who loves sleep and “Stranger Things,” I had to try it.
Float Carolina offers two sound-proof floating pods, each filled with 1,100lbs of Epsom salt. There’s so much salt in these pods that the water can hold up to 3,000lbs. So don’t worry if you eat a big lunch—you’ll still float.
Floating is said to:
alleviate stress and anxiety
relieve aches and pains
Their website also says that pregnant women can sometimes hear the heartbeat of their baby while floating. I can’t confirm this but if it’s true then that’s super cool.
When I arrived at Float Carolina the owner (Jack) brought me into a room with a large white bean pod and a shower.
He told me not to worry, the water in the pod gets filtered four times between each guest. I laughed and said I wasn’t worried about that. (I lied.)
Jack then told me to take a shower to remove all the oils from my body, put in earplugs, get in the pod (naked) and close the lid.
Before I got into the pod I checked the lid. It closed and opened with ease, proof that I would not be locked in this thing to starve or drown, whichever came first. I stepped in and closed the lid behind me. I laid down into the water (it’s bathtub warm, not hot tub warm) and immediately floated to the surface. I waited a few minutes and finally got enough courage to switch off the tank light.
I was now naked and alone in a white bean full of salt water with nothing but my thoughts.
After convincing myself that the building probably wouldn’t catch on fire while I was inside the pod, I took Jack’s advice and started to stretch. I moved my arms and legs around as much as I could without hitting the pod walls and I felt all my joints cracking.
After my stretching session I just stared into the dark. Had it been 10 minutes? An hour? You have no concept of time inside the bean. I flipped on the light and floated for what I think was five minutes more and got out. I checked my phone and it turns out I had been floating for 58 minutes.
I showered again to get the salt-gunk off, got dressed and left.
My thoughts overall?
Floating is weird, but in a good way. I spend roughly 75% of my waking moments staring at screens, so the silence and darkness were a welcome change.
Here’s my play-by-play recap of the float tank claims:
- Floating improves sleep: Didn’t notice this.
- Floating alleviates stress and anxiety: I had more anxiety while in the tank, but I think this is due to it being my first time floating as well as the fact that not even a heavy dose of SSRI’s can alleviate my anxiety.
- Floating relieves aches and pains: Yes, definitely. My sore muscles and shin splints felt amazing during and after my float.
- Floating increases creativity: LOL I wish.
Want to try floating for yourself? Here’s Float Carolina’s Pricing:
Single float: $65
One float per month with membership: $55
Two floats per month with membership: $99
Mary’s float tank tips:
- They give everyone a wash cloth. Bring it inside the pod and set it on the ledge in case you get water on your face. (You DO NOT want to get that shit in your eyes.)
- Don’t shave before floating. Trust me, it burns.
- Pee BEFORE you get into the pod. Floating makes you have to pee.
- Close the lid even if you’re nervous. The pod water stays warmer with the lid closed.
- Avoid caffeine the day you float. (It interferes with the relaxation.)
- If you’re too claustrophobic for the pod you can still float in a “float room.” It’s the same price but the water is not as warm.
The best part of floating? When you leave you get an “I floated today” sticker. I still wear mine proudly.