I arrived a little early to First Float, nervous and unsure if I was really the best candidate to float in a saltwater tank for an hour. Could I relax? Would I get all the benefits experts says one can get from floating? Increased focus, enhanced creativity, reduced stress and pain (sign me up!), self-awareness, and emotional balance. I’ve been doing yoga consistently for three years, so I felt like I had as good a chance as anyone.
“The sensory deprivation chamber has been the most important tool that I’ve ever used for developing my mind, for thinking, for evolving.”—JOE ROGAN
Mariah Johnson, co-owner of First Float, greeted me and showed me into the halotherapy room. I sank down into a chaise lounge that was an off-white version of the leather therapy couches from the 1950s. Soft string music played against the backdrop of a salt wall. Muted lights changed from pink to orange to yellow to green to blue. Honestly, I could have fallen asleep right then and there. But … I was there to float.
Mariah returned and gave me a short tour of their massage therapy room before turning me over to her husband and co-owner Tyler Johnson.
Tyler showed me into my therapy room and explained the process to me:
- Take a 3- to 4-minute shower
- Slide into a tank that had 110 gallons of water and 800 lbs. of Epson salt—the perfect mix to ensure that I would float effortlessly.
- Use a halo ring behind my head if I had neck issues
- Crack the tank’s door with my towel if I had some fear of sensory deprivation. (As a matter of fact, I might have some minor control issues, so decided to take his generous suggestion.)
- Relax for an hour.
- And when I hear the chimes, exit the tank and shower.
He also told me that floating can bring balance. If a person is having anxiety, it can bring relaxation; and if a person is feeling depressed, it can help restore equilibrium. But he stressed that a lot depended on me, that I would need to surrender to the process and relax. In other words, I’d need to let go of my monkey mind.
Once showered, I climbed into the tank and shut the door. Darkness. Maybe a little bit of fear. So I took his kind suggestion and cracked the door with my towel. After a few minutes of getting used to the silence and darkness, I removed the towel and floated effortlessly with only the sound of my heartbeat to keep me company, the 98-degree salt solution holding me.
At first I was a little twitchy. I’d float to one end of the tank and then push off with my toes until my head tapped the other end. I kept trying different arm positions. And my monkey mind began to race. But then something amazing happened. I relaxed and my breathing became full and slow, maybe 3-4 breaths a minute, and I understood why people keep coming back. If you surrender your mind and your fear and your tiny little control issues, you find some peace and calm and balance.
When the chimes sounded, I couldn’t believe I’d been in there an hour.
First Float is a wellness center that helps individuals reach their next level of performance. Services include float, halo, and massage therapy. 16501 Northcross Dr., Suite B, Huntersville. Mon.-Sat., 8am-10pm; Sun. 10am-4pm.