The Float Carolina Guide to A Great Float
Are you interested in trying a session in a sensory deprivation tank, but feeling a bit intimidated by the idea? Understandably, there are a number of common questions and concerns that come up in the course of a given day at Float Carolina. After all, there is something very sci-fi about the idea of suspending the body weightlessly in an egg-shaped pod full of solution 10x as salty as the ocean! Everyone who has ever gotten inside a float tank for the first time has demonstrated both bravery and an open mind. I'm proud to report that, for the overwhelming majority of floaters, the experience is a deeply relaxing, incredibly peaceful, and sometimes revelatory experience that can provide insight into both the physical body and the workings of the conscious mind.
As float facilitators, one very important part of the job at Float Carolina is helping set expectations for new guests, and providing useful information for the sake of maximizing the benefits of the float, and enjoyment of the floater. At the same time, it's important that we get out of the way, so that each person can explore the sensory deprivation experience for themselves. Like the Matrix, it is not sufficient to be told what the experience is like - one must experience it for oneself.
Below are some useful and important things to keep in mind for your first float:
Before Your Float (Pre-Arrival)
The day of your float, try to proactively attend to the responsibilities on your to-do list, so that you have enough mental space to be able to fully enjoy your session. Make sure you've carved out at least 2 hours for your visit, so that you aren't rushed. One or two hours prior to your appointment time, drink some water and eat a light, protein-rich snack - this will help with hydration, and prevent hunger cravings during your session. Avoid consuming caffeine or sugar for 3 hours or more before your appointment.
Arrive at Float Carolina 20 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time (i.e. if your appointment is at 6pm, try to arrive for check-in by 5:40pm). All of our sessions operate on a set schedule, so please call immediately if you think that you will be late for your scheduled time.
What to Bring
When you arrive, a float facilitator will greet you at the front desk; if no one is present when you arrive, please have a seat in the front, and someone will help you shortly. Feel free to unlace and remove your shoes, and place your phone on silent (please turn off vibrate, as this can disrupt the quiet for others). At this time, the float facilitator will ask you to sign a standard health department waiver*, provide a tour of your suite, a brief overview of what to expect, and answer any questions you may have regarding your session. You may wish to visit the restroom just prior to the start of your session.
THE FLOAT SESSION
Upon entering your suite, remove clothing and accessories, and double-check that your phone is either OFF or in totally silent mode. Adjust the shower to your desired warmth; we recommend avoiding too much heat, as this can affect your ability to quickly acclimate to the temperature of the tank, which is kept at a comforting 95˚ F. If you wish, put in the provided earplugs. Then, take a warm shower using soap and shampoo (but not conditioner), paying special attention to removing any hair products and body lotions / oils. If you have any small scrapes, cuts, or blisters on your feet, apply a small bead of the provided protective jelly, to avoid experiencing any stinging from the salt.
Now, you're ready to float! Turn off the shower and step carefully into the tank, one foot at a time. Carefully lower yourself down to a comfortable position, sitting if necessary, and pull the lid of the tank down until it rests closed. Then, lay back until you are horizontally flat on the water. Adjust the light in the tank to your desired color, or turn it off entirely. Take some time now to actively 'let go'. This might sound counter-intuitive, but putting the first few minutes of your session towards actively scanning your body for tension, focusing your breathing, and reminding yourself of your intent can make a world of difference.
As you begin to adjust to the buoyancy of the water, you'll find that you do not need to exert any of the effort that is normally required to keep your body upright and moving in the face of gravity. You'll also find it impossible to sink, as though the bottom of the tank repels your body like a strong magnet. Allow yourself to drift around in the water, and try out different positions for your arms: palms down, along the side of your body, or palms up, above your head. The tension release in the shoulders from this is indeed something to write home about.
You may find your mind racing, jumping laterally between ideas, or doing backflips from memory to memory. You may choose to dwell in these thoughts, taking stock of your mental palace, or you may choose to let all of these things drift past, imagining yourself on a tranquil river. Both are valid approaches to your floating experience. If you feel the need to slow your thoughts, though - try focusing on timing your breaths, slowly counting from 1 to 5 for each inhale, and again for each exhale.
Just relax. You're here to feel great, and all that is required is that you let go, and trust the water to hold you up.
At some point during your float, inevitably, the thought will occur that you have no idea how long you have been inside, that it must have been an hour or more, and that you must get out immediately. Let this thought go. Our minds are accustomed to such over-stimulation that, given the opportunity to truly decompress, a loss of timeframe and sense of timelessness can easily occur - this is good thing; lean into it.
When your session is nearing completion - at either the 55-minute or 85-minute mark - soothing music will fade into the tank to gently bring you back to alertness, and inform you that five minutes remain before your session is complete (and our filtration / pump system activates). At this point, you may wish to reactivate the light inside the tank, and, keeping your eyes halfway shut, slowly allow yourself to adjust back to your environment. When you are ready, lift up on the lid door of the tank, and carefully step out into the shower, letting yourself drip on the floor towels.
Enjoy a hot shower as you scrub the salt from your skin, and wash your hair - you may desire to use conditioner now. Dry off with the provided towel. Place your used earplugs, makeup removal wipes, and jelly protectant packs in the rubbish bin. Try doing some deep stretches, bending your knees, and raising your arms above your head; notice the difference in how your body feels. At this time, get dressed, place your used linens in a small pile on the floor, and exit the suite. If you need any sundries, such as body lotion, a hair tie, contact lens solution, deodorant spray, or a hair dryer, stop by the station in the hallway outside of restrooms.
Make your way to our lounge, where you are welcome to enjoy some delicious hot chamomile tea with honey while you bask in the sustained relaxation of your float. Take some time to journal your thoughts, scan a book, or delve into a great conversation with your friend about the awesome experience you just had. Our guests often need a little time after floating before feeling ready to drive, and we welcome you to take as much as you like.
Don't forget to check out!
It's easy to feel spacey after a good float. Before your leave, don't forget to check out at the front desk, to hear about upcoming specials, schedule your next session, and approve payment for your session.
Throughout the remainder of your day, take care to continue hydrating with water, and try to get to bed early to enjoy a full, restful night of sleep. In the days following your float, take moments throughout your day to assess how you feel, and any noticeable lingering effects from your float session, such as feelings of inner peace, contentedness, and diminished levels of chronic aches and pain. To get a sense of what floating is like when incorporated as a regular practice, try to schedule another session within two weeks of your first.
Stay Hydrated - both before and after your float!
Things to Avoid, & Floating No-No's
While there is not much that must be done in the way of 'preparation' in order to have a great float session, there are definitely some things that need to be avoided. For reasons that we'll go into, ignoring this advice can sabotage one's ability to attain the level of adrenal relaxation that is a primary goal of flotation R.E.S.T.
Other Miscellaneous Tips
Floating is easy, seamless, and requires very little, other than showing up. If you have any questions, please contact us at the number below. We look forward to meeting you, and hope to facilitate an incredible session for you soon.
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