5 Mistakes Floaters Make, and How to Avoid Them
When you first hear about floating, there are a few common reactions that you’ll probably experience. You’ll either think that it sounds frightening, too “new agey”, or you’ll be worried about the sanitation. These are some very common initial thoughts that take a bit of reading and research to get past. The truth is that floating is a safe, scientifically-backed, sanitary method of relieving stress and even treating pain. Once you’ve come to realize these things, you’re ready to become a first-time floater.
Every person who comes to love floatation spas is unique, and their experience floating will be unique as well. But we have noticed a few common mistakes made by rookie floaters, which can put some people off from ever coming back. It takes time to get “good” at floating; to really settle in and benefit from the therapy, it’s best to come back more than once. In order to help you feel comfortable coming back again, we’ve compiled a few tips to help you avoid the five most common mistakes we see first-timers make:
Touching the Eyes
Our floatation tanks are filled with a solution of water and 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt. This allows anyone to float, even a person who has never been able to float in water before. It’s simply impossible for the human body to be denser than this solution. As you lie back into the water, it will rise to the level of your temples. Your eyes, nose, and mouth will be completely above the water.
However, one of the big mistakes we see that causes floaters to not come back is getting the water in their eyes. With so much Epsom salt present, this can seriously irritate the eyes. It isn’t dangerous, but it’s also not comfortable. It’s important to get any hair away from your face, and to keep your hands away from your eyes while floating. If you must raise your arm up – to reach for the door, or to reposition – be sure you close your eyes so that no water can drip into them.
Keeping Tension in the Neck
It’s harder for first-time floaters to truly relax in the water. Our brains are naturally inclined to keep our heads out of water (to save us from drowning), so it’s common for the neck and shoulders to be tensed during the first float experience. Despite knowing that your head is more buoyant than the water, it’s hard to convince instincts to give in.
There are a few ways that this problem can be alleviated. The first is to use a small, inflatable pillow to prop the head up out of the water a little higher. This can ease your mind enough that your body will be able to relax more. Another thing you can do is to raise your arms over your head while floating. This position doesn’t allow for the neck and shoulders to stay tensed. Finally, just giving it some time can help. After about 20 minutes of floating, your body should relax naturally.
To Eat or Not to Eat
One of the biggest questions that first-time floaters ask is whether or not they should eat before they float. No matter how often we advise to eat a light meal at least an hour before the float spa appointment, it’s still common for rookie floaters to complain that either they couldn’t relax because their stomach was growling; or they felt too full and uncomfortable from a large meal right before the appointment.
Your stomach needs to be in a totally neutral state to fully enjoy floating. A growling stomach can disrupt your sound-free, relaxed experience. A stuffed stomach can make you feel uncomfortable (and cause inevitable interruptions for the restroom). Eat a light meal, at least an hour before arriving, and be sure to use the facilities before you begin. Avoid caffeine if you can help it, because it disrupts your ability to fully relax.
Expecting Too Much – or Anything at All
It’s hard to predict exactly what your float experience will be like. Some clients report an almost spiritual experience, where they felt connected to the world, connected to themselves, and connected to some idea of a higher consciousness or power. Others simply feel as though they are pampering themselves – similar to receiving a massage or a pedicure.
Because floating experiences can differ so greatly, it’s important not to expect too much, or anything at all really, for your first time. By entering the float tank with no expectations and an open mind, you’ll be able to enjoy whatever happens, regardless of how grand the experience turns out to be.
Not Having a Purpose
As you go on with your float practice, and begin coming in more often to float again, you may want to develop the habit of giving each float session a purpose. There’s nothing worse than getting into the tank, settling into your comfortable space, closing your eyes, and then spending half an hour or more trying to decide if you want to just relax your mind, or if you want to try to tap into some creative thinking.
Instead, ask yourself before you enter the tank what your goal is. It’s okay to not have a goal at all; you can simply want to settle into the tank and let your mind wander. But by taking a moment to identify a purpose, you can take advantage of your entire float session.
These five mistakes can be major stumbling blocks to achieving a truly beneficial floating practice. By knowing what to look for, and avoiding them, not only will your first float be better, but you’ll be more likely to come back for a second float. As your body gets used to the physical sensation of floating, and your mind gets used to the longer stretch of sensory deprivation, you’ll begin to experience the deep benefits of floating.