Getting The Most Out Of Your Float | 1
At Flow Spa, we choose not to belabour the point of what to expect in the float tank because the experience is unique to each individual. There are far too many factors to take into account to be able to say “this is what you’re going to experience,” especially in the first few sessions as you learn how to relax deeper into the float.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t tips you can use to get the most out of your float and bask in that “post-float glow.”
Far from being comprehensive, today let’s look at some of the tips that you can work on applying when you come in to float to take the experience to the next level.
I include this as the first tip because I think it can be the more important one for many people looking to elevate their float experience. Part of the benefit of floating is that your body is given a chance to decompress and dissolve in relation to the environment around you. We’ve calibrated the temperature in our float tanks to be perfectly neutral to skin temperature and have made adjustments in the first few weeks to be sure that it is at the perfect comfortable temperature for virtually everyone coming in to float. This means that you’re not supposed to be able to FEEL that you are in water across most of your body or even be able to tell the difference between the air temperature and water temperature. After some thought and experimentation with this, I’ve come to realize that a very important step in nurturing this physical sensation dissolution is to practice remaining perfectly still once you set into your most comfortable position.
Movement means that part of your brain is firing, whether you’re feeling restless or just fidgeting.
The other reason to limit movement is that movement has a convective effect in the water, which will draw heat out of your core quicker and temporarily give you a cooling sensation at your skin as that heat is pulled away from your body. When you remain still everything in the float tank system, including your body, is in a perfect balance. Movement in the water is much like the cooling effect that standing in front of a fan while sweating in the summer heat has. The water draws heat out of the body and cuts through that vapour barrier that our bodies possess.
Slowing Your Breathing
The float tank is conducive to slowing down your breathing already because you are letting everything in your body relax deeply, which frees the diaphragm to take in fuller and deeper breaths and also allows you to hyper-oxygenate because all of your muscles are relaxed and not requiring copious amounts of oxygen for any demanding work.
Many people never take full and deep breaths though so it can be a new and different experience the first few times in the float tank to allow your body and your breath to fully relax and deepen.
I often advise starting with a box breathing style of 4-4-4-4 where you:
-breathe in for a count of four
-hold your breath for a count of four
-breath out for a count of four
-hold the bottom of the breath for a count of four
The Japanese Society for Hypertension has shown that even 1-minute of deep breathing (5-6 breaths depending on the cadence and method you’re using) can significantly reduce blood pressure. Spending an hour like this in the float tank, therefore, has a dramatic impact not just on mental wellbeing but on many physical markers of health as well.
Some people prefer to count their breaths. When doing this style of deep breathing and meditation I like counting up to ten and then starting over. Holding any larger numbers in the mind can take away from the peace of mind you are looking for and if you’re deeply relaxed, even counting to 10 can become a challenge without losing track but whenever that happens you just start over.
Come in with permission to relax
We all lead busy and distracted lives. It’s become a pervasive issue for many people which is why I believe the reset of floating first and foremost teaches all of us the value in practicing mindfulness in whatever way comes naturally to you daily. It’s not realistic for everyone to float more than once a month but trying to go 30-days with only one hour of mental peace of mind is also not a good strategy.
When you do come in to float though you want to pamper yourself with the experience as much as possible.
Turn off your phone or put it in airplane mode so that you can reap the most benefits of not letting your mind instantly get distracted again. Make a day out of it or at least a few hours by hanging out in our lounge before heading back out into the wild or schedule your float for a day where you do have to immediately get busy again after you are done. The more you can float on that cloud for a while afterwards, the more at peace you will be and the more you will realize the value in cherishing the present moment regularly in your life.