I’m about to embark on my first float – also known as a sensory deprivation tank. It’s the new-age approach to dealing with muscle tension and stress while achieving meditative inner-reflection. The tanks are lightless, sound resistant and filled with epsom salts in skin-temperature water (93.5o F) in which individuals float. Although the first use of isolation tanks date back to the 50’s, they’ve recently become one of the buzz words in alternative medicine and those looking for a new sensory (or lack thereof) experience.
Float Now is the first, and currently, only place in Saskatoon to offer sensory tank
deprivation. Before I ask, Gina goes into detail regarding one of the common concerns: cleanliness. “The tanks are filtered between floats at least three times through a 10 micron filter that catches anything bigger than pollen.” Gina pauses. I was already satisfied but she continues. “On top that, the highly sterile saline solution is sanitized with UV light and Ozone along with 35% hydrogen peroxide. So your only focus need be getting naked and relaxing,” she says with a smirk.
Gina motions to the short table with various amenities on it next to a clean bathrobe and in-room shower. “We’ve got earplugs for you to wear to avoid salt getting in your ear and a float pillow for you to use as well. Shower thoroughly before and after your float and you’re all set! Enjoy your float.”
As I lift the door to enter the tank, I feel an excited nervousness. It’s like I’ve just opened a portal into some mystical modern void. I try not to have too many expectations, but I’ve been looking forward to this moment for a while being a longtime Joe Rogan fan. His popular podcast has been preaching the benefits of isolation tanks for years and has been a major influence into its recent popularity. As I climb in and shut the door behind me, his quote rings in my head as the darkness seals shut: “The sensory deprivation chamber is the most important tool I’ve ever used for developing my mind, for thinking, for evolving.” This one’s for you Joe…
A clean salty aroma fills the space as I lean back. Even though the whole purpose of this is to float, the immediate buoyancy catches me off guard. Leaning back it’s like my head and back is caressed by the gentle support of a liquidy cloud. Oh, I’m going to like this… I’ve floated in the salty Caribbean sea (which is more buoyant than the Pacific) and this is definitely a rise up from that. I close my eyes and begin to surrender to the experience.
It begins with my eyes.
In a matter of minutes I can no longer tell if my eyes are open or closed. It clearly doesn’t matter. The darkness is infinite. My mind is emptying out, spilling thoughts out into the void to try and fill the space. You don’t realize how loud and busy the mind is until it’s the only thing you’re capable of having an awareness of.
I turn my attention to my breath to shift into a meditation (which even if you don’t meditate, floating here is like an express route into the nothingness you’re attempting to simulate). I slowly begin inhaling from the nose and gently out the mouth. There is nothing to hear or feel except the vibrating expansion of my breath. As I lift my chest forward I can no longer tell what part of me is submerged in water and what is exposed to air – it all feels the same. If my eyes are open, so must be my arms, beckoning the expanse of this dark universe around me.
I’ve drifted somewhere between the constellations of my thoughts. Impressions pass like slow shooting stars and I’m existing beyond gravity. I try to simply be an observer to prevent my mind waking me up by analyzing this lucid dream state. Something arises in the forefront. There’s a visual of people marching. Everyone’s faceless. They’re exiting in two rows from either side of my head and out into the void. There’s a quiet lightness as more leave. The visual disappears as my analytical brain kicks through to question it’s meaning. Would you mind, mind? I’m trying to soberly hallucinate here… Whatever the daydream was, it felt like the letting go of the hundreds of people we encounter daily and conversations we have with them and with our self. I smile and lightly sink back into my float.
I don’t realize how deep I’ve gone until I hear distant music. It gently nudges into my consciousness like the musical alarm in Inception telling me time is almost up. It’s been over an hour already? Where’s the snooze button?! I become aware of my physical hands again as I begin to push myself up from my semi-sensible state. Was I really only in 10 inches of water this whole time? I feel like I’m exiting from hibernation – not the spring bear version, but a futuristic space travel type. Except the only travel I experienced was within myself and the destination: a more relaxed, lighter self. It was quite the trip –no psychedelics needed.
For more information, prices and reservations visit the Float Now Website. They’ve also just opened a new shop in Regina. So why not give floating a try?
Looking for other ways to tap into alternative states of healing and relaxation in the Saskatoon?
Yin Yoga: a slow and deep form of yoga that sinks into postures as you blur the line of wakefulness. One Yoga offers several classes a week.
Sound Healing: harnesses the power of vibration and frequency as you tap into a relaxed meditative state, most often in a group format. Soul Works offers various types of sound healing workshops a month.
Body Talk: is a modern consciousness based therapy that allows the body’s energy systems to be re-synchronized so it can operate as nature intended. Contact Andi Early at Circle Chiropractic for more information or to book a session.
Saskatoon Conservatory: Needing a simple and free escape to just sit and breathe humid air amongst a lush and tropical setting? Visit the Civic Conservatory located in the former Mendal Art Gallery