“…oh, yes, they float, Georgie…they float….”
“…conducting the most dangerous experiments in the history of science…and the subject of those experiments…is himself….”
These are two thoughts that immediately came to mind (actually the second quote didn’t so much come to mind as the movie did; I was just picking a sample quote for this post…) when I undertook this little experience last Saturday (January 30th). The first quote was from Stephen King’s It, and the second from Altered States.
I’d been wanting to do something like this for the longest time—ever since the movie Altered States and my research into my novel, Psychic. I’ve always been fascinated by the metaphysical and this was an area I’d never ventured into: isolation tanks and sensory deprivation.
Now called “floating.”
In its simplest description, it’s about turning off all the lights, sticking ear plugs in your ears, and floating around in as near a zero-G environment as possible. This is to “deprive” your senses of physical existence and allow you to focus inwardly. To the less metaphysically inclined it’s to better relax the racing mind and body.
Now, there are various trains of thought into what happens when you do this, I’m not gonna entertain them all, but I am going to tell you it is one of the most pleasant experiences ever! Whether or not you’re into the metaphysical aspects of “floating,” the physical effects are undeniably incredible. The physical and mental relaxation you get is above and beyond what most can get in our every day lives. You are floating in ten inches of water infused with 800 – 1,000 pounds of Epsom salts, and many have actually reported falling asleep! I did not. You also might think there might be an element of claustrophobia associated with being “clam-shelled” into a small tank like this. I’m not prone to claustrophobia, but I felt nothing of the kind, but have read/heard that those who might be so inclined don’t seem to report that while using these pods.
I had been looking for a way to do this for over 20 years and it was either part of another package that cost a thousand or more, or the equipment had broken down (then the spa itself had shut down). I forgot about it, then Mandy, a friend of mine who also proofreads/copyedits my fiction tried it, told me about her experience with it, and that lit a fire under my ass to again look into it. To my surprise, where I had previously found none locally—I now found several!
My interest really started with Robert Monroe. Bob Monroe created The Monroe Institute (TMI), in Virginia. I’d heard of Bob a lifetime ago, with his book, Journeys Out Of The Body. Years later, while researching Psychic, I learned of TMI (curious use of the initials, yes?). I’d always wanted to attend TMI’s programs, but their rates were always just a bit out of my reach. I have, however, used various at-home programs from them—which I also recommend (but don’t get hooked on them…keep reading).
Life moved on.
Admittedly, I was hoping for some kind of earth-shattering experience, given my experience with the “weird” and the metaphysical in my life (see Related Articles, below), and while that didn’t happen, I did have some really cool sensations happen that I’ve detailed below. Essentially, my floating experience was like any good meditative experience I’ve ever had, so it wasn’t like the Altered States or Pennywise-the-clown’s versions. It was totally cool floating around in a near half-ton of salt water and experiencing “zero-G” moments with as much of physical reality “shut off” as possible.
And the pods are just cool looking! They reminded me of 2001: a Space Odyssey, thought they don’t look anything like the Discovery One’s EVA pods, but that’s where my mind went anyway (“Open the pod bay doors, Hal…”). Yes, I’m “troubled.”
When you arrive at Luna Float Spa, you get a tour of the place, are shown to your room (which included a rubber ducky-on-a-shelf!), asked to choose your après float tea, then are given “the briefing”: put in the ear plugs first (silicone or regular foam—I used silicone and they worked great, though a day or so later I did get swimmer’s ear), shower, dry off your head and face real good, since the Epsom salts can get in your face and eyes if you enter still wet, then enter the pod (you are recommended to do this naked, since clothing can spoil the sensory deprivation experience as you feel your clothing—but you can wear swim wear if you want to; I went naked). You can leave the cool colored lights on or turn them off (I turned mine off)…and take the rubber-ducky-on-a-shelf in with you if you want (I didn’t). Just prior to entering the pods, make sure you flip off the room’s light switch (I forgot to do this and had to get out to hit the lights; otherwise it does not get totally dark inside the pod). Inside the pod you have a fresh water spray bottle and hand towel. Use this if Epsom salts get in your face (like it did when I got up to turn off the room lights). Find a position for your arms and hands…and enjoy (I put my hands and arms above my head, but they eventually lowered to head level). Afterward, you take another shower to get all the salts off your body.
So, here is the list of effects I’d experienced while in the Luna Float Dreampods:
- My right side seemed to twitch more than my left, specifically my right leg and right hand.
- About halfway through, my entire body went through an incredible tingling, from head to toe…it was quite wild and “electric” and lasted for several moments before dissipating. I’ve experienced tingling before, but never at this level.
- My right leg and right arm/hand got that “expanded” feeling I typically get from good meditative sessions at home.
- I saw lots of patterns and shapes behind my eyelids—also what I’m used to. These were mainly a dull yellow in color, with some speckling of a bright, laser-like blue in there.
- Shapes: I had one “notional” male face drift by, as in it was not a “picture” of a face, but an amorphous shape forming into the shape of a face…a bearded face; lip-shaped forms (dull yellow). Then there was this…one of the most interesting things: eyes. Lots and lots of eyes. Small ones…in groups and alone…not like one big, huge one. Think of a “bowl full of eyes” then remove the bowl…and that’s what I was seeing. This lasted for quite some time…drifting in and out…came back once or twice. Quite interesting. Don’t recall anything like this in my meditative sessions before.
- “The Shift”: this was another curious thing, though I’ve felt similar before: I felt a curious “shift” in myself two or three times. Hard to describe…but it’s like a dull—really dull—singular internal earthquake of the body. More like an “electrical” shake or a mild “jolt.” Where the body “internally” shudders, but not physically. It was a palpable change…but I didn’t feel superhuman or anything…still don’t. I’ve felt this sensation before in meditation. I’d always just called it an “internal shift.” It’s very subtle.
- Respiration: this was perhaps the weirdest thing—and this I’d never before experienced—was a massive change in my respiration…or what I perceived to be a change in my respiration? This happened about three times, and the first time it actually jarred me…almost scaring me, to be honest: my breathing seemed to have stopped…but what had actually occurred was that it became quite elongated and drawn out. I’d breathe out…and didn’t feel any burning need to breathe back in in any hurry. Nope. Not one bit: in fact—joking to myself—I was observing that I was floating there and not breathing and wondered if I’d died! It was totally weird and the first time I’d ever experienced something like this, so it really shocked me the first time it happened. This must be what Yogis experience when they slow their respiration. When it happened again and again, I just went with it…and it was totally cool. But, I don’t really know if my internal time had totally warped and I was experiencing elongated time and my [relaxed] respiration rate hadn’t really changed…or if I had truly lengthened out my breathing patterns…but for those couple of times, whatever was happening…it was wild….
- When I was done an hour later, my body “didn’t feel normal”—but in an extremely relaxed, good way! Moving around was slightly “difficult” and “alien,” is about the only way to put it. Another totally cool sensation. I then “messed around” in the water…trying to enjoy the feeling of weightlessness while in a sensory deprived environment, versus the trying to remain calm and still as I had for the bulk of the session. It was a fun feeling, reminiscent of scuba diving…but with a metaphysical aspect to it….
These are my experiences. Yours will surely be different from mine…but it could be similar.
In addition to the pod experience, at Luna Float Spa you can also utilize other aspects of the spa, like a gnarly massage chair or sauna. They have a couple of packages, but I just used the massage chair (which came with the pod float experience)…and this thing has a freakin’ living, breathing, life of its own.
I used the shiatsu massage Inada Dreamwave chair after the pod experience, but I’d recommend using it prior to it. This chair…it has 100 air cells, while your typical, commercially available chairs have 30 – 40 cells, Ana-Alycia tells me. And it has 106 body types programmed into it. Anyway, it’s simply amazing. It’s like six different people working on you at once. And I kid about the “life of its own” part, but as it works away on you, you can hear the air cells sighing upon exhaling (inflating and deflating—see, I still refer to it as if it is ALIVE…) and the material creaking and scrunching all around you as it works you.
Yeah, it’s alive.
After all this, I got to sit down with Morgan, one of the owners (the other owner is Ana-Alycia, Morgan’s wife). When you’re done, you get to sit in the waiting room and sip tea and reflect. I was originally going to pick this raspberry mix, but flipped the tea-card over and saw a curious mango-mix so chose that. But when it came time to have it, Morgan apologized and said that they were out of it, but he hoped I wouldn’t mind the raspberry one—
Cue Twilight Zone music!
So Morgan and I talked for some 15-20 minutes about our experiences in things-metaphysical, while watching a cool HDTV of the ocean and all its colorful creatures!
I recommend that once you experience “floating” that you write down all you experienced, however trivial they might sound to you. Give those feelings and experiences life. Solidity. Bring them out of just remaining in your head. And don’t dismiss and minimize them, because if you do, you’ll roadblock any further metaphysical development that can occur. I’m not saying floating will unlock anything in you…everyone’s different and everyone should remain open…and your beliefs will come into play…but at a minimum, your relaxation experience will be incredible. You don’t have to understand all that happens to you…just acknowledge whatever does and be open to possibilities, whether prosaic or metaphysical. Change usually comes in small increments. Subtle events. For example…let’s say that after you do this you walk into a convenience story and hold the door open for a couple…and you get the unassailable feeling that you know one of the couple…have seen them before…there’s absolutely no doubting this, so much so you almost call out to them….
But another part of you also knows that, nooo…you’ve actually never met before—in this life.
Just acknowledge that feeling…smile…and continue on your way. Don’t ignore it as “crazy think”….
Some report better sleeping the night after, and others cool, calming, and relaxing effects…calming peace of mind, etc. Personally, I noticed nothing different about myself, but I do meditate off and on and already am a “happy” and optimistic person. If I got any more so, I’d be a helluva a lot more annoying to those around me. Or myself.
Morgan and Ana-Alycia also give a discount to veterans. That was a pleasant surprise I hadn’t expected. It just came up in conversation. They are both gracious and outgoing hosts!
And one more thing: if used for metaphysical development, these kinds of things shouldn’t be used as a “crutch” in that development…but as an aid to gaining more understanding, confidence, and getting used to exploring our inner selves on our own—though a definite case can be made just for the physical rehabilitative effects! In my research for these places, I’ve read that football players—and even Air Force Academy cadets—are using it. If more people used things like this, I’m sure there’d be less violence in the world…so maybe our future world leaders will go into their careers with a slightly better, more open point-of-view about life, the universe, and everything else….
So, if you ever get the opportunity, I highly recommend the “float” experience—and Luna Float Spa!
Luna Float Spa
202 E. Cheyenne Mtn. Blvd., Suite R,
Colorado Springs, CO 80906
Hours: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Mountain Time
The Monroe Institute (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
Five Reasons To Float In A Sensory Deprivation Tank (harpersbazaar.com)
- The Reincarnation of F. P Dorchak (fpdorchakrealitycheck.wordpress.com)
- My Ronin/Samurai Life (fpdorchakrealitycheck.wordpress.com)
- The Silver Man (fpdorchakrealitycheck.wordpress.com)
- The Ghost Inside My Child (fpdorchakrealitycheck.wordpress.com)
- Just Thought I’d Say “Hi”…. (fpdorchakrealitycheck.wordpress.com)
- Liberty Belle Down In Flames (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- The B-17 Liberty Belle (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- The Tail Gunner and His Ticket Taker (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- Tail Gunner (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)