If you clicked on this blog post then there’s little doubt you’re searching for something unorthodox to do or perhaps you’re here on vacation and it happens to be a rainy day. Maybe you’re a float tank aficionado. Regardless of the reason, you’re at least a bit adventurous am I right?
There is certainly no shortage of things to do, places to see, or events to attend while visiting Panama City Beach, Florida. As a local who has practically lived here all of my life, I’ve witnessed our beach develop and grow into a flourishing tourist destination. I’ve also patronized most every local business our home has to offer. In general, our beach attractions are geared towards our industry which means fun and food for the whole family. Today I decided to venture out, or should I rather say “venture in” the areas newest holistic establishment. I scheduled a 90-minute session at Floatfix 850.
Float Fix 850 offers therapeutic float sessions in state of the art sensory deprivation tanks.
An isolation tank, usually called a sensory deprivation tank (also known as float tank, flotation tank, or sensory attenuation tank) is a lightless, soundproof tank filled with salt water at skin temperature, in which individuals float.
Immediately when I walked in I was greeted by two very helpful ladies that made me feel more than welcome and helped ease any anxiety I may have had prior to my session. After all, we are talking about enclosing myself in a completely dark and silent chamber with no communication to the outside world…in the nude. For someone like me, that is a hyper-connected entrepreneur, whose life revolves around my Outlook calendar and a handful of messaging apps, the thought of disconnecting was both exciting as well as concerning. It wasn’t long before my excitement and curiosity completely drowned out all the separation anxiety my cellphone had caused.
I was given the opportunity to watch an introduction video prior to my session that explained the process in great detail. The helpful staff answered every question I had before ushering me to my private room. Each room contains a pod, a shower, a chair and a table with all the necessities to make you feel comfortable. After showering, it was finally time to enter my pod!
Each pod features an intercom direct to the staff, ambient lighting, soothing sounds, flotation device for your head (if needed) and a freshwater spray bottle in case you get salt water in your eyes. Some of you may have feelings of claustrophobia, don’t fret! You may float with the pod door open or closed. Remember, this is all about you and your comfort. I chose to float with the pod door closed, lights off, and no sound. I wanted the full experience!
Moments later it was just me, my pod, and nothing else. Little did I know the pod wasn’t staying for the duration…I’ll explain.
Floating may be second nature for some people while others may fight the feeling altogether. I was the latter. My mind constantly races, I overanalyze everything and consider every possible outcome before making a decision. What I failed to consider was what would really happen when I was alone, truly alone…with myself and ego. The best way I can explain the process that unfolded is through inner monologue.
Okay, now what? Let’s try and meditate. Focus on your breathing and relax. Make the best of this visit. Keep your mind open, but most of all RELAX.
This water is warm, but is it warm or was my skin cold before I got in? I wonder if my body is dead center or if I’m close to the sides? Maybe I should turn the music back on? Stop! Relax, breathe.
My mind begins to fight the experience altogether and I toil with constant fidgeting, changing the position of my arms, above my head or to my sides; I can’t decide. Becoming aggravated that my moving is causing me to bump into the walls, having to wait until the water settles again, trying to relax, rinse, repeat, rinse repeat for what seems like an eternity.
Are my eyes open or closed? Hey, I can’t feel the warm water anymore! My eyes are open but why do I see tiny points of light? Did I just get taller? I feel like my limbs are extending outward. (muscles relaxing and tension released stage 1)
Wait, I still see tiny points of light with my eyes closed…weird. Am I still breathing? Yes, stupid you’re breathing. Am I falling or rising? It feels like both. My focus on what I perceive I am seeing makes me feel like my head is rising out of the water but my body is resting deeper. I’ve never heard my heart beat rhythm over my breath before. 1…2…3..breath in…1..2..3..breathe out. Wow.
At this time I start having sporadic twitches. Nothing violent, very subtle and spaced far apart. First a finger, then my arm, last a toe… then I felt as if I sank much deeper. (muscles relaxing and tension release stage 2)
Wait a minute..if there is no light inside of the pod and my eyes are closed, then why is this not the blackest black I’ve ever seen? It’s not black I see, there are faint waves of color like a milky cloud between me and the points of light that somehow remind me of stars but not the ones in our sky. I know our constellations. These are different. A soft bluish-white halo is forming around my peripheral vision. Wait…my eyes are closed? Now they are open. Everything is still the same…but is it? I don’t remember where my head starts and my toes end. I can’t say for certain what part of me is above water and what is below. Wait…where is the water? (mission accomplished)
It was at this point I felt completely satisfied with my first float experience. During this indistinguishable amount of time, my mind was not consumed with meetings, deadlines, project status’, obligations, or anything of the outside world. It was me, my ego, my perception, my idiosyncracies, released from the constant barrage of sight, sounds, smells, and taste. Left only to focus on the last of the five senses, the feeling. Once I could no longer distinguish what my physical body felt I surpassed any expectation I had walking in the door. Moments after achieving this state, whether out of coincidence or sheer inability to determine the passing of time, my session was coming to an end. I could hear the bubbling whirl of the filtration system spool up and the gentle rise of the music and lighting welcomed me back.
The first thing I noticed when literally “coming to my senses” was how limp my body was. It was dead heavy. My joints had a fullness to them and my carpal tunnel riddled wrist felt better than it ever has before. The most surprising realization upon coming out was a refreshed sense of everything around me. It was like every sense was given a Ctrl+Alt+Delete.
After a quick shower to wash the salt off I was eager to step outside and experience this change in perception. Everything was somehow different, in a good way. I felt refreshed, my skin felt new, everything had a freshness to it.
It was at this point that I had an epiphany. I had to tell my friends and I definitely had to come to do this again!