“The idea is to separate yourself from society through solitude and confinement of a scientifically-controlled tank. There should only be 10 inches (25cm) of water, heated to 93F (33.8C) – just right for maintaining the proper brain temperature, with enough Epsom salts so your hands, feet and head all float.” – via People magazine, 6 September, 1976
“They discovered that this solution, with its high volume of magnesium, could make you float effortlessly. You’re not fighting gravity when you’re in there so you can just let go. After a while of floating, a chemical effect happens in your body because you’re not using any muscles; all the physical processes slow down, and you start to release endorphins to balance everything out. It affects your neurotransmitters so you stop being anxious and fearful.”
Firstly, the tank is surprisingly spacious so claustrophobia isn’t an issue, which is great because you was freaking out about that. You have a quick shower and scrub off – and then, you’re in the tank: naked, floating, wondering what fresh hell this is. It’s not difficult to float, in fact, it’s quite easy, but you struggle anyway and spend the next 10 minutes craning your neck, trying not to drown in the 25 cm-deep pool of water. Solid start.Fifteen minutes in and you’ve calmed down a little. You lie back. Kind of. The water feels like it’s bobs up and down quite ferociously (you could just be imagining, tho), and you can hear your heart beat in your ears – it’s very quick. You wonder if it’s always like that, you’re pretty highly strung. Your right leg tingles and your thoughts take a turn for the morbid. On the upside, your skin is fabulously silky and smooth in the water so you focus on that.Twenty minutes in and you’re feeling even more relaxed. You decide to explore your surroundings and feel out the tank. It’s huge. Bigger than you remember from 20 minutes ago.
30 minutes in and a lot of crazy starts to happen, both physically and mentally. With your eyes shut, all spatial awareness is gone and you’re unable to differentiate between water and air. You start to lose your shit.
You’re fully horizontal now; straight as a plank. You feel like your body is a log drifting down a river rapid, when really, you haven’t moved. Your heart rate has settled, but you start having weird AF sensory experiences of your own. You wonder if this is what old mate Lilly was describing. You get the creeps. Your stomach feels unusually bloated and you regret drinking so much water before this spiritual experience – you’re also wondering what time it is. (i.e. Is it time to get out?)
After an hour, you don’t feel relaxed exactly, or maybe you do – it’s hard to tell after an hour of zero stimulation with nothing by your neurosis for company. Also, you stood up too quickly and now you have to sit for 30-minutes because you’re still under the float spell and you’re shaking. Though, it was nice to have an hour to yourself.But the *real* interesting stuff happens that night. You fall asleep easily and deeply, and have the most vivid dreams. A really insightful glimpse into your psyche, but probably not one you want again any time soon on account of the fact you’re pretty rattled for the next 48 hours.