Liberating. When I think of all the words that could possibly be used to described my first float experience, liberating is the one that is most appropriate.
I was introduced to Capitol Floats by an old friend, Terri N. Someone I never knew had the slightest hint of interest, became an avid floater.
My curiosity for deprivation tanks was born around the same time as my interest in meditation, which was about four years ago; and since then I have tried to simulate the feeling of what being inside the tank might be like at home, with a darkened room and a full bath, but I knew nothing would ever truly come close to what an actual float would be like.
From looking around at other places, the typical float tank looks more like a capsule, which I think is part of where the fear for the float manifests for people. Even though I wouldn’t think that would be an issue in my case, I was still very pleasantly surprised when I found out that Capitol Floats does not utilize such tanks. Instead, there float tanks feel more like an actual room, so claustrophobia shouldn’t be a problem. To help ease the uneasiness of claustrophobia even further, each tank has a soothing blue light, already on when you first step in, and soft music playing. So, if being in a dark and soundless room is still too much to handle, they have you covered.
I wanted complete deprivation from everything, so in my case the lights and the music were off. I did have to step out of the tank once to turn the room lights all the way down (something the receptionist informed me about), so that not even the dim light from the room would seep in. After about ten minutes is when my liberation began. I thought of nothing; I hear nothing except for the sound of my own breathing; and I saw nothing. The stress of everything outside the tank was gone. I didn’t have to face anything except what I wanted to face. Anyone who meditates knows that thoughts will creep in, and that will nevertheless be the case here. However, it’s easy to push the thoughts aside. I did hallucinate a little bit. The hallucinations were nothing scary. They were mostly waves of light; spirals of light; and a few subtle sounds.
Some tips: Concentrate on the blackness. Really embrace the relief of not having to concentrate your sight on anything; Concentrate on your breathing. As someone who has practiced meditation for years, this is something that I have constantly relied on. In the tank my breathing sounded like the ocean, and I held onto that; Stretch your body and move around. I’m not saying you should go swimming, but in my experience, moving my limbs really helped me be mindful of my body, of my presence.
One of my fears about the float experience was staying in longer than my allotted time. Anyone else who has this fear, let me put your mind at ease. They will not let you stay in more than you’re supposed to. As the receptionist told me during our initial walkthrough, there are things that happen to inform you that your time is up. If you have the music off, it will turn back on. If it’s already on, the beat will change. The most noticeable difference is that the light will come on, if you have it off of course. If those two things still fail to stir you, the water will start to shift a bit.
Among other things, they offer you a pair of ear plugs, and a bottle of regular water. The bottle of water is used just in case you happen to splash the magnesium-filled water on your face, and the ear plugs are so you don’t have any water making their way in your ear canal, obviously. They also provide you with a neck pillow, if you’re uncomfortable with letting your head bob.
The post-float experience is a relaxing one. They have a room full of creative outlets, and trust me, you will feel quite creative after the float. They have journals to write in, and read about other’s experiences. They have watercolors and sketchbooks for you to use. They have modeling clay, and they also have a small library of books. It’s a little come-down room, and a way to really make the relaxed state you’re in last. They only ask that you keep it quiet so that others may enjoy their floats.
I really can’t say enough positive things about this place. The experience was everything I wanted it to be, and more.