I ’d read a lot about floatation therapy, in particular about the sci-fi-sounding sensory deprivation tanks. Mostly, my reading consisted of click-bait internet articles describing extreme paranoia (one particular man claims he was terrified that he was lying in a tank full of snakes), hallucinations, disorientation, panic, out-of-body experiences and an inability to determine whether one is awake or asleep. It all sounded terribly exciting. What would I experience? Would I feel as though I were floating through the depths of space? Would celestial visions come to me in my trance-like floating state? Understandably, I couldn’t wait to find out.
In my mind, Point Zero Floatation Center was a lab-like facility where rows upon rows of people lay cocooned in pods like something out of The Matrix. You’ll no doubt be shocked to hear that the reality is less post-modern and more lovely, calming spa. You can even select various oils, toners, creams and products for some post-pod pampering.
Next, the multitude of health benefits are described to me. Apparently, floating can help with, well, almost anything. Stress relief, depression, eating disorders, eliminating fatigue, insomnia, reducing blood pressure, aiding weight loss, detoxing, sports injuries and more. But ultimately, it’s supposed to be relaxing (plus, I’m told my hair will be nice and voluminous the next day).
All the different buttons inside the pod are explained, including how to buzz for help, turn on the light or star lights and how to open the lid. There are numerous customisation options, one of which is selecting coloured lights instead of darkness for their physical and psychological benefits. White, for example, represents purity and innocence, thereby purifying the mind (if that’s something you need). Lavender, signifying “equilibrium” and “awakening”, helps with spiritual healing. Other colours are more straightforward: blue for soothing, yellow for mental stimulation, orange for joy and wisdom.
I consider indigo for “truth, healing and intuition” and that it “allows a clearer path for the conscious to the spiritual self”. This sounds ideal. I can only begin to imagine the inner-truth that this wondrous pod could reveal to me under the right circumstances. In the end, though, my curiosity about sensory deprivation gets the better of me. I go for total darkness and decide against the optional music. Then I climb in with a little neck pillow and close the pod over myself.
At first, I’m very excited by the fact that I’m properly floating in just a few inches of water. I find myself getting a bit giddy as I fidget around trying to find my optimal floating position, so I do my best to focus. I lie back, take a few deep breaths and try to relax. Now what?
It is very dark in the tank, almost pitch black, but there’s a thin strip of light at the pod’s close. Your eyes do become accustomed; I could see the outline of my floating toes. There are earplugs if you want to float in total silence, but if not, faraway muffled sounds are vaguely audible. Initially, I’m somewhat disappointed to find that unless you close your eyes and use the plugs, it doesn’t totally deprive you of all senses. I mull over this as I float and wait for some life-altering epiphany to hit.
“Floating is still quite nice, though,” I think. “I suppose I’m getting more relaxed now… if I squint it’s a bit darker… should probably try those star lights… ooh, pretty… I wonder how long I’ve been in here… could be hours… or days… a zombie apocalypse could have occurred… I quite fancy pizza for dinner…”
I have no concept of time as I float, alone with my thoughts and the twinkly star lights. I don’t fly above my body, I don’t hallucinate, or feel any sense of panic or disorientation. Neither do I, however, realise how calm or relaxed I feel until the lights switch on signifying the end of the session (I even reach for the button to switch them off, in the hope that I only accidentally nudged it).
Lack of weird and wonderful outcomes aside, I feel remarkably zen as I shower off the salt. Sensory deprivation, I think, must be overrated. The mind-wandering, star-twinkling reality, is much better. From Dhs210.Point Zero Floatation Center