I’ve wanted to try a submersion tank for years, but I only just discovered there are some in Connecticut. A few weeks ago Matt and I were given a gift certificate to try Surrender to the Float in Guilford. I didn’t really know what to expect, but basically you strip (don’t worry you have your own private room), shower and then get into an oversized tub with four walls from the floor to the ceiling. Once in, you close the tank door and turn off the gentle lighting if you want.
You are suspended in very salty water set at body temperature in pitch black, and they suggest it feels like floating in space. You get an hour in the tank. It is meant to be relaxing and meditative. It was. I fell asleep. They claim you can’t drown in the salt, and I didn’t so anecdotally I support their theory.
Floating was definitely an interesting experience, but having been to the Dead Sea earlier this year, I was kind of disappointed. I’m a sinker. It’s hard for me to float, and when I sauntered into the Dead Sea I felt like a wine cork in water, more buoyant that I could imagine. In this floating chamber, I felt dense. That made me uncomfortable. Matt felt light and understood why they described it as floating in space. The entire time I was aware of the water line along my torso and face and that inhibited that free-floating in space feeling.
I twitch as I fall asleep. It is considerably more disconcerting to wake up from a twitch in water than it is to wake up from a twitch in bed.
The room got a little hot for me so I had to crack the tank door for some fresh air which was encouraged if need. All that meant was for complete darkness I had to keep my eyes closed. Although, when I had the door shut it truly dark and when I closed them I could see color and light like a lightning storm displayed on my eyelids even before I had the door open.
Getting my neck comfortable was a bit of challenge that they prep you for. You really have to relax. And I kept playing with that concept. Was there any part of me I could relax more?
When you first get in the tank there is quiet music playing in the background that they turn off after ten minutes. I found the music irritating, worse than elevator music. But you’re in there, naked, splayed out like a starfish so you wait the ten minutes for it to stop. When it did, I was overcome with relief and thought “Ah, I’m all alone.” It was like I’d been waiting to be alone all my life—an odd thought for me because I’m a complete extrovert. I prefer having people around most of the time. As I get older I require some space, but I still get my energy from others. And usually love falling asleep to the sound of quiet chatter in the next room.
I had intense and dark dreams that somehow weren’t scary, but do make me curious about my mental status. They are so vivid, and I enjoy them like I’m watching a movie. I don’t normally dream, but this happens to me when I go to the meditative gongs in East Hartford.
The fact that I finally fell asleep is not necessarily a good thing. I’m a terrible napper. I can’t nap and when I do it takes me hours to wake up. It’s like I have the flu and took a Benadryl, so when I came out of the tank I just needed to sit for a minute (or twenty) and come back to the world. So I was sitting on a couch with Matt talking with the manager who was pretty low-key. Then the owner’s girlfriend entered. She may also be an owner. She trampled my Zen talking a mile a minute. To give you an idea, she opened with, “Oh, my God! You have curly hair. I have curly hair. I’m about to do a TV interview should I wear my hair curly or straight?” Think valley girl kind of energy and speed.
“Curly,” I was able to mumble back only to have it turn into a picture show where she showed me pictures of herself with curly hair and how proud she was of those pictures. I suddenly felt awake enough to walk to the car.
While the experience was generally good, and I would recommend it because I think trying new things is fun (even if they aren’t what you expect), I can’t say I’d jump to do it again. I never felt trapped in the tank because you could open the door at any time. For the price if I have a choice between submerging myself or a massage, I’m picking a massage. I’d even prefer the gong concert for less than half the price.