Floating in a sensory deprivation tank can elicit several types of responses. The experience is different for everyone, but this knowledge can be scary for first time floaters. Whether you’ve never floated or have several times, all experiences are unique and can be described in as many ways as there are words. Below are a few responses to floating and descriptions of the experience.
- Heightened senses. It may seem paradoxical, but many people report feeling that their senses have been heightened in a floatation tank. The reason for this is no doubt because the body is striving to grasp any sort of external stimulus, and the mind is much more aware of every small sound, feeling, or smell inside the tank. Heartbeats are audible, and even loud, while breathing slows and becomes rhythmic, likened by one floater to the sound of the waves on the shore. This experience can be simultaneously stimulating and calming for the floater, by removing as many external stimuli as possible and encouraging the mind to stretch out and use the senses in a way that they are rarely used.
- Psychedelic experiences. For some, the lack of sensory input is too much for the brain to handle — or rather, too little. In response to the total lack of stimuli, some floaters report seeing colors, shapes, and even faces, or hearing sounds that weren’t there. This is indicative of the brain’s attempt to glean some information from outside stimuli; when there are none available, the brain makes its own.
Internal thoughts or images conjured up within the mind might be interpreted as coming from an external source as the brain seeks to normalize the situation. Some have described the experience as being similar to LSD or another mind-altering drug, but without the dangers.
- Timelessness. Some floaters report losing track of time, which is not hard to imagine in a tank where nothing changes and there are no external stimuli. With nothing to show a change in time, an hour feels like a minute and vice versa.
- Weightlessness. Almost every floater feels weightless in a sensory deprivation tank, but some have described it as being similar to the feeling of being in zero gravity. The body is completely supported, and some have favorably compared the feeling to flying.
- Peace of mind. The complete lack of external sensory stimuli gives one the ability to focus completely on one’s thoughts, sifting through them and addressing them individually. For some people this has been described as an experience of “facing oneself,” addressing subconscious thoughts that had been previously ignored. Others find they can let go of all thoughts, succumbing to a complete emptiness and peace of mind.
To learn more about floatation and the different types of experience to expect, contact Northwest Float Center today.