Ok. So here’s something new. I had my first float-tank experience today. Here’s the bottom-line: I recommend every business leader, entrepreneur and professional give it a try. Either you will love it and you’ll want to do it again or you’ll love it and you’ll learn something important because of it. Either way, you win.
So first off, what is a float-tank? Well, I’d describe it as a giant soaker tub but better. The float-tank I tested was about nine feet long and four feet wide. To increase buoyancy, the water is super salty with 1000 lbs of Epsom salt. I was floating on my back and about 1/3 of my body was above the water, including my toes, nose and mouth. The water is heated to body temperature (95 degrees Fahrenheit). My tank had a lid that could be closed to eliminate all sound and light.
I spent one hundred minutes in the tank. Afterwards I was completely relaxed. I mean “fah-wah-uh-duh-blah…” relaxed. The last time I was that relaxed I was on vacation in Cancun twenty years ago. But this was way cheaper.
So how does it work and why should you do it?
Well, the sensation of total privacy, detached from cell phones, computers, lights, sounds, EMR, and people – that’s a rare treat on it’s own. But add to that a feeling of weightlessness and now you’ve got something you have to experience. I mean total elimination of the usual day time sensations. Nobody and no thing interrupted me for the whole 100 minutes and, I was floating. For me, that’s really cool.
As a kid, I enjoyed floating in water. I imagined I was a bird floating in air or a dolphin swimming in the sea. Of course, the public pool was usually cold, noisy and I wasn’t a great swimmer. It took effort to keep my head above water. It was fun but required a vivid imagination. The float-tank is way better. It’s like comfortable freedom. I suppose scuba divers can experience a version of zero gravity and astronauts do as well but that’s just not feasible for most people. Apparently it’s very similar to floating in the Dead Sea which has a high salt concentration.
To accelerate the experience, I took it a bit further. During the float, I chose to go into a deep self-induced therapeutic trance. My breathing and heart rate dropped. My muscles relaxed – because there was no need to keep balance or posture. I totally zoned out. It was deeper than my usual trance practice and that was an incredible sensation too.
As a business coach, I meet many high achievers. People who have trained themselves to work at a peak level for extended periods of time. The inability to enjoy peace and quiet is partly the price they pay for their extraordinary productivity. But the body can’t run at those high levels forever. Eventually it takes a toll. Often, they know how to relax but choose not to because it is too disruptive to their routines. A trip to Cancun is great but costly in time and money. Plus, there’s no guarantee they’ll be more relaxed when they return to work.
One hundred minutes in a float-tank for the price of a dinner and movie had the same relaxing affect as a $3,000 trip to an exotic resort.
If you would like more information on float-tanks, the internet has tons of it. However, I would recommend speaking to Alan Healey a local Kelowna, BC entrepreneur who is sitting up a float spa this spring. Alan has lot’s of research on the benefits of floating. He’ll even let you test drive his personal tank for a very reasonable fee. Alan’s website is: www.floatspace.ca
Here are some tips for first time floaters:
- Be patient. It took me about fifteen minutes to decompress and remember how to relax and unwind.
- Take time to acquaint yourself with the new surroundings. Experiment with the temperature, the internal lights (on or off), the sound, music or complete silence and darkness (my preference).
- Let your body find a comfortable position. Your arms and legs can float into new relaxing positions.
- Don’t eat beans before the float.
So what can you do while floating for 100 minutes? Well, surprisingly, there’s lots to do. Practicing your relaxation technique is a good start. Follow that with a deep meditation – mindfulness is my recommendation. If you are working on solving a problem, now’s a good time to explore it. Athletes can imagine better form and skills. Let your imagination go. There are no distractions or pressures. Just you and your playful mind.
I think the potential is huge so give it a go and if you do, share your experiences. I’d love to know how you made out. Are there other ways to relax like this? Massage, Shiatsu, Yoga, Sauna? Write a comment or send me an email. How do you float your boat!
Next week we will be discussing “Work Place Balance”. How to cultivate an environment that maximizes your peak performance ecologically. Join us on February 5 at 6:45pm for another Winter Tune-Up.