So you’ve just started floating? Great! Welcome aboard.
If you’re yet to hop in the tank, the first float is always a strange experience, and one that often requires time to fully acclimatise to.
You are essentially putting your body and mind in a situation they’ve never experienced before; one where all senses are cut off, and all reference points in the physical world have been removed. Not to mention, you’re submerging your body in saltwater a hundred times denser than the salt water you’ll get at the beach; it’s all completely alien.
For many first-time floaters, the biggest hurdle to overcome is allowing your mind to embrace this strangeness. Focus on your breathing. Allow your body to completely relax, and your head to flop totally back on its shoulders. Once you do, your breathing will slow, your heart-rate will drop, and your mind will clear. If this doesn’t happen the first time, don’t be put off! Like anything, it just takes some people longer than others to get used to the environment you’re putting yourself in.
You might find a slight ache in your neck and shoulders after your first and second floats. Don’t be alarmed; the stress-free environment of the Epsom salt water allows your muscles to totally relax and adopt completely natural positions, with all of your body weight dispersed through the salt water around you. This ache is just the result of relieving muscle tension. Think of it like a massage without a masseuse!
By your third float, your body should start to acclimatise to the circumstances. But why does it take this long? Okay, here’s the science: the complete sensory deprivation of a float tank has a profound effect on the amygdala in your brain. These are the parts responsible for regulating your senses, muscles and – crucially – emotions.
The lack of stimulation of the amygdala causes a drop in the production of cortisol – commonly known as the stress response hormone. Whenever you feel fear, stress, agitation or anxiety, that’s all down to that pesky cortisol.
But like any other form of meditation, remembering the lyrics to a song or learning to play an instrument, floating can take your brain a little while to get used to things. Remember: you are throwing the most powerful muscle your body has in at the deep end (alright, shallow end), so allow the old girl a little patience!
Repetition is key, and floating regularly – by which we mean at the same time of day, on the same day in your schedule each week or month – will help your brain get into its own routine of expecting to wind itself down as soon as you step through the Floatworks doors.
The more you float, the quicker it happens, and the stronger the benefits become.
Have you begun a journey of self-discovery? Check out our latest floating offers to find out firsthand how floating will help you become more mindful…
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