So after my first meditation class with Jazell, I learned about, or rather was reminded about sensory deprivation floats. She mentioned a place called Sacred Waters in Long Island City, so I decided to try it that Friday since I was off from work.
Let me tell you, my first impression was a great impression. The owner was looking for my reservation, and she said “I don’t see you on here for today at 11:15am, I have a regular coming in.” After some digging around, we realized that I made a mistake on the date, I totally thought it was for that Friday, but turns out it was for the next Friday.
Oh crap, that sucks, I just commuted over here and I got the date wrong! Lucky for me, there was a cancellation for the spot after 11:15am, and she offered me that time slot. It was nearly two hours later, but I was there, and I wasn’t leaving without trying out this floating thing. She was super nice, and let me have me a room to hang out at for the two hours until my turn came up. I was very impressed at how accommodating she was, mega huge points!
The owner’s name is Jenn, she was super cool about it, and I hung out in this room for about two hours reading my Monster hunter international book while I waited. I also spent some time talking with Jenn and learning about the float experience. She didn’t want to bias me either way, so she said she wouldn’t tell me too much about her experience in there.
The dude that went in before me came out looking really disoriented and weird. That made me more concerned, but in hindsight, I realize that everyone responds differently. I didn’t come out of there with a runny nose or nearly as confused and dazed looking at this dude.
In any case, during my long wait, I saw a few people come in and out, and one of them asked about a product that could help them stay grounded and help them keep cool. Jenn recommended palo santo. She said it will suck away the negative, and using your intention, you can fill the space with the positive that you want. I ended up buying some of this for my own home.
Ever since I started yoga, I keep hearing the same words, space, intention, acceptance. I’m trying to work this into my life, but it’s easier said than done. Baby steps. So what was the actual float like?
As Jenn broke everything down for me, before I went in, I started to feel terrified. There is something extremely frightening to me about total darkness and confined spaces. But I’m really big on confronting and overcoming our fears. Years ago, as a kid, i saw a film where a criminal was buried alive, and ever since seenig him wake up in a coffin, buried, it’s always terrified me.
Jenn could tell that I was nervous, and she said this is supposed to feel good, and relax you. She said you can open the door at any time, turn on the light, or music at any point too. This helped relieve some of the anxiety.
So after her breakdown, she left me to it. I put in my ear plugs, I stripped down to my birthday suit, cleaned up with the soap and shampoo she said to use and got ready. I looked inside the tub, took a deep breath, and then I stepped in. I kept the lights and the music on as I acclimated myself to the water.
The first thing I did was to make sure that I could easily sit up from the floating position if I wanted to. According to Jenn, and many countless youtube videos, the 1,500 pounds of epsom salt make this water more buoyant than the dead sea, and apparently that’s a buoyant sea. LOL. Anyway, they ain’t joking, your ass is gonna float in here. Once I went in and laid back, I was up as if I didn’t weigh 200 pounds!
I spent a lot of time trying to find a comfortable position. I tried my arms down, to the side, up, and even behind my head. I had a hard time laying back and just relaxing into the water. My abs and neck were tense for quite some time to keep me from going under. Apparently, I hadn’t yet realized that I wasn’t sinking, period. And if I did, this was only 10 inches deep. My brain kept going rigid. I realized that I couldn’t do this for an hour, and eventually started to let go. My arms up seemed to be the most comfortable pose for me.
They said that the goal was to be as quiet and still as possible. So once I felt safe, I killed the music, and then the lights. I floated around, and had to turn them on a few times because I felt like I was gonna freak out. After awhile, I got the fear under control. Jenn told me to breathe, starting with a strong exhale if I felt any panic setting on. I worked on that to keep calm and it seemed to help.
Apparently, after sometime you would reach what they call “data wave” state, or something like that. I think that I was way to tense and aware to fully hit that for long, but I think I did a few times. During my time in there, I saw a few visions in front of my opened eyes.
At one point I saw grey evil demon faces. They were just staring at me, smiling with wicked intention. I blinked and blinked trying to get them to go away. Then I saw the complete opposite. I saw these white clouds, and they morphed into robed, beautiful angels that banished away the demons. They looked at me tenderly, and then faded.
After awhile longer, I saw what I perceived to be hieroglyphs that were written on grey walls. They were moving past me as if I was flying over them. I tried to look at them, and make out the message, but I couldn’t understand or focus properly on the symbols. It was as if I was flying past them. During one of those flights, I believe I saw 1/4 of my dad’s face. His eye was visible, eyebrow, and upper part of his cheek. It was a flash, but I’m sure that was my dad’s face.
There was a point where I guess the water temperature was perfect, and I relaxed just enough where I felt that I was literally flying in space. I jumped back startled and said out loud, “What the f*ck” as I reached for the wall and light switch to make sure it was still there. It was and I calmed down again.
Towards the very end, I began to feel very sexual. I wasn’t floating in there with an erection, nor was I looking to penetrate anything, it wasn’t that type of a feeling. It was more of a sensual feeling, I just wanted to be touched and caressed. So I began to run my fingers along my chest, I traced the outline of my nipples, and felt my triceps. It was as if my body was being touched and caressed by a total stranger. It felt good, and I caressed my body the way women have in the past. That felt very nice.
Shortly thereafter I was startled by some music, and then the reggae came on. I don’t think it was very loud, but since I was deprived of sound for an hour, it sounded loud as f*ck. I sat up, turned on the light, and slowly let myself adjust. I came out, took another shower to rinse of the heavy salt, and got dressed. I didn’t feel disoriented or too weird. I drank some tea, chilled for a bit, and then took off. Jenn was replaced by a younger kid, and another customer was in there as well. Judging by the way they looked at me, I think that my demon visions might have creeped them out. LOL.
As the day wore in, I realized that I had some salt in one of my ears. Even though I used ear plugs some managed to squeeze in. The float experience over all was pretty interesting. I didn’t feel like I was entirely in space floating, I mean I could still sort of tell I was in water for the most part, but there were times I felt weightless. I enjoyed it and would like to try it again. I’ll say this, if you are claustrophobic, or as messed up in the head as I am, proceed with caution. I saw demons, and felt my heart racing really fast a few times. It was terrifying and relaxing at the same time. I cannot say how you will feel or react, but if you can do it, it’s totally worth a try. Worst case scenario, you get a really pricey epsom salt bath. LOL. And if you start to panic, remember you can sit up, turn on the music, turn on the light, or open the door.
The opinions and views expressed are solely those of the author.
Also published on Medium.