Zero Stress, Zero Anxiety, Zero Gravity

by Kenneth Rayman on July 7, 2017
As I started to look at ways to do self-improvement last year, I looked for something to give myself an escape from the craziness of the daily nerves and issues of the day. I tried a Hot Stone Swedish massage and, while relaxing, my left leg twitched and popped when it was being worked on and I hobbled for a week in pain.

I had seen something in the local shopping center, The Landing In Renton, and on Facebook several times that made me curious but I was nervous to walk in uninformed. I looked at the website, and my interest was piqued more but still I wanted to wait. Once I got a new job I decided it was time to give myself a new look on life with the new professional opportunity and walked in to Urban Float. I told the ladies that I was curious and wanted to learn more and one of them took me around the store, answering my questions and suggested I check out a film on YouTube, Float Nation

The film gave me enough info to know about the experience of floating so I went back and got an introductory package of float sessions. The first time was strange to say the least, I never thought I’d be taking a shower in a public place (I hated gym in school because I was so self-conscious) and once I got in the float pod and shut the lid, I “tried” to float not realizing that the water would be so buoyant and thrashed around a bit and end up on my side saying to myself, “I’m not sure I’m meant to be swimming, figure this out…” I slowly rolled a little more and finally got to my back. The light in the pod seemed to distract me so I turned it off and was there in total darkness. The film showed everyone with the pod lid open but I wanted to experience the “isolation” it had mentioned and I figured that an open pod would allow outside stimuli in and distract from the experience.

I also chose to have music, though chose to limit the time the music played to see about further increasing the isolation. Once the music stopped I focused on my breathing and the in and out of my breath. Then I felt my muscles totally relax and I was effortlessly floating. My left leg twitched a little and twitched again making me think that the absence of weight pressure was allowing my tight muscles with my disability to finally relax and lose some of their tension.

The music came back on, then the light came back and the water started to swish with the filtration. After I showered and redressed, the spa associate asked me how my float was and after I said that I was trying to think of something to say, she remarked that I looked dazed compared to when I first came in. I left and felt lighter and really relaxed. I decided that I would try it again the next week.

I finished my trial package trying different things each time, adding neck support, music off the whole time and music throughout. I enjoyed the weightless feeling and the feeling of drifting (at times feeling like I was being rocked in a cradle) and since it’s marketed in some ways as “floating in space” I pictured myself floating among galaxies and nebulae. Visualizations such as that also helped with the meditation part of the float, focusing my attention on one point and allowing other thoughts to pass or “float” away. Along with the visualization to aid the meditation, I focused on how many times I heard a particular tone within the music which aided my concentration on the release of any other thought other than it.

Soon I began to feel “different” when I hadn’t had a float in a while and when I would go in I would find myself asleep in the pod and feeling as if time flashed by. I began to joke with the associates that I wanted to poke my head out and yell “Another hour please, thank you” and climb back in.

While not every time is as blissful as that, the float itself is never the source of a “bad float.” What influences the float good or bad is your ability to really relax and let go of everything. With the pod closed, you have no sensory input coming in to influence your behavioral or physical reaction to stimuli. A common thing I hear when I talk about it is, “I couldn’t do the closed pod, I’m claustrophobic” to which I reply, “With the light off you have no sensory input that tells you you’re in an enclosed space,” essentially, you’re reacting to a fear that isn’t even present. My “bad” experiences have resulted because I got in with the pressures of the day still weighing on me and I couldn’t “let go” whether it was the excitement of a new development in business or personal, a thought I just couldn’t shake that distracted me from the music, or a fear that was involved with the thought (I once started thinking about a paranormal show I had just watched and when I opened my eyes and saw it was pitch black, it just was a little creepy); Totally controllable things in an environment where the only thing that is present is literally nothing else but YOU.

My idol Gary Vaynerchuk speaks of the need for personal escapism to benefit yourself physically and mentally from the day to day stress and the need to not judge your escapism from another’s because of the personal benefits of it being just that, personal. I found my escapism in the occasional get together with friends and this newfound meditation technique that seems to have an effect on me in more ways than one that really must be experienced to accurately know what it could do for you.