My First Float Tank Experience: Am I Zen Yet?

Float Tank review at Aspire in NYC.

I’ve been hearing A LOT about Float Tanks lately, enough so to pique my interest. I mean really, I’ll try any wellness fad once. Except cleanses. I like chewing my food way too much for that.

Wellness center Aspire reached out to me to try their relatively new fitness apparatus Redcord (review on that coming soon!) I saw they also had floatation tanks and knew I had to give it a go. Thank you Aspire for being so incredibly generous and offering me a complimentary afternoon of fitness and wellness. Even though I went for free, as always this is my totally unfiltered view of my experience.

float tank review

Yes, that’s the pod I sat (er, floated) in naked for an hour.

What the heck are Float Tanks?

Float Tanks or Sensory Deprivation Tanks are essentially pods filled with 850 pounds of magnesium rich epsom salt water, aka enough salt water to make you float. The idea is that you float in total darkness for an hour (or more) and in silence. It’s meant to be a relaxing, meditative experience. This probably goes without saying, but I wouldn’t advise floating if you are claustrophobic.

 

My Experience

First and foremost let me say that Aspire gets an A+ for cleanliness and friendliness. Even though I’m not claustrophobic, and I went into this experience with a totally open mind, I was still a bit nervous about what was going to happen.

Daniella was awesome and walked me through everything I needed to know. My pod was in a private room that also had an attached shower and restroom. Someone is monitoring the room and pod via intercom in case you have any issues. I can attest to their attentiveness over the intercom– I was getting out of the shower and thought I heard someone, so I called out “Hello?” and the attendant checked in over intercom to see I was okay. I felt like an idiot, but good to know they care!

In the actual pod you can control the top of the pod and how much you want it open or closed, there’s also a light button and an emergency alert button to get the attendants attention.

After taking a shower to wash off any oils, taking out my contact lenses and covering a stupid trapeze scrape with a LOTS of Vaseline, I was ready to float!

float tank review1

What did it feel like?

I’ll be honest, it took me awhile to get completely settled.

I decided to use the provided neck pillow to help since I’m not exactly used to the sensation of floating. I spent a few minutes adjusting and readjusting trying to find a position that didn’t hurt my neck.

The first time I completely closed the pod I got oddly panicky. I felt like it was getting very warm and it started freaking me out. I cracked it open a tiny bit and eventually felt comfortable completely closing it. In the beginning I focused on my breath, taking 4 deep inhales, and for deep exhales, repeating over and over again trying to calm down the chatter in my brain.

Once I got settled I felt good. At one point my arms felt totally gooey because the water is the same temperature as your body. It was trippy and I started losing awareness of where my body was in the pod, I kept thinking I was drifting to one side and was going to hit the walls, but that wasn’t always the case.

I find MRI’s oddly relaxing (except for when you have to get an injection into your shoulder joint as a part of it…) and it kind of reminded me of that and when I used to go to the tanning salon and do the tanning beds. Unrelated, but I’m pretty mortified that I used to go to tanning salons.

The hardest part for me was that I felt like the hour was an eternity. Doing nothing for a full hour was weird. I of course was hyper aware of the passage of time, but I had read somewhere beforehand that the hour is supposed to go by really fast. I wanted to silence the chatter in my mind but I ended up singing In the Heights in my head towards the end when the hour started feeling really really really long. I found myself getting anxious about the passage of time and the fact that I didn’t know how much time had pass, so singing in my head helped.

I somehow got salt water in my eye at one point. Ouch. Luckily there was a spray bottle and towel on the ledge of the pod so I was easily able to spray my poor eye. Word to the wise, don’t try to scratch an itch on your face. It will just end poorly.

I don’t think I fell asleep at any point, I’ve been sleeping a fair amount these days so wasn’t exhausted or anything going into the tank. I did go into that weird dreamy place I sometimes go to during savasana where I’m not quite asleep but don’t remember my thoughts.

 

How did I feel after?

SO hungry. I don’t know if that’s because I didn’t eat a large enough lunch beforehand, I did 2 workouts or what, but I was ravenous. I spent a nice chunk of time in the tank thinking about food and got so excited when I remembered The Pennsy was nearby. Win.

I also felt super tired, similar to how you feel after spending a whole day at the beach. I ended up grabbing an iced coffee after my afternoon float. I do think floating helped me get a really deep nights sleep later on.

The epsom salt was pretty nice on my muscles too. Where was this when I was marathon training last year?!

 

Would I float again?

Yes. Now that I’m a bit more used to it and know what to expect, I think the second time around will be even more relaxing and beneficial. It takes some getting used to.

If you’re curious about Floating I HIGHLY recommend checking out Aspire for your first time. I can’t speak for any other floatation tanks in the city, but was super impressed with Aspire.

 

The Deets

Aspire Center For Wellness
 248 W 35th St, New York, NY 10001
Website || instagram || facebook

First timer special: 2 floats for $150
60 minute float is $90
90 minute float is $130

Question: Have you tried flotation tanks? Would you try it?

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