Floating is a skill and an art. Which means, you often aren’t going to become a pro at it right away. Even if you have floated 1, 2, 3 or 10 times, there are still mistakes that you might be making in a float tank. Here are the most common mistakes that we hear about (or are guilty of ourselves!):
1. Having too much to drink or eat before hand
It’s fairly obvious why you should not drink a large latte 15 minutes before your float session, but what you may not realise is that eating a large meal beforehand can cause just as much discomfort in the tank. It’s a good idea not to come into your session feeling hungry, however you do not want to feel heavy and have the taste of garlic on your breath while you’re trying to relax. It is also a great idea to hydrate beforehand, but make sure you do not overdo it or you will find yourself needing to go to the bathroom halfway through your float which is guaranteed to ruin the experience for you.
2. Over thinking
You booked in your first float and at first you were excited, but now the time has come and you’re all of a sudden nervous and apprehensive. You get into the tank and you have already convinced yourself that you cannot switch off and you are not going to be able to lay there for an hour doing nothing.
The reality is that you are probably not going to have a flawless first experience. There are too many nerves and you have no idea what to expect, so you go into your first float over-stimulated which is the opposite of what you are trying to achieve.
We always tell our customers to just lay back, count your breaths and be patient. You are not going to sink into a meditative state in the first 15 minutes of your first float. Like we mentioned at the start, floating is a skill and it will take you a few sessions to master it.
And what if you can’t switch off your brain no matter how many times you try? That’s fine! There is nothing wrong with using the tank as a solitary space to think, sort through your feelings and plan out the rest of your day, week or life! It’s rare we get time to do some life admin without any outside distractions. Your body is still in a restful state and the Epsom salts will still be doing their magic on your muscles and joints.
3. Touching your face
We’ve all been there and it’s not fun. For a moment you forget where you are, feel an itch on your eyelid and all of a sudden your eyes are burning and you’re worried you will never be able to see ever again.
That’s what the spray bottle on the step is for! A few quick (and panicked) sprays and you will be fine. It’s important to not let this ruin the rest of your float and to get straight back into focusing on your breathing and slowing your heart rate back down.
4. Not fully relaxing
The most common mistake people make is trying too hard to float. Don’t do this! You will float. Seriously, it’s pretty much impossible to drown in a float tank because of all the buoyancy from the Epsom salt.
The most common area of tension when floating the first time is in your neck and upper back, especially if you are used to sitting at a desk all day. Try floating with your arms above your head to ease tension in your spine and back. Also, some people like to use the inflatable pillow while they are in the tank, though we don’t really recommend this as it won’t let your spine realign naturally. Sometimes a slight change of positioning is all you need to help your body relax into an even deeper state.
5. Moving around too much
Many first timers move around a lot when they first start floating. When you first get in it tends to get the water moving and you will more likely bump into the walls and have a hard time staying in the centre. After about 10 minutes you should settle down. The calmer you are, the more still you will be. Regular floaters will recognise that on days when they are extra stressed or have a lot on their mind, they will ping pong around the tank. If this sounds like you, trying putting both your hands on the walls to steady yourself in the centre of the tank and hold yourself there for a minute or two until the water goes still.
6. Too high expectations
The best thing anyone can do for their float practice is to come with an open mind, both to whatever happens during their time in the tank as well as in regards to how they will feel after their float. Each time you float is a different experience and will give your mind and body what it needs at that point in time, even if your mind can’t switch off and you start making to-do lists in your head.
If you choose to float to help you with a mental or physical condition, it is likely that you will need regular floats in order to notice steady and lasting improvement. Don’t give up after your first float if it wasn’t what you expected. We are certain that you will start seeing benefits soon as the more you float the better it gets and the longer the effects will last!