The environment for floating is controlled, floating does not stop every float from being a unique experience. The float tank is a neutral environment, but every individual brings in their unique state of mind and body. That’s why we always recommend playing around with different times of day when you are starting to float so that you can find what you enjoy most consistently for your practice.
There are a few surprising things that have way LESS impact on your float experience than you might think. These include the temperature and weather outside, the style of tank that you use, and even what your intentions and expectations are going into your session.
Temperature & Time of Year
The temperature in a float tank makes for a very different experience than hot tubs, baths, or even a heated pool.
For starters, it doesn’t matter the time of year, floating feels the same regardless. The temperature of your body may be different when you first come in, after a shower and just a few minutes in the tank, your body naturally equalizes back towards your natural temperature. On cold days the float tank can help by raising your core temperature and increasing your circulation. On hot days, though, floating helps your body to stay cool, which in turn lends a hand with focus and energy levels.
When the weather gets hot, we see far more regulars than newcomers, as a lot of first-time floaters assume that floating in warm water when it’s already hot outside is going to be uncomfortable. They don’t understand yet that although the water is heated, it’s only warmed to skin-receptor neutral: the level at which your temperature receptors stop sending any signals – hot or cold – to your brain.
Intentions and Expectations
The inventor of the float tank, Dr John C. Lilly, was a huge proponent of going into your floats with no expectations. The float tank is very good at giving your body and mind what they need and often different from what you think you want.
Perhaps you have something stressful on your mind that you want to work through in the comfortable, fully focused environment of a float tank and then almost as soon as you enter the tank you go into a deep, sleepy state of theta brainwaves. When you wake up at the end of your session, you realize that you didn’t spend the session thinking through things as you intended. However, what you needed was likely some physical and mental rest.
As with so many things that are good for us, humans are excellent at finding reasons to put off going in for a much-needed float. Once in the salt water, comfortable and buoyed, all of those objections fade into the distant background, and rest, recover, and process in whatever way comes naturally at the moment. The particulars of an individual float are always uncertain, but the benefits from a regular float practice are consistent and irrefutable.