In a previous post I’ve shared that I’m taking a mindfulness class right now (SNC198...aka the best class ever that everyone should take), and how we went on a 4 day retreat to Starved Rock
back in September.
Since that retreat, the rest of the class has been online, but we’ve had some cool assignments to do, which always keeps the class really interesting. Since it’s in the School of New Learning, those students take the course as a pass/fail, but if you’re enrolled in it to fill your junior year experiential learning domain, like myself, you receive a letter grade for it. Thus, you have some extra assignments to do. Luckily, they’re fun and engaging.
One of them is an essay where we had to try out an alternative form of meditation and compare it to the meditations and mindfulness practice we did on the retreat. Something I had always wanted to try but never got around to doing, was floating in a sensory deprivation tank. So, I thought this was a perfect opportunity (and justified spending money on it).
A place called Oto Float
had opened up right by my house in late August, so I went in there one afternoon. To kill two birds with one stone, I thought I’d also write an article about it for my journalism class. After talking to one of the owners for a while and checking out the place, he said I could interview him, and gave me my first float for free!
The tank contains 1000 pounds of Epsom salt, which makes you effortlessly float to the top/ You have the option to keep the tank open or closed, have the lights in there on or off, and have music or a guided meditation playing.
Floating causes a feeling of weightlessness, and the reduction of external stimuli allows for a deep state of relaxation. In this state, the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, which reduces anxiety.
In an interview with Jen Stutler, an employee at Oto Float and girlfriend of the founder, she says “I find that it seriously reduces my anxiety. My first float amplified it, my heart was beating fast, but now I can’t wait to get in the tank. It’s safe in there. And I find I have a better outlook when I’m done. I feel better for days.”
I had a similar experience, where I was super anxious for the first 20-30 minutes, but after that time flew by, and it was really on my way home that I felt the effects and felt so much calmer and at peace.
I haven’t been back since, but I hope to soon and everyone should try it out, especially in the midst of finals!