Last weekend I got to spend with my son, Jake. He just completed his Neuro block in med school. I love talking with him and bouncing things back and forth (most of the time I sound nuts) but I came across something called "sensory deprivation". The brain is so amazing.
So you know how Google grabs you and takes you for a ride? Yea, well that's what happened when I started a basic search on Consciousness - the state of being awake and aware of one's surroundings.
I somehow got to zero gravity, youtube, floating, more youtube, float tanks, more youtube and next thing I know Jake and I were off to TRUEREST in Powell, Ohio to float. That's how it happened. What an experience!
Many of us have a tough time meditating. Sounds, smells, lights - any kind of distractions can throw us off and it can take a long time to get it down.
When you were a kid did you ever sink down into the bath tub, with your ears under the water, and listen to your heart? Your breathing? It was calming.
I'll describe our experience:
True Rest is a franchise. There are many float tanks out there. As a matter of fact, there is a very nice place right here in Hagerstown, MD! So, if after you read this you want to try it - just google float tanks in your area.
True Rest is very zen and spa-like. *Funny note…it's right beside a fantastic ice-cream store! Anyway, as soon as you walk in the door your senses are immediately heightened by the smell, the lighting and the water. The ladies that met us were very kind and calming. If you are like me and Jake, you're excited and open to the full experience. I do know however, others are extremely apprehensive, maybe have a wall up or even scared.
There were five of us. We were taken back to a dark room with a body contouring chaise for each. Ahh, so comfy! On the wall in front of us was a television. First they played a great video that answered questions we might have about floating, what we might experience and general info. THEN… for 10-15 minutes we watched mesmerizing lights and shapes transforming into different lights and shapes. You know, like this:
Imagine yourself climbing in to a spaceship like "pod" under a very dim ambient blue light. Naked. No restraints on your body. The water is about 95.9F. Skin temperature. It's also ladened with 1000lbs of epsom salt. That's right - One thousand pounds of epsom salts. It's clear, it's crystal like and it's fresh and it's clean. It calls you in and it feels so good.
You're in! For 1 hour you float.
You can't help but float! Your senses are going a little crazy at this point- trying to "figure this out". This is new to you… and yet, somehow familiar.
Reach up, pull the door down. Close it. You are fully in the pod. There are soft sounds of spa like music playing in the pod. Already you feel like you're in another universe. For real.
You're on your back bobbing around, water over your ears (you do have earplugs in) and just up to the corner of your eyes. Don't worry it won't get in. Reach over and push a button. Light goes off. Sound tapers to a low hum and then off it goes. And off you go. Eyes closed.
You immediately become aware, by the intimate sound of your breathing, that your heart is pounding fast and your brain is trying to figure this out.
You feel your fingers touch the side of the pod, you push off a little, then touch the other side until all of the sudden you're centered. You hear your breathing clearly but it's slowing down. Your heart becomes regular. You're calming down and your brain is accepting what it thinks your surroundings are to be.
Now for the fun part! You feel weightless. The buoyancy created by the epsom-salt solution effectively removes the effects of gravity on the body letting every single muscle in your body fully relax. Imagine that! From here on out it's different for everyone and yet a somewhat common thread. I saw the cosmos, like stars and space and I was floating through it. This was the epitome of relaxation for me. An hour later you begin to hear that soft music and your ambient light comes on. It's time to get out but you don't want leave.
I can tell you Jake and I had the SAME experience getting out of the pod after 1 hour. That weightless feeling you had becomes the opposite and immediately the feel of good ole gravity takes over. I felt like I was trying to pull myself up out of the water and pod. You feel heavy just until you get your feet and legs back. Shower the salt off and have a sit at the oxygen bar. Oh man it was good.
The good: Everything.
The bad: Nothing.
Should you try it? ABSOLUTELY! Go!
Here is a video of the very place we went. True Rest in Powell, OH. Watch it. And don't forget to check out two short inspirational videos filmed by the wonderful Tim Telep and featuring my fab son, Jake. Click the tab at top right! It'll make ya feel good.