Sensory deprivation tank leaves you feeling fulfilled
Floating buck naked with plugs in my ears in pitch blackness, I found myself thinking about the lengths modern Homo sapiens go to in the search for solace.
Mind you, this thought stream was preceded by initial racing thoughts brought on by the lid shutting tight and the lights going out. What if the power goes out while I’m in here? Wil air max 1 l they remember to come get me after the prescribed 90 minut air max 1 e session? What if someone steals my clothes? And most troubling of all, what if the zombie apocalypse occurs while I’m in here and I emerge to find Whistler run amok with a flesh eating horde?
Fortunately, Louise Van Engelsdorp had warned me that my first ‘float’ in a sensory deprivation tank would take some acclimatization, typically 30 minutes or so.
Thing is, one of the senses you quickly lose track of when floating is time, but as I discovered that is precisely the point of flotation thera air max 1 py. That’s also something visitors to Whistler, and a growing number of locals, are finding out ever since Louise and husband Bob opened West Coast Float in the village.
The couple discovered flotation therapy while on trip to Portland with two friends, one of whom was suffering from depression and thought to try out the unique form of therapy, billed as a great, and drug free, way to quiet the mind.
“All four of us went for a float, and all four of us had a very different experience,” says Louise, noting one ‘saw colours,’ while another felt like they had a full body massage. “And when we were in the shop after our float, we were noticing all the different type of people who were coming into the place. Business people, hipsters, yogis, old people.”
Intrigued, when they returned home to Whistler, the couple wondered if this was the business model they had been looking for.
“We’ve both been up here awhile,” says Louise, “and we wanted to start something but didn’t want to sell T shirts or open a restaurant.”
After some initial inquires within the ‘floating community’ which Louise describes as very ‘tight knit’ they were convinced it would work in the resort town. They opened the doors to West Coast Float, located near the Keg Restaurant, on Dec. 24, 2013.
“What really appealed to me about it is that it makes people feel good,” she explains. “We’ve had an 80 year old granddad in who loved it because it made his back feel better, and two 13 year olds with concussions who felt better after doin air max 1 g a float.”
As much as flotation therapy is about the mind, the body is not overlooked. The magnesium in the nearly 300 kilos of Epsom salts that are dissolved in the tank’s water serves as a deep muscle relaxant. The salts also provide buoyancy, allowing your body to totally relax yet stay one the water’s surface.
“The zero gravity aspect is really great for your body because everything aligns,” explains Bob, “We’ve had people come out of a float saying they’ve had a total back adjustment.”
I did manage to quiet my mind during my float, and in fact entered a pre sleep stage that left me feeling very refreshed. Likewise, my body felt relaxed after the float, not unlike the feeling of just having had a massage.
Alas, no flashbacks from that Dead show in Oregon nor were vibrant colours of the rainbow revealed during my float, but it was far from an unpleasant experience, and one I’d like to try again.
A 90 minute session costs $85, but with a pre and post shower expect to be there for two hours. Isolation tank. Flotation tank. John C. Lily tank. It goes by many names, but the concept remains the same. Float naked in a mixture of skin temperature water and Epsom salts in a soundproof, pitch black enclosed tank.
2014 marks the 60th anniversary of neuro psychiatrist John C. Lily’s invention, a device originally designed to explore the origin of the brain’s energy sources. Lily’s ground breaking work shed some light on this age old question, but it wasn’t until the early 1970s that flotation tanks were adapted for therapeutic purposes. In fact, two University of British Columbia researchers, Peter Suedfeld and Roderick Borrie, are credited as the first to use tanks this way, calling their technique ‘Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy.’ It was embraced by the New Age acolytes of the day, particularly here on the West Coast. That dried up with the AIDs epidemic, as the idea of sharing any kind of fluids publicly fell out of favour.
Sensory deprivation entered into popular culture in the 1980’s film Altered States, in which William Hurt plays a Harvard scientist experimenting with a hallucinatory drug and an isolation chamber, causing him to regress genetically.