Wednesday, February 11, 2015

After The Float (Deprivation Tank)

So today I went to Float Lab in Venice, CA. I know I said I was going to the Westwood location but it turns out that they have not opened yet. Stupid internet. Click here for why I wanted to do this. Thankfully I called to double check things and found out the correct location to go to. Being fully aware that people hate reading here is a fast version of what it was like.

Look: Giant metal box with huge tanks of various gasses, liquids, and such to operate the deprivation tank. Also, it is blacker than Don Cheadle on Crenshaw in 1992.

Sound: Your own breathing, pulse, and sometimes the tank itself.

Taste: Bionic levels of salt if it gets in your mouth which it did after I showered.

Touch: I want to say wet but that doesn't even make sense since the water is your own temperature. It feels like you are just floating on nothing.

Overall: I would suggest anyone that wants peace and quiet, has joint pains, or wants to see weird shit.

Now for those of you that have stuck around and want a little bit more information, this was a really good experience. Granted, I was expecting a psychedelic experience that would leave me stumbling down Venice Beach butt booty ass naked and muttering about my ancestors. While that did not happen I did get some good information about some friendships, relationships, and my brain.

I took the buses to this location and got there way early. I decided to take some pictures and a video of the ocean. After it opened I headed inside and met Crash who owns and runs the place. He saw my shirt and we talked about The Undertaker for a moment after he said he met him years ago in Vegas. He went over how to prepare which was showering beforehand, using earplugs (which they provided), and how to towel off properly to make sure you didn't get salt all in your face. I signed some paperwork, handed him $40, and headed into a long room where the tank and shower were kept.

This is all private, by the way. Once you are in that room it is locked. The shower has natural soap to use and your own towels. After I washed off I opened the tank. At this point I still hadn't appreciated what this tank really was. Even writing about it sounds silly in comparison to what it was truly like. When I say it is dark in there I mean it is dark. You can not tell if your eyes are open or not after that door is shut.

The water is weird feeling at first because it is slightly thicker than regular water because of the amount of salt used. Its about a foot deep and once I laid down I floated immediately. I tilted my head back to get my ears underneath and the world was shut out. For a few minutes I just lay there not knowing what to think or feel. I went blank. My body didn't know what was happening to it in this new environment. There was a moment where I felt like I was slowly spinning which would have been impossible in the tank. But try telling that to your brain. 

I wiggled around a little bit testing the limits of my buoyancy. If this were how I slept every night I would have no problem. So I am just laying there and after a while I couldn't tell if my eyes were closed or not. My body had adjusted to the water so I couldn't feel myself. I had my arms floating at my sides with my legs straight. And, yes. I was naked. Get that image out your head!

Then I started seeing lights. The same kind as you see when you are trying to go to sleep. At least for me. But this time they weren't random spots but looked like a crack in the corner of my eye. When I focused on it it would go away. Minutes later it would happen again and it'd stop when I focused. After this weird game of cat and mouse eventually I got to the point where I wasn't paying attention to anything. I wasn't asleep but I wasn't there if that makes any sense.

There were times where my brain rebelled against the absence of senses. It does this when I am trying to go to sleep but my body didn't have the benefit of opening my eyes and seeing the clock across the room or hear the sounds from the bar across the street. My brain does not know how to deal with complete silence and feeling this way. No clothes to tug on. No car horns in the distance. So I began to experiment.

There is nothing like the feeling and sound of cracking your joints while floating in the water. Nothing! I did my arms first and they relaxed. Then my legs. The best was my back. Oh, that was good! I kinda bent a leg, twisted to the left and right, and my spine sounded like a bag of chips.

More lights.

I thought I heard someone pounding on something nearby but it turns out that it was my pulse. I was breathing hard and didn't realize it. So after controlling my breathing (I've been meditating since high school) my pulse slowed down and that is when I had a conversation with myself about some people in my life. That isn't for anyone to know so I won't write about that. It was depressingly awesome.

After a while of not knowing what was happening I got antsy. I started just laying there thinking about random nonsense and decided to get out the tank. My session was scheduled for two hours but I got out with 15 minutes to go. It felt like I had been in there maybe half an hour. I showered, got dressed, and left. I walked from Float Lab to my bus which is 2.2 miles. Gave me time to think about what I just did and buy five shirts for no reason. Something I noticed though was that my patience was different.

The bus did not show up and after an hour of waiting I wasn't upset. I barely checked my watch. I ended up taking two different buses home and not being upset at all about it. When the bus was stuck in traffic my brain knew that normally I would get annoyed but for whatever reason it never clicked to that point. Ever since I left that place my brain has been in a state of “Okay...whatever. Everything is okay.” I came home and ended up passing out for a few hours.

I would definitely recommend this to my friends. This is something I have wanted to do for years and I am happy that I did it. I know that it is supposed to get easier and better each time so that is what I am expecting. I am going to schedule another float for next month but make a day of it by having lunch and just chilling on the beach. Thanks for reading.  

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