Monday, November 19, 2012

I Regret to Inform You: I Did Not Hallucinate This Weekend.

Although I can tell you that when you scrunch up your face it crackles like the sound Doritos, and that flexing your toes is a gunshot.
I did a sensory deprivation tank this weekend, except I think we're not supposed to call it that anymore. It's isolation tank now, and I've been curious to try it since hearing Joe Rogan talk about it. So when I saw a Groupon for Conscious Drift I snatched that sheisse up right quick, one for me and one for Bryan, because nothing says date like floating in separate tanks of salinated water with no sound, no sight, no nothing but yourself. Score!

First off, we had to sign something promising that we would not pee, spit, defecate or "other" in the tank which--yeah. Whatever you do, don't think about an elephant, and then go float in a tank of lukewarm water and don't think about it some more. I guarantee you won't think about your own elephant per se, but other peoples' elephants will mess with your head.

The tank itself is a 5x8' white behemoth filled with 10 inches of water saturated with salt and magnesium and heated to 93.5 degrees, the same temperature as your skin. It's light and soundproof, the idea being that as you float you lose sense of light, sound, even touch, and most definitely of any tension. Which I did. And then some. Apparently 1 hour in an isolation tank is equal to 4 hours of REM sleep, something about brain theta waves, I don't know. When the lady explained it to us I was still reeling from signing away my right to pee in the water.

The door opens a bit like a DeLorean, and you step in naked and kind of clumsily--or maybe that was just me--and close the door and there is nothing. Which is a hard experience to describe or imagine, the sudden loss of senses. Nothing. All I could hear was my own heartbeat, and then I scrunched up my face and heard crunching. After who knows how long of me flexing and stretching I was able to really relax. Sometimes my arm would twitch or my leg, lactic acid releasing, and then suddenly I heard what sounded like a persistent fog horn. Over and over, low and long like at night. I wondered if maybe I was hearing something in the pipes of the building, but later when I asked Bryan he said he heard no such thing and that there's no way to hear through the tank. Later still I read more about isolation tanks and apparently this is a common experience: the knocking and groaning is the sound of your muscles letting go.

I really didn't want to fall asleep because I felt like it would be a waste of a float, but suddenly the door to my pod opened and there was the woman saying she had been knocking for quite some time and got worried about me. Me there floating naked and twitching. I guess I was in there for an hour and a half.

People float for meditation, visualization, rejuvenation, self observation, creativity, prayer, solitude, to solve problems, time travel even, though that may be taking the DeLorean door a bit too far. I went in there trying to guide my mind to hallucinate or light on a genius idea for a book all because I was curious and it was a Groupon. Alas, I twitched and heard fog horns, then fell asleep.

Note to self: you can't put hallucinate on your to-do list.

So that's that. Would I do it again? Yes, but only if I find another Groupon or Living Social deal. What can I say? Peace of mind 'aint cheap, but I am.

One hand clapping,

p.s. Caveat emptor: I am still digging crusted salt from my ears.


Anonymous said...

How did you not have a panic attack?

Petunia Face said...

I actually wasn't afraid of having a panic attack. Enclosed places don't really get to me. Although I feel too brash saying that, as if now I'll have a panic attack in an elevator or something.

Bryan says he got a little claustrophobic, so he just propped open his door an inch using a towel. It's nice to know you can easily open the door at any time.

chacha said...

You're awesome.

Ceci said...

I don't know, halucinations aren't all bad...I had a facial once and was so relaxed that I either dreamt or halucinated that I was sitting on the floor in a monestery playing with baby ducks. That kind of relaxation is amazing! I must try an isolation float. Sounds awesome!! Thanks for sharing!

katie said...

yikes..i just peed on the couch reading this....