Fifty Dollar Bath

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The first time I read about sensory deprivation tanks I was fascinated.

I have never experienced total sensory deprivation. My curiosity over what it must be like has never waned.

However, actually spending the money to take a bath has always fallen on the wrong side of “ridiculously extravagant”.

You guys, I love Groupon. I mean, other than the time I bought the Groupon for the laser hair removal. The laser hair place burned the fuck out of my face and I had to walk around with mustache shaped blisters. I was not fond of that Groupon.

There is a new place, just a few miles from our house, that is a “float loft”.

My current experience in life is that regularly visiting places called a “float loft” isn’t in my realm. I also don’t have a theater room. Or a working central air unit. But that’s okay. We won’t need that again for months.

Groupon, however, has made it possible for me to finally see what it’s like to be deprived of my senses at a price that only makes me cringe a little bit.

I reminded Randy last night that I had my appointment this morning for my fifty dollar bath.

Randy: What is this again?

Me: It’s a sensory deprivation tank. They put a fuck ton of Epsom salts in a tub and you float in there without any sound or light.

Randy: …

Me: You have the option of having soothing music or some light if you want. But I don’t see the point of that. I want to go full sensory deprivation.

Randy: You. You want to be completely and totally alone with your thoughts?

Me: Yes.

Randy: And you think this is a good idea? Because I know some of your thoughts.

Me: Yeah, I think it might be interesting or enlightening.

Randy: Have you read your blog?

Me:…

Randy: You’re going to come back from this and be fucked up for months.

Me: I dunno. I think it will okay. If I start getting distressed, I’ll turn on the music or something.

Randy: How long does it last?

Me: Ninety minutes.

Randy: Ninety minutes? Alone in your own head? That’s going to be a minimum of 4,398 disturbing thoughts.

Me: Honestly, I am mostly concerned that I’ll get bored and start splashing around or something. I’ll get out and it will look like 27 toddlers just took a bath in there.

Anyway, in about an hour, I’ll be floating in a dark tank with nothing but my thoughts. I’ll let you know how it goes.

——————————————————————————————————————-

It’s nearly 7:00 AM on Sunday morning.

The fifty dollar bath wasn’t what I expected.

I arrived about 20 minutes early. The windows of the storefront were cloudy and drippy. I am extremely sensitive to heat. I had a moment of trepidation. Oh fucking hell. Is this going to be like the “hot yoga” incident? 

A young man, who looked like Shane from The Walking Dead, checked me in. I had to sign a waiver and briefly read over the “ways you could die and it’s not our goddamn fault” page. Mostly, it had to do with slipping and falling, which for me, is a totally valid concern.

Shane led me back to a dimly lit room. A huge pod of water sat in the middle and there was a shower head at the back of the room. Shane instructed me to take a shower before entering the pod. There was a spray bottle of water hanging in the pod just in case I got salt water in my eyes. He showed me the emergency button and the light button. Those two buttons are exactly the same on opposite sides of the tank. Which to me, looks like a recipe for disaster or at least acute embarrassment. No…no no no. WAIT! I just wanted to turn the lights back on. 

Shane left me alone and my 90 minute bath started ticking down.

Let me just say, it feels weird to shower in a big exposed room. Like the whole room was my shower stall.

Anyway, I got in the water and the first thing I did was start laughing. You guys, it is such an odd sensation to be so buoyant. You know when you are in a pool and you jump up on a float and you are sure you are going to fall right back off? That’s what it felt like to me, but there was no where to fall. It felt both like my body was at odds with the water and that I was floating way too close to the surface.

In just a few moments, I processed my floating self and it felt good. Remember when you were a kid and would imagine floating on clouds? Just me then? Well, that is what this felt like. Total weightlessness. No pressure anywhere, yet completely supported.

I started down at my toes in the strange blue light, floated over to the light switch, and put myself into total darkness.

Shane told me that people often feel like they are overthinking as they try to slip into a meditative state. I did not have that problem. I was having too much fun propelling myself all around the tank. Total darkness and the delicious feel of the warm water sliding under my skin as I bounced around the tank like a middle aged mermaid.

I felt no aches and pains. I could stretch and bend without anything aching. I contorted myself into letters in the water. Mostly C’s and I’s. 

I’m Gumby, dammit!

Time ceased to have any meaning. I was afraid I’d get bored after a while, but I never did. My 90 minutes however, did not pass without incident.

When you are writhing around in salt water, sooner or later, the water is going to end up on your face. I got some water in my eye and fucking hell did that sting.

I tried to sit up and had to flail about for a moment, the water really wanted me to float, not sit. It took a few seconds, but I won that battle. I had been bouncing around like a pinball, in total darkness, so I had no idea where I was in the tank. I started feeling around the perimeter and felt the rubber from the light button. Or maybe the emergency button. I had no idea what side of the tank I was one. I quickly pulled my hand back so that Shane didn’t burst in and rescue me from my lack of direction.

I found the spray bottle and rinsed off my eye.

Then after hanging the bottle back up, I leaned back into the tank. Only I didn’t know exactly where I was in the tank and I cracked my head against the wall. That made me throw my arm up to grab my aching head. I was saying “Ouch” just as I was throwing my arm back and water dripped into my mouth.

For all that is holy. Oh my god, that is horrible. Fucking hell, that tastes like it came out of satan’s butthole. 

Then, I got water in my other eye.

I went through the process of finding the water bottle again and got squared away. The inside of my mouth still tasted like ripe death but at least my eyes weren’t stinging.

I started to bounce around the pod again and slowly stopped moving.

How odd.

No sound or light. Complete weightlessness. I waited for the turtle who balances the earth on his back to croak some words of wisdom to me, but he wasn’t talking.

I wasn’t inundated with disturbing thoughts. I didn’t see things. I mostly just laid there and marveled at how very peaceful I felt.

I think it was toward the end of the 90 minutes when I fell asleep. A snore woke me up just as the music started playing signaling the end of the session. Maybe. I might have been asleep for 30 minutes. Who knows? I really had no sense of time or place.

I didn’t get bored, but I was ready to get out of the pod as well. I showered and dressed and then talked to Shane for a few minutes before going out to my car.

It wasn’t until I was home for about an hour before I finally identified the odd sensation I was feeling.

I wasn’t tired.

You know that feeling you get up when you have had a good night’s sleep? You feel rejuvenated and ready for the world? Yeah. Me either.

I felt rested. My fifty dollar bath was worth every penny to have an afternoon where I felt rested. My anxiety was almost non-existent.

I even feel mostly rested today.

I would totally recommend trying this if you can. Just don’t wave your arms around and do not drink the water.

 

 

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83 comments

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  • This is wonderful. There is a place like this about a mile from me that I think about periodically because I’d like to try it and then I forget about it for months at a time. I’m going to make an appointment today for next week. I think it’s regular cost isn’t much more than your groupon cost and the web page shows a guy from the Vampire Diaries so I’m sure it’s going to be awesome. Thanks for the heads up about the getting water in your eye, too. I actually don’t like to get water on my face all that much so I will have to consider that.

  • .02 thoughts per minute? Or 48.9 thoughts per minute? It must be the almost 49 thoughts per minute. Damn…Randy’s good at math.

    I am now in the market for a $50 nap in a dark salty womb.

    This was fun to read and I am loving the feeling of REST you described….I’m surprised you didn’t hear angels singing when you had your ‘Aha’ moment!

    Did you ask Shane how much the womb was to build? I can see me spending $700 a week. I intend to sleep twice a day in there, so a $2800 a month habit might need to just be made into a ‘rent to own’ kinda plan.

    That was way too much math for a sensory deprivation blog.

    🙂

  • lol. My favourite line from Randy – Have you read your blog?

    But now I am totally going to try this – I will have to re-subscribe to Group-on of course because I am Cheap, cheap, cheap.

  • Wow!

    I have to say I would have reacted to the idea of the same way Randy did. I spend a fair amount of time avoiding being alone with what’s in my own head.

    I’m so glad you had such a good experience.

    • I didn’t struggle with negative thoughts even a little and that is something I struggle with ALL THE DAMN TIME. Even when something negative entered my brain, I just kind of paid attention to it a little and then let it go..

  • Sounds great – except for burning eyes & lingering bad taste…
    Did U hafta get nekkid? I know from Tales My Parents Tell B.V. (Before Val, when they took long road trips, the sorts of things you can do when young & childless) – when they visited the Great Salt Lake, you rented a swimsuit to avoid ruining yr own…

  • Oooh what an interesting thing…I’m crazy about water, buy I’d have probably wanted light but only because I had a weird inthetotaldark experience on an amusement park tunnel water slide thing that almost gave me a heart attack from fear and was pretty much the opposite of sensory deprivation… Lol. And I tend to fall asleep even in our hot tub, so I’d worry about rolling over and drowning. Still, how lovely to feel rested!! I miss that feeling. Or I would if I could say I’ve ever felt it.

  • Good for you! If only there was a way to leave my noisy mind in the car whilst I floated. I’ve always wanted to try it, but you know, in those pods where they close the door and trap you. Try to relax now! A big issue would be not thinking about how they clean the water after each visitor. I`m worried already. Sigh…

    • That’s what Randy said. Although, it’s like a public pool I would think…and you shower as soon as you get out. I don’t really worry about stuff like that..Randy does though.

  • I get seasick and motion sickness easily, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem people have with these. . .sensory deprivation and being alone with my thoughts sounds kind of like hell, but maybe like you, I need it? 🙂

  • You didn’t hallucinate like in the “Altered States” movie? Or wait a minute, he was heavily dosing himself in combination with the sensory isolation in that movie. Also, that was 1980, when there were still quite a few people who hadn’t figured out that Carlos Castaneda was writing fiction.
    You know, considering that I’ve been a rock and roll guitarist my entire adult life, I’ve noticed lately that I have a new found appreciation for “peace and quiet”. Something I remain convinced has nothing to do with my upcoming 55th birthday next month…

  • I want to do this!!! I float like that in my pool sometimes but inevitably one of the kids will splash water into my face about three minutes in so…..yeah. I love the feeling of floating and the quiet under the water. I’d be concerned about being alone with me and my thoughts for that long, too. It sounds like it did you some good even if the devil did crap in your mouth. I need to find out if they have one of these magical tubs in my neck of the woods.

  • What an interesting story! All I know about those tanks I learned from that one Simpson episode, but you make it sound like those tanks are much roomier than that episode made them out to be. Like you could move around and sit up in them? I also don’t know that feeling of being well rested even after a good night’s sleep (define “good”…), so maybe I should try it 🙂

  • I would look for a sensory deprivation tank, but I’m an American living in England and I’m pretty sure there are none. The British people I know want to feel every gawd-awful feeling there is to feel or they get anxious. They have nothing to bitch about and they become morose. The sun shines and they complain about the brightness. Anyhow, I married one of those miserable buggers, so I can’t complain. Or can I?

  • Oh my gosh, this was a hilarious and informative read! I love the way you write and told your story. I have seen those deals on Groupon and have always been curious.

  • If that really makes you feel rested, then I’d like to start every day with a float in a pod.

    Did your hair get wet? That’s always my big concern. Cos if it gets salt water on it, then I have to wash it, and that’s an ordeal I try to avoid.

  • I too have seen them advertised on Groupon. Wow.Happy for you! I don’t think I could do it. I think I would start doing laps out of boredom.
    Also advertised I’ve seen are Salt rooms. You sit for 90 minutes in a room of salt or some such thing. Need your investigative powers to figure what that is about !

  • The whole idea of sensory deprivation tanks has always creeped me out but you make it sound pretty appealing–the taste and burning notwithstanding. I swim regularly and my favorite part is always the feeling of weightlessness. I’ve always wanted to try scuba diving but my wife says that’s too dangerous.
    The problem for me would be the darkness. My brain tends to invent scary things in the dark.

  • I can’t believe you did this. I am equally as curious about trying it, but absolutely terrified of my own thoughts. I would for sure exceed Randy’s estimation hahaha! I’m so glad you didn’t have that kind of experience, though, and it was even better than you thought!

  • So what would you recommend doing a search on to find one in my area? “Float loft”? “Sensory deprivation?” Don’t want to accidentally click on something that will haunt my nightmares.

  • I’ve never heard of this – but then again I do live in the country that may or may not actually exist so it wouldn’t be strange that I hadn’t heard of it.
    I’ve also got to stop reading your blog at work – laughing out loud in our work place is a dead giveaway that I’m not actually working !!!!
    I would totally get the emergency switch and the light switch muddled up and I would have to be very careful about flailing around – I HATE water on my face – PMSL !!!
    So glad it was so good for you – I may have to investigate if we have anything similar in the land that isn’t.
    xox

    • I did a quick search and there are places that have the sensory deprivation tanks…although, I have no idea how near you would be to one. But rest assured, they do exist in the make believe continent of Australia.

      • I found one not too far from where I live – but it’s slightly different in that you get into a pod/capsule looking thing. It’s looks pretty small but they say it’s about the size of a small car inside so should be fine.
        Now to find an appointment at a suitable time !!!
        Thanks so much for this – I will pay just about anything to have a decent sleep !!!

  • My nordic spa got a salt water float pool. I’m not sure if it’s the same experience – I always balked at paying the extra cost, but now I’m kind of curious.

  • Okay, I have to admit, now I’m totally curious. I’m not sure if I’d find it peaceful or if it’d provoke a panic attack. I really thought you might hallucinate! Loved the turtle reference btw! And no way I’d undress with Shane around!!

  • Hey! I know we live in the same region of Ohio. I’ve thought about trying this before, and I’ve seen the Groupons, too. I may try this now that I’ve read your review. I was worried about panic attacks in the pod. Thanks!

  • I’ve always scoffed at these things, and in fact just turned down a local Groupon offer for one the other day, but now I’m kicking myself because your experience sounds awesome and I honestly can’t remember the last time I wasn’t tired. It would be nice to be NOT tired again sometime before I die.

  • What a great post. I’ll have to try this out some day. I’m re-reading Eat Pray Love and I keep remembering how stressed out I am but I haven’t even attempted meditation in a long ass time! I found your blog on The Bloggess’ site and I have recently started a blog. My newest post is an ode to the Bloggess. Maybe you can check it out? I’d love some feedback from successful blogger’s. I’m subscribing to yours and will be back for sure.

  • Loved this! Your writing is so funny, so vulnerable, so real. Thank you. Not sure about doing this myself, since I’m not much of a water person, nor do I relax in the dark! But I definitely find ways to deeply relax – mainly through Reiki treatments (since that’s what I do, I know it works!)

    • Thank you so much! I really want to do this again…relaxing is awesome. Who knew? I actually no nothing about Reiki, other than I’ve heard the word before. It could be a massage technique or it could be a kitchen appliance. No idea.

      I’m going to go look it up now.

  • So….this water, in which you were naked and unafraid. Do they change it out between customers? Or were you floating around in someone’s leftover water? I guess if there was enough salt in there, it might act like bromine would in a pool – getting rid of contaminants and the like. I only ask because I’ve seen Groupons for this in my neck of the woods and I just want to be sure I wouldn’t be soaking in someone else’s pee water.

  • I don’t know how I missed this one, but I’m glad I clicked the link in today’s post. Because damned if I haven’t been looking into doing this myself. Have to get on Groupon. Did they let you wear a bathing suit? Or just your birthday suit? Inquiring minds want to know…

By Michelle

Michelle

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