Sensory Deprivation Tank Experience: Tips For Your First Float

Your first float spa experience can be a pleasant one or not, depending on how you relax while inside the sensory deprivation chamber. So, you should learn the different float tank medication techniques to ensure that you would enjoy it.

Your floating feeling during meditation depends on how you behave inside the float tank. Most of the things you would often hear are great stories, but you should know that this may vary.

There are individuals who also experienced horror stories inside the float tank. So, you should prepare yourself physically and mentally before you go inside an isolation float tank.

By the end of this article, I will share a few float tank therapy tips to help you enjoy your float spa experience.

What happens in a sensory deprivation tank?

When you are inside a sensory deprivation chamber that is loaded with 800 lbs of Epsom salt, you will literally float. This is probably the reason, the equipment is called “float tank.”

Pretty sure, you have heard a lot of stories about float therapy already. But there are still a lot of things that you need to know. For instance, your first float experience may not be that enjoyable.

Your sensory deprivation tank experience might not turn out the way you expect it to be. Doing something for the first time, especially when it involves unplugging from the world can be intimidating and scary.

When I decided to try floating, I was very excited but apprehensive at the same time. When I climbed into the chamber, I tried to relax.

It was agonizing at first because I really wanted to relax without any distractions but lots of thoughts came pouring. When you are inside the chamber, your mind will play tricks with you. My thoughts started to wander, I began seeing things and I felt like I’m floating around in space.

My mind was restless. I thought about my work, my mom, about killers and ghosts. I also wonder when my session would be over. I couldn’t keep track of time.

After a couple of minutes, I thought I was ready. So, I turned off the sound and light prematurely. But I regretted my choice. I panicked and struggled for a good minute when I felt that I was totally devoid of light and sound. I did my best to find the switch and escape the total darkness. I maintained the low light inside the tank.

It took me a couple of minutes to really feel relaxed. Then, my mind was clear and started to calm down. For the first time, I felt good while inside the chamber. I felt so light that I couldn’t feel my arms and limbs, so I tried to wave my hand and ended up splashing salt water over my face. I focused again and was back into that very interesting world that really made me feel good.

I have my fair share of hallucinations, too. There was a time when I could see my body floating and how my head and arms moved. Then suddenly, I saw a deep ocean, then in another turn, I was in a forest.

Some good old memories were so vivid that it felt so real. I was going deeper and deeper into my childhood memories until I heard an electronic voice that began to speak. The lights in the tank came up. My time was up and it seemed not long enough at all.

What to wear in a float tank?

During your float tank session, it’s best to undress so your clothing will not hinder you from enjoying your tranquility and peace. A number visit a float tank spa or center to float which makes them uncomfortable to bare it all.

Most of those you see inside a sensory deprivation chamber wear swimsuits or shorts. But the best thing to do is to go naked. In this way, you will feel total lightness and freedom.

It is also recommended that you remove your contacts or glasses.

Do you tip at a float spa?

A number have asked me “do you tip the owner of a spa?” Actually, there are no rules, but you can be generous. You can always give if you want to especially if the experience make you feel good.

Float Tank Tips

Pretty sure you have already heard some horror stories about float therapy. But in reality, there are techniques to make your first float experience better.

Here are some of the float tank techniques that you should do:

Relax before your session starts.

It is recommended that you start to relax 10-15 minutes before your float therapy session begins. Being in a sensory deprivation chamber will help you release your stress, but it’s best when you are already calm even before you get inside the float tank.

Focus on breathing to relax.

Just like meditation, focus on breathing. Breathing will help you relax, so try to breathe deeply and consciously close your eyes. Doing this helps your brain to begin producing the more relaxed “alpha” waves.

Also, tuning into your breathing is a great way to become more present. When you are aware of your breathing pattern whether it’s rapid or sporadic, slow it to a more long and rhythmic pace to calm you down.


It’s also best if you engage in some physical activities before you enter the sensory deprivation chamber. You can do yoga or gymnastics and other forms of exercise to attenuate the need for movement.

A number of individuals reported that their best float happened when they have taken a yoga or vibration class prior to it. Letting go of any physical energy that your body is holding onto is a great way to prepare yourself for the float tank.

Make sure to wear your earplugs.

One of the things that you don’t want to happen during or after floating is having water in your ears. This can cause abnormal noises or worse cause an infection that may lead to fever, swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, and pain in the face, neck or side of the head. So, never ever miss your earplugs before you go inside a sensory float tank.

Go on a light stomach.

Make sure that you eat light before you float. While you are inside the float tank, you will experience a complete sensory deprivation, which means hyper body awareness.

Trust me, you wouldn’t want to focus on your growling stomach when you float and you wouldn’t love it either when your digestive system struggles to digest that loads of food you just consumed.

Ditch the caffeine.

A lot of us love coffee to get things done, but caffeine is not recommended leading up to a float because it is a stimulant. It will keep your mind awake and might make it more difficult for you to relax and enjoy the moment. The deepest floats arise from the least amount of stimulation—outside, and inside. So, if possible, avoid caffeine the entire day of your float!


Make sure that you are well-hydrated when you show up in the float tank center. Your body is 60% water and it will be inconvenient if you suffer from thirst while you float. You will definitely struggle to focus and tune in with yourself. Failing to reach a deep state will not hinder you from enjoying the maximum benefits of floating.

Avoid touching your face.

It’s near to impossible to touch your face while floating, so you really need to keep this in mind. The no-salt-in-eyes success rate is low especially that in-pod itches can be a momentary distraction. So, when you start to feel an itch, just ignore it and keep your hands underwater.

Go naked.

Don’t be afraid to bare it all when you float. You should undress and not be afraid of exposing your entire nakedness because you are given a private space. Also, doing so can help you maximize your float tank experience.

Apply Ointment or waterproof band aids to your cuts

Have you heard the idiom “to rub salt in a wound?” Remember that the tank is filled with salt, so if you have cuts or scrapes, it’s best to apply a thin ointment on the area or cover it with a waterproof band aid. These will serve as a protective barrier against the salt to help prevent the burning sensation while you float.

Bring a face towel.

As you float in the salty water with your thoughts wandering away, chances are high that you will splash some salty water in your face or eyes and you will not love it because it stings. So, it’s best if you bring a small face towel and cover your eye area to prevent the salt water from getting in your eye. If you don’t want to cover your eyes, then at least keep it within your reach while you are inside the tank so you can wipe the salty water if it gets in your face.

Let go of the outer consensus reality.

When you are already inside the water tank float, try your best to detach yourself from the hustle and bustle of your daily life. Turn your phone off when you arrive or better yet turn it off before you drive to your appointment.

Floating is a chance to literally unplug yourself from everything. So, detach yourself from your usual routine. Don’t think about your email, social media or any incoming calls.

Use the bathroom before your session.

I mentioned above that you have to hydrate yourself. However, I suggest that you stop drinking liquids two hours before your float in water tank. Of course, you do not want a full bladder ripping you away from “the zone.” So, make sure that you go in the tank empty.

Schedule your first float well.

I recommend that you schedule your float at least one and a half hours. Then, take time to take a break. The more times you float, the less time you need to get in “the zone” on your future floats.

You may or may not bring a foam pillow.

There are people who prefer to use a pillow for neck support as doing so help them relax. You can do the same if you want to, but as for me, I’m more comfortable without a pillow.

Consider your sense of smell.

There are float tank centers that use chlorine, but if the chlorine smell bothers you, it’s best to look for float spas that don’t use it. Yes, there are float tank businesses that don’t use chlorine and I actually prefer it.

Go in without expectation.

Your float tank experience may not turn out the way you want it to be. I understand that you have heard positive stories about float tank therapy, but there are also some, who didn’t like their first float experience because they saw horrible visions.

The best thing to maximize your floating is to be open about everything. Don’t expect too much from it. As I mentioned, let go of your reality and welcome anything that may happen while you are inside the tank. The more you float, the more you will enjoy it. So, don’t be too harsh on your first float.

Don’t be afraid to take a nap.

Don’t be afraid to nap while inside the float tank because it is safe. In fact, there are benefits for doing so.

According to a study involving 60 athletes, those who had a cheeky nap actually produce more benefits. So, don’t be afraid to take a nap while you float.

Shower well.

You have to take a shower before you go inside the salt float tank. After your float tank session, you also need to take a shower well. Take your time to wash off the salt that might stick in your hair. Otherwise, it will dry in your hair and skin. Others reported that they had rashes after not washing well following their float therapy session.

Schedule a quiet time to integrate your experience.

A number of individuals who float reported that they experienced disorientation after their session. Thus, it’s best if you give yourself time to process your experience.

Floating offers a deep sense of relaxation, but returning to the real world may take time. Yes, you might find yourself struggling to grasp the reality after leaving the float tank center. Some reported that they were disoriented and that it took them time to process what time what it is and what they usually do at that time of the day.

Take at least 5 minutes to really soak in the experience you had, ponder on your thoughts or drink some water. This is the reason, most float tank center offers a space where you can stand by for a couple of minutes after your session. Some centers allow you to enjoy a cup of water or water, flipped through their journal or draw until you’re back to yourself. You can take this as an opportunity to look back to your float spa experience.


Your float tank experience may be pleasant or not. But you should remember that you can do something about it. Just practice the float tank meditation techniques mentioned above to maximize your time inside the float tank. Always remember to relax inside the float deprivation tank. Don’t be anxious.

Float tanks are designed to de-stress you and make you feel better. Don’t expect a perfect experience on your first try, but keep on floating and you will eventually reap its benefits.
If you wish to learn more about float tanks or float therapy, feel free to check our homepage.

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