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Alternate Waking States Induction Method (Floatation)

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Interesting article here by a long term floatation REST facilitator and investigator. He describes an adapted MILD technique for the induction of "Alternate Waking States", such as lucid dreams and OBE's using the float tank. The author takes a rational view of such phenomena but his descriptions and insights are highly intriguing. He describes a high success rate with this technique at inducing these states (80% of instances) and he also describes a spill over of such experiences into his sleep while outside the tank. I spoke to two Zen float tent owners recently who told me (unprompted) about their OBE's while floating, and these experiences occurred spontaneously without their attempts to induce them. Anyway, makes for intriguing reading.

Floatation Tank and Consciousness

Altered States: from Fiction to Fact:
Introducing the Alternate Waking States Induction Method

Richard Bonk M.Ed.

Although REST has been the subject of a multitude of research studies and has been shown to be useful in clinical applications, much of the public's awareness of the floatation experience stems from the movie Altered States. And, it is often in the hope of producing unique, stimulating and consciousness altering states that many people decide to float. For many individuals, floating becomes a "done that," once in a lifetime experience when they emerge from the Epsom salt waters relaxed though certainly not significantly "altered." However, many regular floaters do experience heightened states of awareness and unusual mental phenomena. In an effort to examine these unique states in a controlled setting it was important to develop a technique in which these ephemeral states could be reliably and regularly facilitated. Following then, is

1) an introduction to the Alternate Waking States Induction Method (AWSIM), a technique which has proven effective in the engendering of "altered" states of consciousness in individuals while floating,

2) a brief overview of significant phenomena observed with reference to categorization thereof,

3) implications and possible applications, and,

4) suggestions for further research.


As a REST facilitator and investigator of over 17 years I can attest to the subjective, experiential reality of altered or alternate waking states. It seems more accurate to refer to these unique states of consciousness as alternate waking states because, rather than consciousness being "altered," a specific state, when certain conditions are met, changes naturally into another normal, yet alternate, albeit perhaps under-utilized state of consciousness. (Like going from the normal waking state, through the hypnogogic and into the sleep/dream cycle.) These states are waking states because the experiencer has partial or full waking awareness and access to cognitive functioning, even though the body may be "asleep" or otherwise immobilized. I have recorded dozens of spontaneous alternate waking states experiences which run the gamut from lucid dreams to precognitive visions to out-of-the-body experiences. Since the floatation experience has been a potent catalyst for me in the spontaneous production of alternate waking states, I have sought to develop methods to produce these states with a regularity and reliability which would facilitate structured investigations. In the following article I will introduce a technique christened the Alternate Waking States Induction Method (AWSIM) documenting the development of a technique which has proved effective in producing these ephemeral states of consciousness with a reliability allowing for laboratory study and practical application.

Tank Facilitated Lucid Dreaming and Beyond

In recent years there has been a rekindled interest in dream research, owing much to the pioneering studies being done with subjects who report "lucid" dreams, or dreams wherein the dreamer is aware that she/he is dreaming. Dr. Stephen LaBerge of the Stanford University Sleep Research Center, leads the pack, with many years of work training "oneironauts" or "dream sailors" to awaken within their dreams and carry out prearranged tasks, including signaling to the outside world. Dr. Laberge, having recorded hundreds of such dreams, has developed a method which he refers to as the Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams, or MILD, enabling willing subjects to experience lucid dreams with the regularity required for laboratory investigation. LaBerge believes that with enough motivation and practice, anyone can learn to dream lucidly and recommends following these steps:

1) As soon as you sense yourself waking up in the morning, try to keep your thoughts focused on the last dream you were having. Remember what the dream felt like, its texture and its setting, and memorize as many details as you can.

2) Spend the next 15 minutes reading, meditating, or doing any other activity that requires full wakefulness.

3) Then, while lying in bed, affirm to yourself, "the next time I dream, I want to remember to recognize that I'm dreaming."

4) Visualize yourself back in your last dream, with the difference that now you recognize that you're dreaming.

5) Repeat the affirmation and visualization until you feel that your intention is firm. Let yourself fall back asleep. If all goes well, you will soon find yourself in the midst of a lucid dream.

Having a keen interest in "altered" or, preferably, "alternate" states of consciousness, including dream and allied states, I eagerly attempted the above suggested method, experiencing moderate success until a modified version of the technique was developed, wherein results immediately increased in number and intensity. It was serendipitous to discover that a more mechanistic rather than mnemonic approach yielded results more consistently.

For one and a half years prior to this time, I had regular access (2-3 times weekly), to a floatation tank, where I spontaneously experienced "alternate waking states" (AWS). I experienced these unique states at a frequency of 2-3 per year. No pattern or prerequisite stimulus could be discerned, save the fact that it seemed necessary to lose consciousness, as if falling off to sleep, whereupon, I would "wake up" into an alternate space or reality. The states seemed to be characteristic of what the above dream researcher describes as lucid dreams, although the quality and intensity would vary, oftentimes seeming more akin to what is referred to as an "out-of-the-body experience" (OBE) as described in various parapsychology texts.

These peculiar states held a special fascination for me, so much that I decided to find a method for inducing and maintaining these states, in order that further observations could be made. Thus, Dr. LaBerge's MILD technique invited personal experimentation.

I then proceeded to employ MILD in the manner prescribed, experiencing at most, fleeting moments of lucidity, and those seemingly related to pre-dream (hypnogogic), or between dream states. One morning, however, approximately 3 weeks into experimentation with MILD, an unusual set of circumstances, (meeting friends for breakfast at 5 AM), forced me to awaken 2-3 hours earlier than usual and function for an extended period of time with full waking consciousness. I returned to sleep later that morning- and experienced a "full-blown" lucid dream. It appeared that the missing and important factor, at least in my case, was the insurance of a longer period of full waking consciousness. A modified MILD had yielded its first success. It occurred to me that if MILD would work inducing AWS in bed, then perhaps a further modified MILD would induce similar states in the tank. (Perhaps this could be referred to as WILD, for "wet" induction of lucid dreams!)

On the second day after having successfully induced a lucid dream during sleep, I proceeded with the modified MILD, but instead of returning to bed, I showered and entered the tank. At first it seemed as if sleep wouldn't come, let alone any unusual experience. But, after an initially uncomfortable period, I found myself awakening into a strange "vibratory" state where it seemed "another body" was rising up and out of the physical body. Then I was aware that I could "see" the inside top of the tank (though in total darkness), which reinforced the uniqueness of this state. I recall mentally telling myself to remain calm because the energy of this state evoked an initially fearful response. But, by maintaining a "calm mental resolve," I was able to overcome fear, whereupon I sensed I was moving through a tunnel, then out through the walls of the tank and out into the next room. I found myself able to move within a perceived environment that seemed to be a composite reality ordered according to laws peculiar to that state and my conscious fancy. I had access to all mental/cognitive powers inherent in normal waking consciousness. For all practical purposes, it appeared as though I had woken up "somewhere else."

I have since had many similar experiences, apparently owing to the above technique. Approximately 80% of attempts successfully generate AWSs. Also, spontaneous AWS experiences, both during sleep and in the tank have risen in conjunction with the above success - from approximately 2-3 per year, to 1+ per month. I have noted that even when my mind-set invited failure, i.e., experiencing doubt, frustration, discomfort, etc., - the AWS experience has continued to replicate itself, indicating that (at least some of) the important variables may be mechanistic. In fact, it seems that as long as a certain small set of requirements are fulfilled, the AWS experience will occur regularly.

The following steps represent a modification of the MILD technique (further referred to for our purposes as the "Alternate Waking States Induction Method," or AWSIM), incorporating the use of the floatation tank, which I have found conducive in the induction and maintenance of AWSs:

1) Gently awaken oneself in the last 1/3 of your normal sleep cycle.

2) Assure a period of "relaxed wakefulness" (as in the MILD method #2) where you perform a task that requires full waking consciousness while carefully maintaining the relaxed post-sleep state. In this case, showering before tank immersion seems effective.

3) Allow for a gentle re-entry into the sleep cycle while in a "novel" environment. The floatation environment is particularly suited to this stage as it seems to encourage and maintain transitional or in-between, i.e., hypnogogic states for extended periods.

4) In some instances it may be helpful to use non-mechanistic, internal processes, i.e., your imagination, emotions, mind-sets, etc., to create an ambiance of relaxed desire/expectation to further facilitate the experience. In my experience, it doesn't seem necessary that mental reinforcement be done upon awakening or prior to entering the tank. However, pre-programming in whatever manner one is inclined, may be helpful if done during the previous day or night prior to sleep. In other words, create an open-expectancy state, where you anticipate a unique experience, and are open to any possibility. Try not to (mentally) create your experience beforehand, as your AWS experience may very different from your expectations.

In summary, I have found that a modified version of lucid dream researcher Dr. Stephen LaBerge's MILD techniques, when used in conjunction with the floatation REST system, yields sometimes intense alternate waking states experience with regularity. I have noted that, although the effectiveness of mental programming in inducing such experiences can not be denied, a more "mechanistic" method works at least as well. The 2 major variables according to this view seem to be

1) the necessity of gentle interruption of the subject's sleep cycle, and

2) the subsequent immersion of the subject into the floatation REST environment. If one begins to re-cycle into sleep, one seems to, in more cases than not, experience an alternate waking state, similar to normal waking in that one has access to normal conscious faculties, yet unique in the phenomena experienced.

Since my initial personal investigations, I have introduced the AWSIM technique to others who have experienced similar results. Interestingly, and supportive of my hypothesis, is the fact that the AWS experience will occur in individuals across the board, regardless of their personal experiences or beliefs, as long as certain mechanistic variables are met.

II) AWS Phenomena Observed

Useful Parameters

To effectively describe AWSs I have found it helpful to utilize three subjective parameters:

1) self/ego awareness, or how intact/stable one's sense of self is,

2) intensity, a spectral measurement/assessment regarding how "real" the AWS experience seems in comparison to normal waking consciousness, and,

3) perceptual/psychomotor/cognitive functioning, that is how effectively an individual's sensory, psychomotor and reasoning abilities can be consciously utilized. Psychomotor functioning is considered here not in a physiological context, rather with respect to the degree an individual senses she/he is able to move through perceived space and manipulate objects within it

Though these parameters have been measured via subjective reports, there are indications that they may be objectively measured and quantified, i.e., intensity may be reflected in a change of EEG recorded brainwaves, or other changes in physiology indicating a heightened state of inner arousal. Levels of cognitive functioning may be ascertained via a subject's ability to respond to stimuli presented or to carry out specific, predetermined tasks, i.e., to move the eyes as in lucid dream research where dreamers signal to investigators when they awaken in a dream.

AWS Induction and Establishment Phenomena

A certain set of phenomena seem to consistently accompany transition from normal waking consciousness into AWSs. It seems necessary to enter into the sleep state and momentarily lose consciousness then subsequently reawaken gently and slowly, maintaining deep relaxation, where the body remains still, in a state of sleep paralysis. At this point, one can chose to rouse the body or continue to maintain mental and physical calm. In order to further the experience it is imperative to gently maintain a non-aroused, yet observant state. One needs to be simultaneously alert and relaxed.

If this state is maintained, certain phenomena begin to present themselves rapidly and in specific sequence. Usually the first phenomenological marker is an expansion of the auditory sense. One can "hear" clearly what is going on in the nearby environment (adjacent rooms, etc.). Often there is an unusual sound similar to that of clear bells or chimes and or a crackling, tearing or rushing sound. These sounds are usually prerequisite to a "vibratory" sensation felt as if in the physical body. Typically a sense of acceleration is experienced wherein the vibrations exponetionally intensify engendering a sense that one is about to energetically expand, explode or project out of one's physical body. Initially this dramatic sensation can evoke a fear response and a subsequent aborting of the experience. However, it was noted that if one retains a calm mental resolve, one will immediately continue to the next phase.

At this point, if one remains calm, there is a sensation that the vibratory energy, experienced as another body as it seems to be a locus and vehicle for self consciousness, feels as though it exits out of the physical body. It may then feel as if one is "floating" in the space above the physical body. If this stage is achieved, there arises a new sense of calm and freedom of mobility. Self and environmental awareness are heightened and clearer. The individual can move within the perceived environment according to inner mental directives.

The visual sense seems to remain intact albeit in a manner that enables one to "see" even in the total darkness of the tank, almost as if one were sensitive to infrared or other electromagnetic stimuli. In a better lit environment vision is comparable to normal vision, though clarity often varies. Auditory sensations at this stage are typically weaker, or less noticeable, though occasional loud or low frequency sounds are heard. There are no recollections of smell or taste occurrences.

However, the sensory/tactile sense remains and is noteworthy as one can "feel" the surface of objects as well as experience the unique sensation of a particular substance/material if one chooses to put a part or the entire body into or move through a surface such as the tank or room walls, windows, etc. It is as if one feels the material in question at the point where the body is "cross-sectioned" as it intersects that surface. Also, it was noted that on some occasions that a physical sensation and actual physical response could be produced by willing it in consciousness. For example, a sexual orgasm could be produced by willfully initiating and intensifying sensations of arousal even though the voluntary nervous system of the body is in a state of sleep paralysis. Implications in this regard may be profound, indicating that at least some autonomic physiological response patterns may be directly and effectively activated and modified by a willful mental process while in a certain AWS.

Cognitive abilities seem to remain and function with a rough equivalence to normal waking consciousness. The sense of self is comparable as well. Typically there is a strong feeling of curiosity and wonder at the uniqueness of circumstances and often a state of excitation which must be managed to prevent an excitement threshold which would abort the experience.

The AWS Spectral Environment

Although entry phenomena are often similar, there are notable variants in AWS environments. The AWS environment can be plotted along a spectrum, with one end favoring the lucid dream classification, the other, out-of-body-experiences. In lucid dreaming, the individual is aware of oneself and that she/he is dreaming. The perceived environment and objects within it seems to be more associative, that is, produced and maintained by the individual's unconscious, according to that individual's unique life experiences and the meaning she/he assigns to them. In this environment it is difficult to focus on a selected object without it changing in some fashion, or without the individual's awareness shifting or disintegrating.

Out-of-body experiences, however, differ in that the AWS perceived environment seems to represent the actual environment as it is perceptually experienced in normal waking consciousness. It remains relatively stable, allowing the experiencer to focus on particular objects with minimal or no changes or distortions. Awareness usually remains clear and integrated, even heightened.

In both "worlds," the environments seem to be ordered according to certain "laws" (perhaps comparable to laws of physics in our normal waking stated perceived universe) yet are somewhat malleable to consciousness. Moreover an individual seems to be bound by the rules of that environment only as long as she/he "agrees" to abide by them. For example, when one decides to move out of, or beyond a certain environment, it often fades or disappears, revealing a subsequently more discreet environment, increasingly dissimilar to our normal waking environment in terms of objects populating and laws structuring it.


Perhaps the most obvious implication, though not novel in context of Eastern and Western Esoteric philosophical systems and parapsychological research, is that consciousness may not be contained (wholly or in part) in or produced by the body and its brain. Also, implied is that there are other realities, comparable to our physical universe, that can be perceived and experienced in certain states of consciousness. This raises questions of far reaching order, however these are beyond the scope of the present paper. As of present, however, the author has not discovered any definitive evidence to support the idea that any of the phenomena experienced is indicative of a separate world and not a product of consciousness, but then, even our experience of our familiar physical world is dependent on our peculiar psycho-biological perceptions and cognitions.

It is clear, however, that there are other states of consciousness which are equivalent in intensity and complexity, which are as "real," as our normal waking consciousness. And, the average individual can learn to access and utilize these states for personal investigation and possible significant psychological, energetic and even physical change.

An Invitation to Further Research

Although the phenomenon and environments perceived and experienced in AWSs are, at this point difficult to substantiate, the states of consciousness with which they are associated hold the promise of objective analysis. Current EEG biofeedback and REM measuring instrumentation provide an opportunity to objectively monitor and record these unique subjective states. Research protocols, coupled with the richness of an AWS explorer's subjective reports could serve to map out a previously elusive, ephemeral and often questionable areas of human consciousness.

In conclusion, the REST induced and maintained AWS experience presents a unique opportunity for consciousness explorers and researchers alike. AWSIM provides a technique which consistently produces AWSs with a regularity allowing for structured laboratory investigations. It also allows interested individuals to expand and explore heretofore difficult to engender and maintain discrete states of consciousness. It is in the hope that this brief overview will stimulate an interest in the use of AWSIM for personal and research investigations, that this paper has been presented.


1) LaBerge, Stephen, (1986) Lucid Dreaming. New York, N.Y.: Ballentine Books Inc.

2) Monroe, Robert A., (1977) Journeys Out of the Body. Garden City, N. Y.:
Anchor Press/Doubleday and Co. Inc.

3) Hutchinson, Michael, (1984) The Book of Floating. New York, NY.: William Morrow and Co.

4) Lilly, John C., (1977) The Deep Self. New York, N.Y.: Warner Books, Inc.
Hey Banco, this is a bit off topic - I was wondering if you knew of how common long duration floats are (+3hrs). Do people with the means push it right out to 12 or 24? Or is there a safe limit?
Googling this at the moment comes up with plenty of commercial sites selling there wares, but nothing much of substance.
Hey Sphorange, I've not seen much on the longer duration floats, so I don't think it's all that common. I've heard a few reports of people actually sleeping in the tanks. Some insight from a guy here I've been in touch with, a very experienced floater, giving his 2 cents on a recent reddit post:

"A handful of times when I've had a powerful cannabis edible, I've stayed in the tank for 2.5 - 3.5 hours, but I was certainly ready to get out after that. When I float sober, my "peak experience" consistently occurs within the first 90 minutes. In my opinion, floating longer than that doesn't add anything. If I try to float for a really long time while sober, I get really antsy around 2 hours. I just don't want to be in there any more."

It states on the Samadhi tank website that some people prefer longer 2-3 hour floats, other people preferring shorter sessions. I think this is definitely a case of individual mileages varying here. Also I think part of the issue might be cost, unless one has their own tank or is chums with the owners of a float spa, it likely wouldn't be cheap to do this...of course much easier if one has their own tank to experiment with. Interesting to not the theta brain wave state one slips into is associated with a "no time" feeling, where it is really hard to gauge how much time has passed or is passing, this is very commonly reported by floaters. So if one was inclined and had the means I think an extended float would definitely be worthwhile (after getting some initial floatation experience under your belt), and if and when you had enough you could simply exit the tank when you wished too. The article I linked above I thought was interesting, as it made the point that the time of day you float, as well as the time you spend floating, are important, and this method seems to maximise one's chances of experiencing powerful and interesting altered states of awareness...again, this is a largely unexplored frontier, as you'd really need to own your own tank to be able to do this.

An article that may be of interest.

I agree, it is easy to slip into sleep when in the tank. What I'm slowly discovering in my practice is at the boundary between wake and sleep as the senses are being forgotten about (particularly the arms), the most interesting things begin to happen.
Take last night, for instance, I had an OBE after an hour of getting comfortable and acclimatised to the tank. My arms were tucked behind my back and I had the strangest feeling of forgetting they were there - it felt like they could have been resting on my chest, or even down by my side, my guess was as good as any.
It was after this occurred I slipped into a dream and woke myself back up in the tank. But I was distinctly underwater, beneath my body in the tank. It was quite peculiar seeing myself floating there.
I then decided to "float" my way out of the tank in this strange state of having awareness of my physical self in the tank, and this other self that had autonomy of motion. Kind of like stereoscopic vision, I could behold both perspective simultaneously.
Having read of Bob Munroe and company and what they were able to achieve I decided to run a little test.
I made my way into the reception area and "hovered" behind the receptionist at the computer, I noted the time - 3:17pm. I was due out the tank at 3:30pm.
I brought myself back to my physical body and felt a sudden electrifying surge through my body, very similar in nature to when you suddenly jolt awake in bed.
Thinking ive got 13 minute before they bring the music and lights up in the tank I broke the illusion and brought my hands up from behind my back and floated there for a little while longer, not wanting to forget what happened - which seemed impossible because it was as clear as any other memory in my mind - very un-dreamlike.
My logic being, If this were real - theoretically I could get myself out of the tank before the lights and music, and they should come on within a reasonable timeframe of me exiting.
Guessing what i thought was 10 minutes i sat up, took my earplugs out and within 10 seconds or so the lights and music came up.

After showering and dressing I went into the reception area and asked the receptionist the perplexing question - "What were you doing at 3:17?"
She looked puzzled.
After a thought, she said that at roughly that time she was speaking with another staff member who had asked her if I had gotten out of the tank, because they had heard the telltale water droplets of someone leaving the tank. She said I was still in the tank and she hadn't heard any such noise.
I decided to tell her of my little adventure, thinking to myself it probably wasn't real anyway because the facts didn't add up.
She went ghostly white, so I briefly told her about the experiments of Munroe and campbell in the 70s to ease her mind.

I need more tank time to explore this further.
Hey dude, thanks a lot for sharing that, what a cool experience!! Interesting too to hear that it was so distinct from a dream in its clarity and your recall of it. The timing didn't seem far off for your OBE perception and the session ending, and it's hard to gauge time in that environment as it is. I've recently paid a deposit for a used Zen float tent, it's a bargain deal and seems worth forking out for, so am looking forward to making floating a regular part of my life. The OBE side of things particularly fascinates me I have to say, so really great to hear stories like this! The loss of awareness of the body and body boundaries seems to be a great ally when attempting OBE induction, and outside the tank, deep physical relaxation methods are recommended to achieve this. The difference with floating though is that it occurs effortlessly in that environment, and I'm sure the feeling of weightlessness is a major ally too. And yes that twilight state between wake and sleep is where a lot of interesting experiences can occur, and the float environment seems to be the optimal place to draw out and explore that liminal twilight frontier of consciousness.

Interesting to hear you perceived yourself as being underwater with your body above. I read another report recently of a floater having an OBE and they were to the side of their physical body in the tank. Interesting to hear of the double/stereoscopic vision between your two "bodies", I've heard this described by people undergoing OBE's. It;s interesting to hear your description of the electrical surge that accompanied the body jolt. I recall one night being in bed, stoned, deeply relaxed listening to binaural beats, and then suddenly I felt this very powerful and unmistakable feeling of electricity, it started in my head but courses through my body. It was a really powerful electrical feeling but in no way painful. Having read Monroe and others I knew this was the vibrational state...I relaxed into the feeling, and is I did, I felt something tangibly rise or evaporate out of my physical body...whatever it was though, my conscious awareness remained in my physical body.

Your OBE in the float spa was very similar indeed to that of another person's, a Zen tent owner in the US I've been chatting to. He too had an OBE at a float spa and it sounded very similar in content to yours...

"As far as the OBE's I have never experienced them like I have in the tank, and I don't have any specific technique. The first time I had one was actually in an oasis tank at my local float spa before I had the Zen. The first one I just floated right out of my body and the tank and was just floating there. I explored the float spa, and witnessed a telephone conversation that the front desk woman was having, and then was all the sudden back in the tank in my body. Upon leaving the spa I asked the woman about her telephone conversation and told her what I had experienced and she was really freaked out by it.

I have had a few others in my tent but haven't had any very recently. Anytime I actually try I get nowhere and actually have a hard time relaxing and just feel like I am trying to hard. So yeah I would say they are spontaneous for me.

I can't say I have had any OBE's outside of a tank. The difference for me in the tank is that when I realize I am dreaming or having an OBE it doesn't force me back into my body or wake me up, I am then free to explore the space that I am in. This usually happens by asking someone I am having a conversation with if I am still in the tank, to which they reply, can you float? At that point, I will start floating around or even flying around, and then just explore the space I am in until I am either just done, or my alarm goes off if I have one set."

Another Zen tent owner and redditor has also experienced OBE's while floating...he describes that body jolt experience too.

"Well, when I would float I would sometimes go into a trance. This happened often if I floated right after work. Anyways, I would go into a trance by default. It would take about 15 minutes and then while in this trance 2 times I left my body and was floating at the top of the tent. I could see the tent in color and in light!! This scared me each time and I would jolt back into my body and in real time I would jolt my entire body. That was enough for me to exit the float tent. It wasn't scary as much as it was surprising. It was not bad, yet it did leave me questioning what had happened."

This is a recent experience described by the same veteran floater who chimed in on my previous post regarding the time frame for floating. He describes his experience attempting the method described in the OP after I shared it on a lucid dreaming forum.

"So it's Thursday, and I've just tried the method described at the beginning of this thread. Long story short: it worked. OBE followed by a false awakening. I'll give it a go next Thursday too.

For those interested in the long story:

Woke up an hour and a half early. Drove to work (about a 20-30 minute drive.) Got to work, showered, set my intention of "the next time I'm dreaming, I will realize I am dreaming." Got in the float tank, and started to think about the last dream I had been having before I woke up in bed an hour prior. My mind wandered, but I kept trying to bring it back to thinking about my last dream.

The first thirty minutes of the float were normal. Slowly getting more and more relaxed, my thoughts getting a little slower and spaced out. Moved my arm position from over the shoulders to hands on chest (FYI, arms down at your sides is a very uncomfortable way to float.) I was standing outside of the tank and realized, "Hey wait a second... I didn't get out!" I proceeded to the hallway. Trying to keep my calm, I started to walk towards the end of the hall. The hallway leads to the common space, and one can see the couch and windows from the hall. I kept walking towards the windows... but it was kind of on a treadmill. The space was stretching out in front of me, so although I was walking forward, I wasn't making any progress. This continued for approximately 20 seconds, when finally I decided to run and try to beat the treadmill effect. That worked.

The following happened inside my head in about two seconds. As I approached the windows, I deliberated on just going straight through them and flying out into the world, or stopping and continuing walking around the studio. I made my decision NOT to burst through the windows the instant before I reached them. So I stopped in my tracks, reached my hands out and touched the windows. I turned to my right to continue walking, and then woke up in the float tank... regretting my decision not to just go balls out flying around Bellevue.

I laid in the tank for a moment, thinking about what had just happened. Satisfied with the result even though it wasn't a particularly long OBE... maybe a minute long. The wake up music started to play, but it was 70's disco instead of the usual relaxing zen music. "Jacob must have been messing with the music" I thought. (Jacob is one of my coworkers.) So since the wake up music was playing, I got out of the tank. I turned on the shower, put some shampoo in my hand, and then saw in the mirror my hair wasn't wet enough for shampoo. (In retrospect that should have been a call for a reality check since... you know... I was just laying in a tub of salty water, my hair should of course be soaking wet.) Instead, I decided to get my hair more wet, tilting my head back under the shower and looking up towards the ceiling. As I looked at the water coming out of the shower head, everything went black. And I was awake, back in the tank."

It seems to me that floatation has a lot of amazing potential for consciousness explorers, that's for sure. It's good to see that interest and awareness of floatation is gaining traction, and also good to see the scientific research on the up too.

Thanks for sharing dude! Really looking forward to getting on the floaty bandwagon myself.
Sphorange said:
Hey Banco, this is a bit off topic - I was wondering if you knew of how common long duration floats are (+3hrs). Do people with the means push it right out to 12 or 24? Or is there a safe limit?.
The guys in my center applauded me for floating for 3h. They said, that certain hardcore floaters are in a tank for 5-8h. Common not, because of the money involved, but they are in the tank as much as it pleases them. You want to go to the toilet after a while. Eating would be nice too.
Sorry to revive an old thread, but I am a close collaborator with Richard Bonk, and I have likely done more AWSIM protocol than anyone else on earth. If anyone has questions about it, ask away.
Hello and welcome!

This is something that has long intrigued me, yet in thirty years I have never quite got around to trying it yet. I think it was mostly an issue of access (and pricing).

I do rather wonder how something apparently so simple manages to have so many acronyms attached to it, though!
It is indeed a simple protocol to follow! I think in the tradition of acronyms in the lucid dreaming space, Richard sought to do the same, and he clearly found an AWSIM acronym! You do need a somewhat specific setup; ability to track your sleep cycle somewhat effectively, proximity to the tank definitely can help a lot if your inexperienced with the protocol, and yes of course a 3- or 4-hour float is going to cost a pretty penny if your floating commercial.
I love float tank stories. I used to float at a commercial facility in the late 80's early 90's and they had a Tales from the Float Tank log book that all floaters could write their experiences in. Some profound experiences for sure. I ended up getting my own tank for about a year and a half and ended up sleeping in it, 5+ hours, more than once. Very restful sleep.
For me the sound of the ventilator of the floatation tank usually completely ruins my experience.

So, I need a soundproof tank that has just the right amount of fresh air flow. 😇

Kind regards,

The Traveler
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