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Float Tanks

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I did it once. It was nice, but i expected more of it. If you practice meditation, after a while you can reach the same levels of counsciousness with meditation. At that point it doesn't matter that much anymore whether you meditate in a floatation tank or in your own bed.
I have tried it, but I was expecting some kind of experience other than relaxation. I've never practised meditation, so I imagine I would have gotten more from it if I did.

Going into one under the influence of psy's would be a wild experience, but not for me :shock: . If I had the cash, I would use one at a health spa or whatever after a work out, they are a lovely way to unwind, they are pretty expensive to use round my way
Always have wanted to give this a try nothing like that exists as far as I know where I live. If I am fortunate enough to have enough money and the space to put one someday I am all in.

I have looked into this quite a bit would love love love to try a shroom trip in there.
I did a mild dose of pharmauasca in a float tank it was amazing. I can't imagine doing a serious dose of anything in one of these tanks.
I think its the closest thing to a true psychedelic experience with out any drugs whatsoever. You don't even need anything extra in one of these things. I'd love to build one someday i'd never get out of it.

If you haven't tried one you must give it a try and see for yourself.
Arachnid said:
Also know as Sensory Depravation tanks. Who's tried it?

Many times, you can buid up your exposure time with each visit just do so gradually. Dont try to go in for 5 hours right off. Depending on the person hallucinations begin at around the 2-3 hour mark if it is truly sensory deprivation. you can make your own tank guys if you have some money and time to do so it's well worth it. The temp must be regulated use a water heater heating element and a pump from a large fish tank. Be sure that there is no current in the tank that you can feel use BAFFLES!!!! any variance in the experience will ruin it so you'll spend your first few times in there finding the issues. Guitar center has acoustic foam as well expensive but effective use it between the plywood of the walls and never leave it exposed to water as it will get damp but the salt will prevent most mold. Be sure that the tank is where you want it cause once you get it filled it's impossible to move.

If you look on the web there are many places in big cities that rent out floatation tanks. Here's the irony, a properly built home made tank is more effective than a mass produced one. They are made in bulk and the design reflects that. Also keep in mind that the tank itself doesnt have to be 100% soundproof if you place it in a room just put the soundproofing on the walls of the room thus you save a difficult step without issues. Also if you have any cuts use vasaline on them so they wont burn from the salt.

I'll write some about the experiences later folks but gotta go to class right now. They are really worth it and IMHO far better than taking psychadelics as they give you much more control. I messed with binaural beats as well as hooking up a lcd monitor and spamming imagery in the chamber after a set period of time to test if the tank increased memory capacity.

Basically I made a flash file and let it run black for a period of time when it then would flash complex images for 1 to 2 seconds. Someone else chose the images so I wouldnt know what they were. I would then leave the tank and try to reproduce the images in as exact detail I could to see if my memory had been increased as opposed to seeing similar imagery in a regular setting.

1664 your right about that. If you are a experienced meditator who meditates regularly for hours then the float tank experience will be diminished for you since you are already used to a form of low sensory input. You'll just have to spend more time. Those who can do 5-6 hours in a tank are usually those who are avid meditationists but it will still come. Try doing breathing exercises in the tank or of u want since you have a tolerance you can try taking it to a new level with some more extreme practices. Not unsafe ones just more difficult like binaulral which if done properly really will induce a drug like trance. Issue is you need waterproof headphones to do it which can be expensive. Also going in after a high stimulus day will make it stronger. So if you go to a party, rock concert something with has a lot of sensory input and then go directly to the tank you will get that disconnect.
I have done it many times on mind altering drugs even THC can be a powerful experience just DONT DO AyAHUASCA!!! or anything else that might make you purge as this is not something you want to stew in and it takes a lot to refill the tank.
thank you for posting this question Arachnid, have you read any John Lilly? I'm going through 'the Deep Self' now actually, a lot about floatation in there if you have the appetite. Lilly is a strange guy for sure, but some of his work and ideas are indispensable in relation to our community,

for example, I was amused to find, halfway through the text (1977), a discussion of

the contained mind - creating inner realities independently of external influence
the unlimited mind - inner realities can be influenced by external or alien influences, can travel to other 'places'

(terrible quick summary) these ideas provoked by reported experiences where 'the unlimited mind' seems to be true, and testimonies from people who retrospectively believe the experience of alien entity contact was real, and true. It reminded me of some of the debates that develop here regarding the 'reality' of entity contact/other dimensions etc, except Lilly was floating around thinking about this stuff 30 odd years ago.

Vovin I'm especially interested in any relationship between levels of stimulus before entering the tank, and the experience itself.
Could you elaborate on the kinds of high stimulus that are effective? Did you find certain stimulus, or combinations of stimulus more effective than others? I'm trying to gauge some kind of time frame here, so when you say high stimulus 'day', does that mean the more high stimulus experience you can fit in, the better, in terms of facilitating 'stronger' floatation experiences?

And, when you imply that regular meditation could diminish the experience, could you elaborate?
What do you think about turning that on its head, and not-meditating-regularly-outside / meditating-within-the-tank to quieten the mind, as well as perception? As someone with float experience, does that seem that a useful avenue to pursue, did you have a go?

ps Build the Best Floatation Tank Competition? Still cant afford all the salt though...
Basically what one would describe as a 'hectic' day. Where one has had allot of tasks on his mind but not enough time to do them all so they rush to complete as many as they can. One can also describe this as a intense day where a big experience that was different than a standard day had occured such as spending the day at your favorite theme park riding roller coasters and other things. This in contrast to a prolonged period of time where one has little input not even television,. internet or the radio.

It all comes from the adaptation aspect of the mind. When there is a great deal going on in a day the mind needs to wind down slowly as it is in a mode of dealing with a very large amount of stimuli. But when there is nothing interesting going on it enters into a more passive mode. The most powerful effects come from the contrast of the situation such as having a high stimulus day followed immediately by the floatation tank. This is essentially denying the brain stimulus input at the time it is running wide open and it has not had time to adjust which can take many hours from my experience. Therefore to cushion the transition it creates it's own stimulus.

It appears the brain has a hard time transitioning from a wide open balls to the wall state to a placid state. It needs a middle aspect to slowly allow it to migrate from one to the other more so when going from a accelerated state to a calm one than from a calm to accelerated. I think it has something to do with how the mind evolved. In primitive times a human can be in a calm normal setting at one point and all of the sudden have to jump to a state of hightened senses when danger presents itself. However; moving in the other direction would mean when the danger passed that that human would have to enter a calm state quickly which is not condusive to how a dangerous situation is.
Well put vovin.

Yes I have. I agree with John Lilly that a more accurate (and the original term) is Solitude Isolation and Confinement (SIC) chamber. You're in no sense deprived of your senses when in the tank.

I've done 2 1 hour sessions in a commercial tank. I recall "flying" out past the moon, to the dark side of the moon, and looking back (and from there Earth looked amazing). Of course I'm not claiming that I was actually there past the moon, it was "hallucination"! Still it was a fascinating experience probably triggered by the equalization of buoyancy force and gravitational force. It was the closest thing I've experienced to what people describe as "lucid dreaming".

Another overlooked benefit of the tank is the amount of salts your body absorbs during the time soaking in the tank. I felt very pleasurable all over, almost orgasmically cleaned out, for the better part of a week after both sessions. Try it out...and I recommend John Lilly's writings on the subject if you haven't found them already. I recall that he had some strange reports after his experiments with injected LSD/SIC tank by a dolphin-filled pool in the Virgin Islands. He said he found it easier to communicate telepathically with the dolphins while in the tank!
I tried one for the first time last week and it was interesting. Did a two hour session, but got out about an hour and 40 minutes into it.

It took me about 30-40 minutes to get comfortable, then I spent the next 30-40 minutes in emptyness...No body, no mind, no ego. I didn't fall asleep but I have absolutely no recollection for that time period except that a leg would twitch involuntarily which would break me out of the void for a bit but I would delve back into it.

After the 40 minutes of this my brain switched on again, and one thought kept running through my head constantly, "I have to drink less caffiene!" I figeted for about the next 30 minutes tring to get back to a meditative space but couldn't and finally decided to get out before my time was up.

Going to try it again this week for an hour session and see how that goes. Going to have a 45 minute Reiki session right before so should be nice and relaxed for the float!
"The most powerful effects come from the contrast of the situation such as having a high stimulus day followed immediately by the floatation tank. This is essentially denying the brain stimulus input at the time it is running wide open and it has not had time to adjust which can take many hours from my experience. Therefore to cushion the transition it creates it's own stimulus. "

Excellent. Thinking the same things. A while ago I was thinking that after a long day, when my head hits the pillow, many images and voices literally fill my mind, or flash through. Some of my strongest psychedelic experiences have occurred tripping alone after dark, lying in a quiet place, following a trip with plenty of friends and activity in the sun. The flow of external experience fades and the flow of internal origin takes over the projection of sensory experience.

The evolutionary idea is interesting, but I'm not sure it has anything to do with danger. The points about how levels of arousal or excitation behave as they increase or decrease, and the potential evolutionary causes, are perfectly logical, but I think there are other advantages to remaining excited after the stimulus has ended. I was thinking more along the lines of information processing and integration. Like what you said, but, instead of remaining active for self-preservation, the excited faculties remain excited for retrospective processing and learning; a proposed theory of dreams suggests that the purpose of dreaming is to integrate experience and ideas into Self; another suggests that during sleep the deprived but active perceptive-projective mechanisms of the brain simply switch their input signal from the attenuated sense apparatus to the creative, emotional imagination. A combination of the two perhaps? Something like that...

Lysergify, telepathic dolphins are almost as cool as psychic octopuses [google it] but I think the octopi would win in a battle
I've done it about a dozen times and felt I got some benefit out of it. No hallucinations or visuals, just an extreme, all-over body and mind relaxation. I meditate regularly so was used to the being trapped in my own head aspect. In meditation though sometimes there is some physical pain from sitting for long periods; cramped knees, back ache, etc. There is none of this in a flotation tank, in fact the effect of gravity is lessened on your body, so your calm and relaxation is both physical and mental.

Never thought of building one of my own before. That's a great idea! I'm getting ready to move into a new house so that could be a serious consideration. Would definitely make more use out of it compared to having to drive across town and pay to use one.

As far as hallucinogens go, just don't take a boat load of mushrooms and go in one, you might turn into a monkey! ;) (Altered States reference)
SWIM tried it for the first time also the first time swim took azzies... SWIM took an 8th and got into the floatation tank.. It was nuts.... SWIM was onto of a mayan Pyramid getting attacked by eagles from the four dirrections, after hours and hours in there swim got out and EVERY thing was melting around him. SWIM had never had such pwoerful open eye visuals. Ended up with a lazy eye for a week.... no joke...
This topic made me curious about building one. Where can one find information for that?
It would be nice to come back after a hard day at work and just float, I think. (Has never experienced it.)
Looked up couple places to see if there are commercially available tanks within the vicinity, and nearest one is in a town 1 and 1/2 hour away. :(
Arachnid said:
Also know as Sensory Deprivation tanks. Who's tried it?
Hi Arachnid,

While it's been quite a stretch now, 30+ years... I once had a very profound experience in a floatation tank, back in 1979. It was while I was living in Boulder, Colorado, at a place called The Ocean Within. It was mostly a hot tub facility with steam rooms, cold plunges and saunas. Most folks who frequented it enjoyed the liberal sensualism/eroticism of the post-psychedelic age 1970s mindset (orgies, coke and what not). Not my cup of tea but I never judge another's karmic needs. "To each their own", just as long as nobody is hurt in the process or taken advantage of. Right? :twisted:

Anyway, they had a small room in the back for the isolation tank. I had been gifted some "Liberty Caps" psilocybe semilanceata from Oregon and I ingested about a 1.75 grams of fresh blue mushies for the occasion. This was supposed to be a relatively mild trip, since I had to navigate myself to the place and all. Typically, I ingest around 2.5-3.5 grams. Epic doses go 5-7 grams. A couple times, years later, I have eaten 1/4 ounces in a single session but it's never an easy trip, with that much shroomies in the belly (but that's another story)!!! :shock:

So, I figured it would be a mellow journey, right? Boy, was I wrong about that! BTW, this was just my second mushroom voyage and about a year before the motion picture, Altered States was released in theatres. Now, I had read quite a bit of John C. Lilly's writing on this specific subject, so I was totally psyched for a go with it! BTW, the movie portrayed such utter nonsense, in regards to what one goes through on Sacred Medicine journeys, that I could never stand to see it again. I believe the term is, "Hollyweird"?

I had timed it so that I was just getting ZINGY and it was about an hour prior to peaking, as I entered the isolation tank (trying not to be too fixated with expectations). I can tell you this, even on what I considered a fairly mild does of shroomies... I had quite an intense trip!!! As I lay floating, motionless in the salty water, I became aware of instinctual/primeval memories of being a simple life-form, swimming and floating in the vast expanse of the ocean. I knew I was not alone and could feel many, many, many other life-forms, sharing the water with me. I could hear whirring noises from the water. Splashing and gurgling sounds. Also, from within myself and outside of my self-conscious awareness, came an ethereal ringing, which got ever stronger as the moment unfolded. The Carrier Wave? Now, the highest tones of this frequency pulled on my very center. An all-pervasive, motor-like droning drowned out any other external sounds. I thought to myself, "Hey, where are those motorized engine sounds coming from?" Obviously, there couldn't be dozens of guys with chain saws on the loose in the streets of Boulder. The vibration got louder and louder until it was deafening! This continued, as I was simultaneously experiencing undulating tentacles, wiggling fishes and writhing species of sea life, swimming all around me. Me? I felt almost lke a dolphin or porpoise, free in the open expanse of the natural oceanic realms. Am I a dolphins? No... Who am I? Where am I? What am I? What is existence and who is witnessing it? :?:

I believed that I was caught in between two contradictory forces or energy. One trying to keep me aware of my physical form and even scare me into fearing for my life. The other, calling me further within and beyond the boundaries on my material body. The paradox of every psychonaut, eh? As I faced my fears and confusion, I relaxed into a sensation of great trust and a feeling of unity with the ocean. The sea was my source and my essence. The universe was the vast sea. I was the sea. I was drawn deeper and deeper into this revelation until I began to sense that I was starting to turn in a spiralling circle. Almost like I was in a whirlpool. Yes, it was a cosmic whirlpool, pulling me into the center of an immense vacuum! As the force of this swirling became more and more intense, I was absorbed into the raw power of the spiralling. It felt as if my body was spinning faster and faster into the vacuum of the whirlpool (like I was the tiny metal ball on a roulette wheel). I had the emotional sensation of pure love and complete trust, for the gravity of this spiralling vortex. Almost as if it were my true mother. "Mother Ocean" I remember thinking. She was drawing me back into her womb (I, her infant child). Kind of like being born, only in reverse? This Cosmic womb was secure and extremely loving! I never wanted to leave it, again. Never, never, never... Hell, who would be crazy enough to do that? I am home and will stay here forever, or so I vowed to myself, in the timelessness of that brief pause in the flow of passing moments.

I could see a blur of rainbow colors and fractal patterns everywhere! I witnessed a super-bright, clear light in the very epicenter of the whirlpool. Ahhh... the Light!!! It was the Light of lights and it was the "Father Spirit", who was forever shining brilliantly (at the center of all that exists and all that is).

As I approached the peak in this trip, I had the sensation of being in the womb, again. I was warm and secure feeling and I somehow KNEW that I must be born and enter the world. The ocean was my true mother and while I loved her beyond the limited scope of human emotion, I had the conviction that I was created for a definite purpose. That I had been chosen by the Oceanic Mother Goddess to return to the world of humankind with my fresh insights. As the spinning feeling lessened, I had the sensation of being in a fetal position and experienced the pain and agony of separation, that being born brings about. Yeah, I was being re-born! Rebirth appealed to me but I wanted to cling to the security of my Mama.

I knew instinctively that I was being sent back into the world of duality (peopled by my brothers and sisters). I would remember the union and keep it in my heart. I felt enthusiastic about a chance to walk the earth, with the awakened knowledge of God's presence and the Mother Ocean's connection to each of us. As had happened on hundreds of journeys with LSD, my self was dissolved into nothingness and the Self of infinite consciousness was realized within the illusory speck of my finite awareness. This was followed by an emptiness, which transcended duality and personal perspective. Subjectivity was no more, yet the awareness of oneness was all pervasive. The Light was so blinding that is seemed to wash away any fixed point of reference or solidity of ego. And then... absolute stillness and eternal silence.

As is ALWAYS THE CASE, no memory was retrievable from the Void, as self and Self were both, shattered into an infinity of substance-less particles. The mirage of separateness was lifted and from this side of the Looking Glass, nothing can be translated. I guess this is where the idea of Zen koans originated? You know, just to confound the mind and intellect? How can the finite mind describe the infinite reality? If one become consciously awakened to this living presence, it will draw you/I /we into itself and therefore, shatter the illusion of individuated self. From this point of consciousness, everything is one, so there is no witness to itself. All is stillness, emptiness and silence. No cognition is possible form a total state of unity, thus no knowledge can be separated form the union. As the illuminated Chinese sage, Lao Tzu, has been quoted to say (and I paraphrase here), "The Tao that can be spoken of with words, is not the eternal Tao." I felt like an timeless infinity in this level of awareness. I may have been thousands and thousands of years or a handful of seconds. The clock on the wall recorded just an hour, however, as I had paid for just so much time. Although in essence, time had stopped ticking or rather, the mirage of it's perceived reality had been dispelled.

I heard a knocking sound coming from outside of the floatation tank. "Hey, are you alright in there? It's been over and hour and you should come out now" Who was this voice? Oh yes, the attendant who brought me to the small room I was in. So, I got out of the tank, stepped into the shower and began to clean myself off. It felt wonderful to wash the salty coating off from my skin. the shower felt cleansing and invigorating. yes, i was reborn and would carry my revelation with me always and forevermore. I recall looking at my hands, yet i could see right through them, as the were translucent! in fact, I could see the small tiles on the floor of the shower, right through my feet. Was I trapped in a non-physical plane or something? What was happening to me? Did I die and lose my physical body or am I reborn with some kind of X-ray vision?

Seconds later, I heard the same knocking sound. what? I was back in the floatation tank and the voice was saying the exact same words, again!!! Tis time, he lifted the top of the chamber open and I was suddenly thrust into the world of fluorescent lights and time & space. The gentleman helped me out of the tank and stated that he was getting worried about me, since it had been almost an hour and a half (although it felt more like 10-15 minutes to me). "Don't worry, I won't charge you extra for the half hour overtime. I could sense that you were going through something deep and didn't want to rush you. What did you experience, man?" i tried to speak but all i could mumble was, "God." He smiled and nodded affirmatively. "That's the idea, You're lucky to have had such a vision on your first float." Once again, I got into the shower and washed-off the salty residue. this time I could not see through my hands and feet. I dried off and got dressed.

When I hit the streets, it was snowing lightly. I watched large, fluffy snowflakes falling down onto my face and smiled deeply. Life is good and Mother Ocean is always within us, flowing through our blood stream. I focused on individual flakes and could make out their flawless geometry. They were the most amazing mandalas I had ever seen! I let them hit my eyeballs as the plummeted to the ground. It's a strange, yet invigorating sensation. I then remembered having the same sensation as a small child. Of course, I was a child again, after all. Everything seemed to be inter-linked to the Great Cosmic Ocean, always a part of the Infinite Sea of God-consciousness.

This was the first and only time I did a float. It was quite profound and I have never, ever forgotten the profundity of this voyage within myself. I recommend this to anyone who seeks the ultimate truth about the universe and oneself. Of course, the mushrooms were a very, very big help in the equation. :d

Peace, love and Light
Thank you so much Rising spirit. What an awesome story. It has re awakened my interest in the tanks. Although the one local to me charge quite a premium and the duration is only 40 minutes. I might have to see what kind of bartering and unofficial usage the place are welcome too.

What an awesome and inspiring read!
I am happy to report that there is finally a place to go and float close to where I live. I've always wanted to try a sensory deprivation tank. I live in the D.C. metropolitan area, and found a place in Baltimore Md. that has some Samadhi tanks. It's pretty expensive. There is a package of three one hour floats for around $100. When I think of all of the money I've spent on substances to alter my consciousness, this seems like a perfectly reasonable price.
I would love to build one, but I don't have the money or space. The limited space I do have will be for the plate reverb I plan on building. So... I'll spend some money for some floats.

I plan on going in the first time completely sober. I am working on tapering off of some headache medicines right now. When that is done, I will quit caffeine for a week or two, and probably even stop my nightly consumption of approximately 150mg of vaporized cannabis. I could use a tolerance break anyway. I know. I'm a lightweight when it comes to cannabis. Earlier in my life I didn't even consider dosage, and had some of the most frightening, distorted (false) introspections of my life. I gave it up for 20 years when I started to have serious suicidal ideation while under it's influence. I started again, at a very low dose for a lower G.I. issue. I found it pleasant at low doses, and continue to use it recreationally. But when I go into a float tank for the first time, I want to be totally baseline.

If I decide, after a couple times floating, that I want to try it with a drug, I imagine it will be on a low dose of sublingual harmalas. Anyone here ever go into a tank on harmalas?

BTW- I have a friend who has very limited experience with psychedelics, but is is a philosopher and has an interest in sensory deprivation. He's getting married to a woman who can't take psychedelics because of her mental condition and the psychiatric medications she is on. I'm planning on buying them gift certificates to this place as a wedding present. A way to give altered consciousness as a gift, without handing them a vial or a baggie :)
I was gifted with some free "floats" last year and have enjoyed them immensely. That's an awesome wedding gift, Mister_Niles!

I have to say, the most profound experience I had in the tank was on the tail end of an acid trip. I felt complete love from the universe (to put it mildly). I have thought about smoking DMT and floating, but it just sounds like a recipe for disaster, so will not be doing it. Even though you are only in a few inches of water, downing is still possible IMO.

However, I would love to try a float on mushrooms sometime!
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