We chatted with co-founder of The Float Experience, Matt Soper, on how floating in a sensory deprived water tank helped him lose fifty pounds, heal a knee injury, and inspired a passion to bring floating to his Southern California community.
“The first time I tried floating it was hard for me to relax in the tank. I had a lot of negative thoughts. I was going through a bit of a rough patch at that time. My parents were getting divorced and I was overweight, probably forty or fifty more pounds than I am now. Up until that point I was just throwing my problems in the back of my head. I was going out partying with my friends and avoiding things I knew I needed to take care of.
“So that first float, all the things I was struggling with in life I was forced to think about. I didn’t enjoy that part of it, but when I got out of the tank my knee felt awesome. I went a week later and had an amazing float. I was able to relax. I didn’t have any negative thoughts. It was really, very enjoyable. I started going every week. It was really helping with my knee and then it started helping me mentally. I was able to work through my personal problems without any distractions. It helped me break down why I was gaining weight and wasn’t happy. To this day, and I still do this, when I get out of the tank I write what I thought about in there or what I was thinking afterwards. It helps me see my thoughts and to create more action around them to improve myself.
“The world we live in today bombards us with information coming in and no one ever really takes a break from it. ”
“The theta state you enter when floating is the point of just falling asleep. Your brain waves are going slower while your body goes into the mode of rest. In the float tank you can get there pretty quickly. We keep our float tanks between 94 and 94.5 degrees, to basically get to a point where you don’t feel where the water and air meet. Your surroundings just blend. Out here we’re using 80 to 90% of our energy to regulate our temperature.
“But in the tank since you’re not regulating temperature you have extra resources at your body’s disposal for your immune system to kick in; and for extra dopamine to be produced; and to allow your cortisol levels to decrease; and if you’re someone who lives with chronic pain, the pressure of gravity is removed for 90 minutes relieving any pain while you float. It helps your whole body function better.
“The salt to water in the tanks is about 35% salt. Using a hydrometer we measure the density of the water and we try to keep it at a density we’ve found that gives people the best float experience. If it’s too low you feel like you might go under, and if it’s too high there could be problems with the pumps and equipment. It takes about 1000 pounds of Epsom salt to get to the perfect range.
“Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory. When people are sore and hurt they either have inflammation or lactic acid built up. Epsom salt is known to pull it out. You feel a sense of relief when you get out because all that inflammation and lactic acid build up is gone. It’s also really good for your skin, which is one of the first things a lot of people notice when they come out of the tank. Their skin feels really smooth, and it can feel like that for a couple days afterwards.”
-as told to BOND EN AVANT
Image source: thefloatx