Some say float tanks can bring about psychedelic experiences. An hour-long session can feel like a couple of minutes. You can lose yourself and cleanse your soul.
Those are just a few of the rave reviews I heard about using an isolation tank – a form of floatation therapy that has grown in popularity over the years. I wanted this natural high. I wanted to enter the tank, explore the inner depths of my mind, and emerge as a new human. So I booked an appointment at Levity, a float studio in Squirrel Hill, and prepared for a life-changing evening.
Levity offers two private rooms where you can float and bliss out. Inside the black-lit rooms is a rainfall shower — to rinse before and after the float — and a small, claustrophobic-looking white tank. An isolation, or float, tank is exactly what it sounds like. Inside, without light or sound, customers lay in 10 inches of skin-temperature water with around 2,500 pounds of Epsom salts dissolved in it, letting the body to float effortlessly.
Walking into Levity, I was greeted with cozy wood décor and walls covered in fake grass. Soon, a tall bearded man walked into the lobby, presumably from the tank, with a faraway look in his eyes. A woman offered him a bottle of Fiji water, and he sat down in a chair and put his head in his hands, elbows on his lap. Following behind him was another woman with sopping wet hair.
“I think I fell asleep in there,” she exclaimed. “I had no idea where I was when the music came on.”
The staff member explained that the float starts and ends with music playing to ease you in and out of the experience.
Once the two had left, the rooms were cleaned, and I was given a tour — showed the filters and my room, and given all the first-timer information.
Left alone, I peeked into the pitch-black contraption. Now I was nervous. One hour seemed like a very long time to be underwater with nothing but my thoughts.
Wearing my bathing suit (I felt weird about going in naked), I submerged my body into the tank and closed the door behind me. The music started, and the motion of the water moving around my body in the dark made me feel as though I was floating through space.
After about 15 minutes, I was bored. And maybe because I was not completely still, my body kept hitting the sides of the tank, causing me to jerk with alarm every time the smooth plastic interior skimmed my skin. I came out of the tank feeling underwhelmed.
While it was a unique experience, I didn’t feel all that changed, perhaps because I was holding the session on a pedestal. But even though I wasn’t blown out of the water (pun intended), at the very least the tank forced some “me time” and got me away from screens and the distraction of the outside world, something that everyone could use from time to time.
And I had one of the best nights of sleep I’ve had in a very long time.