Enter the Void
My Journey with the Float Tank
Silence. Blackness. Emptiness. I float effortlessly in the endless dark expanse of the void. I begin to notice the sound of my breathing — louder, deeper. My rhythmic breath and my subtle and slow thumping heartbeat create a cadence that tethers me to the physical realm, to my body. I am calm. I am relaxed. I am a tiny dot of light in the endless expanse of the universe. I am…
How long have I been here? Without light, my grasp of time slips away. Where am I? A voice tells me I’m lying in a float tank somewhere, but it’s distant and faint. Who am I? The question seems meaningless as “I” dissolves with everything else into the salty depths. Floating in the nothing-soup brings the strange intuition that this is the birthplace of everything.
I begin to buzz — a current of electricity pulsing inside me. My mind submits, my breath deepens, and the energy intensifies — cascading in a flood of respiration and prana. My toes point away from me, my calves tense, my legs straighten, and my shoulders roll down and back. Clicks echo through the water as my spine elongates and stretches toward its natural alignment. I feel a deep sense of relief as the stresses and traumas trapped in my body begin to dissipate and release
But something isn’t right. I feel tight knots of tension in my lower back and burning pain in my left hip. My lower half struggles to release and come alive, but something impedes its motion. Something doesn’t belong. Then, I remember. Of course — it’s the screw. I gasped and quickly awakened back to my normal state of consciousness. A tidal wave of emotions washes over me as I recall the orthopedic surgeon’s genetic hip condition diagnosis 12 years prior. I remember the invasive surgery that left me with a metal screw drilled through the head of my femur. I remember the months on crutches, the chronic pain, the denial, and dashed dreams and disappointment. I shudder. I cry. I know what I must do.
What is a Float Tank
Don’t worry — floating isn’t always that intense. Most people find it to be one of the most relaxing experiences of their lives.
The story of Floating begins in the ’50s with a neuroscientist and psychonaut named John Lily. To better understand the nature of consciousness, Lily created an environment to isolate the human brain from almost all sensory inputs — the float tank. The subject lies supine in 12 inches of skin-temperature water, so salty that gravity gives way to total buoyancy. The tank is in a light-proof, sound-proof room, creating a tranquil environment free from the noise and chaos of the world. Lily’s method is technically known as Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy, or REST. Yes, even the acronym for floating sounds relaxing.
Since the 70s, when commercial float tanks entered the market, float centers have offered REST worldwide. Notable floaters include Joe Rogan, Stephan Curry, Tom Brady, Richard Feynman, John Lennon, and several professional sports organizations. In 2016, The Chicago Cubs broke a 100-year curse to finally win the world series — the same year they added float tanks to their training facility.
Heal, Discover, Transform — with REST
Floating is a way to relax the body in a way that isn’t possible otherwise. Scientific research has shown that floating reliably reduces stress and helps recovery from burnout. Research also shows that 50 out of 50 participants meaningfully reduced their clinical anxiety and improved their sense of serenity and well-being. Floating relieves muscle tension and pain while improving muscle range and athletic performance.
Due to the reduction of stimulation and distractions from the outer world, floating increases interception, disconnecting us from the external world and reconnecting us to the inner world. Furthermore, scientific studies reveal that floating enhances learning and cognitive function and boosts creativity and originality. This discovery reignites curiosity, growth, and self-exploration.
More research on REST certainly needs to be done, but anecdotes of metamorphosis abound. Reports of everything from life-changing trauma release to breakthrough epiphanies, from transcending negative thought patterns to curing addictive behaviors. Floaters report altered states of consciousness, resulting in a profound reconnection to a more authentic Self.
That’s what happened to me in January 2018, when 60 minutes in a float tank changed my life forever. After realizing I needed to remove the screw in my left hip for my body to heal, I started a regular float regimen, supplemented by a yoga practice. Then, ten months later, under the guidance of my doctor, I underwent a second surgery to remove the invasive screw from my hip.
The recovery process was challenging, but I knew I had the tools to pull it off. So I purchased an unlimited membership at my local float center. I logged 50 or more hours floating in just two months following surgery, and I began my metamorphosis.
The float tank was instrumental in my healing and recovery process, and I’m happy to say that three years after my surgery, I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been. I even rock-climb every week — something I never thought would be possible.
My transformation with floating left a lasting impact that changed my body, but it also changed my career path. I see floating as a disruptive technology that can change the world, so I opened True North Float, my very own float center. Now I get to hear about others’ transformative float journeys. I get to provide a haven from the screens, the noise, and the world’s chaos. I get to hold space for health, discovery, and metamorphosis for my community. I get to open a doorway for others to enter the void.