Fear, Anxiety and Floatier Things Part 2

Fear, Anxiety & Floatier Things: Part 2

One response we hear over and over from people when we talk to them about floating is, “Oh no … I’m claustrophobic.”

But … only 5% of the population is actually claustrophobic, according to Wikipedia:

Claustrophobia is defined as: “the fear of being enclosed in a small space or room and unable to escape.[1] It can be triggered by many situations or stimuli, including elevators crowded to capacity, windowless rooms, small cars and even tight-necked clothing. It is typically classified as an anxiety disorder, which often results in panic attacks. ”

We hear from much higher than 5% of the new people we talk to about floating that “claustrophobia” is the reason they won’t try it. But those people aren’t, actually, claustrophic, which is very much a clinical condition.

So … what’s really going on here?

The more honest or accurate response might be:

“I’m afraid of being alone.”

“I’m afraid of being in the dark.”

“I’m afraid of not being in control.”

“I’m afraid of being left with my thoughts.”

“I don’t know how to meditate.”

“I’m afraid of being left in there.”

These are all much more accurate, and very valid concerns. So, allow us to clear a few things up:

= You don’t have to be in the dark. =
Float with the lights on! That’s totally okay. One of our tanks has a light in it specifically for this reason. You’ll still get a ton of benefit, even with the lights on. In fact, in studies of physiological stress markers during a float, being in the dark was the least important aspect of the experience. It’s more important for the meditative/mental aspects of the experience, but not needed for plain ole’ stress management and relaxation.

= You’re in control =
There’s no locks on the doors. You can get out whenever you want to. You can choose to have lights on, music going, be still the whole time or play around and stretch the whole time. It’s totally up to you. You’re in full control the whole time.

= You don’t have to be alone with just your thoughts =
This is a common concern. In fact, studies have shown that some people literally prefer electric shocks to being alone with their thoughts. (https://www.theatlantic.com/…/people-prefer-electri…/373936/) This isn’t surprising. Our culture in particular has become highly used to distraction and stimulation, constant entertainment, constant aversion away from just being with our thoughts. It seems that boredom is a thing of the past in our culture, a lost gift of time for reflection. Here’s the good news: you don’t have to be alone with your thoughts. There’s a lot of benefit if you are, but you don’t have to be. You can have music playing the entire float, if you want to. Again, still a ton of benefits to be had otherwise. Just being in a microgravity environment, with no stimulation on your skin, no proprioceptive input, no vestibular input, all while absorbing large amounts of magnesium … those all have phenomenal benefit for your nervous system, body and mind.

= You don’t have to know a darned thing about meditation =
Literally, nothing. Doesn’t matter if you’ve never meditated a minute of your life. You don’t need to go spend 6 months on a mountaintop in Nepal to learn how. Just float. The meditation just happens as a natural byproduct. It actually feels like kind of a massive cheat. Many of us spent years and years learning how to meditate while sitting uncomfortably in some painful position in our heavy meat suits. Floating just bypasses all of that and takes you directly to the good stuff. It’s like training wheels for new meditators, and a rocketpack for experienced meditators.

= We leave no floater behind =
In 3 years of running Cloud Nine Flotation, nobody – NOBODY – has ever been left behind in a float.

So, it comes down to: “I’m afraid of being alone.”

Yeah. That’s the tough one, isn’t it?

Of all the humans in the world who’s company we could enjoy, why is our own often the most intimidating? Is it because we are our own worst critics? Our own harshest judges? Or is it just plain old boredom? What is boredom but a craving for distraction? It comes back to the same questions: why are we so eager to be distracted away from our own company? What is lurking in there, what is so difficult in that inner landscape, that we feel we have to run away from it? Do we *really* think we can just keep running away from our selves, and that that’s a race we can EVER win? Really? When will we stop running a losing race? When we die?

Maybe it’s time to stop running. To look deeply at these questions. To learn how to accept our selves instead of judging or critiquing our selves. To just BE with our selves, see what wants to come up and be resolved, be accepted, be loved, so we don’t have to spend the rest of our lives running, and exhausting ourselves, in an unwinnable marathon.

When someone says, “Oh no … I’m claustrophobic”, nine times out of ten, this is what they’re really saying: “Oh no … I prefer to keep running my unwinnable marathon, and will keep running it until I die.”

Are you ready to stop running from your self?

There’s really NO better place to see what’s going on on the inside, and figure out how to move beyond it in healthier new directions, than in a float. (Which, by the way, in our case, are 8 feet long, 5 feet wide, 3 feet above you, and, again, come with the option of lights and music. Don’t want to deprive your primary senses? That’s cool. Just FLOAT.)


If you have a friend who won’t try floating because they say they’re claustrophobic, consider tagging them in this post. Not in a jabbing or mocking way. But with love, and with the intention to help them work through that and discover something that could be really good for them and which they might really enjoy.

The fear is real. The label, in the vast majority of cases, isn’t. It’s important to focus on what the real fear is, though. Because we can’t conquer fears that we don’t properly understand the origin of.

New Hours, & New Names

Things at Cloud Nine Flotation are dynamic! That means when inspiration hits, we act! In honor of national coming out day, I’m officially coming out as a Sci-Fi Nerd. To many this is no surprise, but I’ve been secretly calling my float tank a Tardis for years and now it’s official. Room #1 (which is bathed in a blue light) is now the Tardis Room and Room #2 (which is the tank with an LED light in it, and bathed in a purple light) is now the Stargate Room. What better names to depict a float tank than time portals right?

Also, we are expanding our Sunday hours to include the mornings. You can now float on Sunday Mornings at 9, 11, 1 and 3pm in the Tardis Room and 9:30, 11:30, 1:30 and 3:30 in the Stargate Room.

Fear, Anxiety & Floatier Things

October is typically a month of focus on scary things in our culture. Things that go bump in the night. Things that trigger our fears. Fears of mysterious threats in the dark, in particular.

So that’s what we’re focusing on too throughout the month of October. Fear, anxiety and things that go bump in the float.

Here’s a reality we don’t talk about very much: the majority of people are afraid of float tanks. And by “majority”, we’re guesstimating 50%+. So … most.

What is it that scares some people about floating? About floating in a saltwater solution in the dark?

Stranger Things Tucson

Certainly, we have some good evolutionary reasons for being wary of the dark. Thousands of years of being picked off by predatory creatures that emerge from the shadows will do that to our mammalian brains.

And fear of the deep is also well-programmed into our brains. Even though the solution in a float tank is only 11 inches deep, when you’re floating in the dark on 1,000 pounds of Epsom salts, we lose that sense altogether. At that point, we may as well be floating on the surface of an entire ocean. At night. And what’s in that ocean? What lurks beneath, waiting to devour us from below? Our brains have spent a long time becoming wired in preparation for that threat. Our skin even prunes to enable greater traction on rocky surfaces that will help us rapidly escape the water in the event of attack from below (according to one theory of pruning, at least).

But there’s a more emotional component to it than that. We conquered the power of flame and enjoyed warding off the creatures of the night with roaring fires for thousands of years too. And we generally stay out of the water now, having conquered it with boats. So we can only blame wolves in the shadows and monsters from the deep for so long.

Why is it that floating in the dark, alone with nothing but our thoughts, is more terrifying for many people than even the scariest horror movie? One study, conducted by Science Magazine, found that a lot of people would literally rather experience electric shock than be left alone with nothing to do.

Anybody who floats regularly will quickly tell you that floating is simply one of the most relaxing and happiness-inducing experiences imaginable. And yet this fear of floating among people who have not yet tried it persists.

It doesn’t help, of course, that pretty much every single reference to floating in major media portrays floating in a sinister light. The original offender, Altered States, in 1980 convinced us that float tanks would make us lose our minds, experience LSD-style hallucinations, and eventually turn into a primordial ooze. Minority Report suggested that the only applicable use for float tanks was for enslaved psychics to remote-view grisly murders. The Simpsons continued the conflation between floating and psychedelia with a trippy experience that Homer goes on in a float tank. Joe Rogan would later double down on that false association with constant discussion of powerful psychedelic experiences and floating in the same breath (we can’t tell you how many Rogan fans we’ve had to disappoint and re-educate on the comparatively much less psychologically interesting benefits that floatation therapy offers). When floating appeared on Fringe, it was couched as “ripping open consciousness”, with the main character being warned that she “might not come back” as the creaky metal hatch is closed on her. Later, Stranger Things would famously show a float tank – or at least a kiddie pool full of cold salt water – invoking inter-dimensonal travel and experiences of “Demogorgons”.

None of that is at all true, of course. People have beautiful, transcendent experiences. And certainly some difficult emotional stuff can arise to be dealt with (this is what makes it such an effective tool for managing PTSD). Rarely, though, is there a Demogorgon.

Between evolutionary fear of the dark, a psychoemotional resistance to being alone with our thoughts, and a constant barrage of wildly inaccurate and melodramatic media representations of sensory deprivation, it’s really no mystery why so many people feel so intimidated by it.

Throughout October, we’ll be breaking down some of those fears, explaining how floating is safe and fun, examining the mental nature of fear, and sharing how everyday people have used floating to conquer their own fears and anxieties.

So follow along with us for a month of Fear, Anxiety and Floatier Things as you enjoy your Halloween season.

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October Specials are Very Special Indeed!

For the entire month of October, Cloud Nine Flotation is offering a special for people who have never floated here before! $42 for a single 60 min float or $135 for 3 – 60 min floats! Go to www.FloatTucson.com and click on Monthly Specials to take advantage of the offer and book your appointment. This special expires in 3 months, so book your appointment soon. Coming in November, something VERY special.

Cloud Nine Flotation Enters it’s Second Year!!

October 1, 2016 marks the 2nd year Cloud Nine Flotation has been in business. It normally takes about 18 months to see real progress on a big project. After planting seeds every day, watering them. Making sure they get sun, you need to move on to the next set of seeds. It’s called inspired action. So I’m a thrilled beyond belief with the progress of Cloud Nine Flotation. In twelve short months I’ve met or exceeded my dreams. In October I’m very excited to also announce that we have been published in TWO local Tucson Magazines. The first is Natural Awakenings. You’ll find the article here: Natural Awakenings. The 2nd is Tucson Lifestyles Magazine, page 80 if you have the hard copy of the magazine. I’ll post the electronic version hopefully on Monday.

Life is a wonderful adventure. I never thought that after 27 years I’d be back in the business of Flotation Therapy. You never know where life will take you. Be open to all possibilities. It’s glorious.

Cloud Nine Flotation Changes (You’ll like these)

Changes include: Price Changes (Some up, some down, some gone, some new!); Service Changes; New changes to come!

It’s exciting for me to realize that a year has gone by since I first received the inspiration to re-open Cloud Nine Flotation. Our official anniversary is Sept 30, but I like Aug 1 because that’s when we were re-conceived. In this last year we’ve experienced wonderful things. We have floated over 600 wonderful people, expanded to include massage therapy with two wonderful Certified Massage Therapists, Mark Davenport and Monika McGill, and our retail store continues to please our customers with the best in Gourmet Culinary Salts, Handmade Bath Salts, Himalayan Salt Lamps, Crystal Singing Pyramids and gorgeous art work. Soon we will be adding Bio-Feedback sessions and a new device for bio-feedback for home use. We’ve been featured on the local news, magazines, several private newsletters, online magazines, and I was even featured as a “Woman to Watch” in a new online magazine. We’ve been participating at the Psychic Fair at the Doubletree Hotel on Alvernon, the first Sunday of the month for 3 months, and intend to continue. Our participation at the St. Phillips Farmer’s Market on every other Sunday has been a joy.  Upcoming we have many wonderful things in the works. Getting the word out about floating is my passion in life, and I couldn’t have spread the work without you!

Now that it’s been a year, I’ve taken the time to reassess what’s working and what’s not at Cloud Nine Flotation. The results are that I’ve retired some packages, and changed the prices on others. Some have gone up a bit, and some have come down a bit. We now have an automatic monthly float mini memberships to allow an avid flotation fan a once a month (or more) affordable floating experience. We also have the Heavenly Sandwich™ and the Deluxe Heavenly Sandwich™ for those who want a total relaxation reset. They are wonderful!

One of the most excited things for me personally is the upcoming Float Conference in Portland, OR Aug 19-21. I found out about it last year just days prior to the conference, and couldn’t attend because of timing. I promised myself I’d go in 2016 and going I AM! I’m looking forward to what I’ll learn, connect with old associates from the 1980’s float world, and new friends and associates I’ve met online. I’m taking some pretty cutting edge classes and plan on coming back with a new wealth of information to share. Because I have not yet found an intern (hint hint) I will have to close from Aug 19- 24 for floating only. The massage part of Cloud Nine will remain open. After the conference I’m going on to Eugene, OR where I moved from to Tucson in 2005. It will be the first time I’ve been back since then. I’m looking forward to seeing family and friends, and going to Cafe Yumm!!

I’m just about to put out the August Newsletter, which won’t be much different than this, but will have more specifics. If you want to see the new prices, please visit www.FloatTucson.com/prices. While you are there check out the “Links” page and watch the new video by Alex Gregory, Gold Metal winner for Rowing. Or just watch it here. Enjoy!

Alex Gregory MBE (Team GB Rowing), 2012 London Olympics Gold Medalist and captain for the Coxless Four in Rio 2016 Floats for post training recovery and relaxation. Watch his video testimonial and enjoy!

Alex Gregory, Gold Metal Olympian

Until next time, Float On!