Floating around in a sensory deprivation tank isn’t a new idea. But they are starting to catch on as our world becomes more and more stimulated with sound, light, and social media. Float Alchemy, at 131 Cason Lane in Murfreesboro, brings floating and other alternative healing methodologies to Rutherford County.
What is a deprivation tank?
To some, a sensory deprivation or isolation tank sounds scary. After all, it is a soundproof, pitch-black tank filled with a foot or less of water warmed to body temperature and filled with over one thousand pounds of Epsom salts. But scientific research shows that floating – AKA restricted environmental stimulation therapy (REST) — may have health benefits such as muscle relaxation, better sleep, decrease in pain, and a decrease in stress and anxiety.
I have wanted to experience a REST tank ever since I read the book Altered States by Paddy Chayefsky in college. The novel is (very) loosely based on the work of John C. Lilly, an American physician and neuroscientist who worked in the 1950s and 1960s. Lilly built the first tank to study the origins of consciousness. Commercial tanks were first built and studied for their health benefits in the 1970s. One was even featured on the TV show Frasier.
How does a session work?
Get there a bit early. You will need to fill out some paperwork. There are conditions that require a doctor’s approval before floating. These conditions include uncontrolled diabetes, high or low blood pressure that is not under control, heart disease, epilepsy, blackouts, kidney disease, or any condition that can be adversely affected by high doses of magnesium sulfate. You also have to be able to get in and out of the tank on your own. Other caveats include no freshly color-treated hair, being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or open sores.
A float is done au natural (nude). You will give yourself a good scrub and shampoo in the shower before climbing into the tank. No one is going to peek, but if you really want to wear a swimsuit, go for it. However, once you start to float, the feel of the swimsuit may become annoying. Music will play while you get situated. Then you float for one hour.
What do you do for an hour without music or videos or Instagram? Absolutely NOTHING. I found my mind wandering, then focusing, and then I went into a kind of meditative state just as I thought I was going to be bored. I was shocked when the music came on to tell me my time was over. I got out and gave myself another shower and shampoo, as I was covered in salt.
Did It REALLY Do Anything for Me?
Let me first say I bought two more sessions.
I have a number of aches and pains still with me from a car accident a few years ago, and a few other pain issues from lifting things I probably should not have. I also do not sleep well. I felt less pain immediately, also more focused, happier, and I slept like a baby.
When you climb into the tank, the salt hits any small scratches and cuts and stings like the dickens, but the salt also help heal them. Epsom salts are also known to decrease swelling, aid in performance recovery, and help with relaxation.
What Else Does Float Alchemy Offer?
Float Alchemy also offers infrared saunas, cryotherapy, Normatech, and an oxygen bar. Infrared sauna is great in healing pain, fatigue, fibromyalgia, arthritis, exercise recovery, Lyme Disease, and stress relief. Cryotherapy boosts energy, increases metabolism, and aids in injury recovery. Normatec was created to treat lymphedema and other circulation issues. Some say the benefits include reducing stress, stopping headaches, increasing energy and alertness, lessening sinus problems, and all body relaxation.
Massage and a trip to the taproom for a kombucha or kefir drink are great additions to a float. I have become quite fond of the strawberry kefir water. I have noticed it helps to increase my energy.
While I was there, there were others enjoying their experience, from some early teen athletes to a gentleman in his senior years floating away age’s infirmities.
131 Cason Lane, Murfreesboro
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 9:00 am until 8:00 pm
Sunday 11:00 am until 7:00 pm