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  • Writer's pictureJax-Zen Healing Arts Center

“I’d love to float, but I’m too claustrophobic.”

💦 We hear this a lot…it is probably the most common fear that keeps people from floating.

We’ve seen many customers come in believing there would be no way they could float in a float tank because of their claustrophobia and yet they surprise themselves with how relaxed they were and had no issues at all.

Let’s take look at claustrophobia and float tanks to alleviate some of the concerns you might have about booking a float session if you are claustrophobic.

Up to 5% of Americans may experience claustrophobia. Claustrophobia is a form of anxiety disorder, in which an irrational fear of having no escape or being closed-in can lead to mild anxiety or even a panic attack. Most people with claustrophobia experience is a feeling or fear of losing control and this can be a huge mental barrier for someone looking to improve their body, mind and spirit through floatation therapy.

Overcoming the fear of restriction or losing control

  • You are in control - In the float tank, you are completely safe and have total control over how you want to relax.

  • Large and well-ventilated - Our float tanks are pretty large on the inside, about the size of a queen size bed. While you float effortlessly in 10 inches of salt water, there’s plenty of airspace between you and the top of the float tank (this is nothing like an MRI machine). You can even leave the door propped open with a small towel to allow more airflow if you like.

  • No locks or latches - The tank door pushes open easily from the inside and there’s no latch that could lock you in. It doesn’t exist, so it’s impossible to be accidentally locked in and you may exit the tank at any point during your float.

  • You do not feel confined - Most of our guests who felt initial apprehension due to claustrophobia have reported that floating in the dark, lacking a point of reference, creates a sense of expansiveness in the tank, rather than confinement, and had no trouble adjusting to the tank..

Ease into floating with these 3 steps for our claustrophobic guests:

  1. Start with the tank door completely open. Step into the tank and stand there with your upper body outside the door and lower body inside the tank. Once that feels comfortable, kneel in the tank with your head still outside the door. Finally, once you’re comfortable doing that, lay in the tank with the door still open. Get comfortable and familiarize yourself with the sensation of floating.

  2. Once you’re comfortable and are ready for more, try closing the door nearly all the way, leaving it propped open with a small towel. Take your time and get used to how it feels with less light. Focus on your breathing….slow and steady…inhale….exhale… It’s fine if this is all you can manage on this float!

  3. When you’re comfortable, close the door completely. Notice that in total darkness*, there’s no point of reference to tell where the walls are. giving you a feeling of vast spaciousness. You do not feel confined. Focus on the feeling of simultaneous nothingness and expansion, and continue to focus on your breathing.

*while floating in complete darkness is optimal, there's no shame in floating with a light on. Upon request, we are happy to provide a soothing LED light.

Floating to overcome claustrophobia

Did you know that floatation therapy can actually help cure you from the fear itself.

Just as there’s evidence that floating can help with addiction, depression and anxiety; the same can be said for overcoming common fears. Why? Because the float tank environment allows both hemispheres of your brain to sync, and stimulates the release of theta waves, which are responsible for inducing the state of deep relaxation, and, importantly, heightened suggestibility. In layman’s terms, you can reprogram your brain with the aid of floating, through the use of breath work, meditation, visualization, mantras, and redirect the thought processes that cause those fears in the first place.

Still not convinced? Stop by for a tour or call us for a chat so we can help put your mind to rest! Floating is a very personal experience and only those who have dipped their toes in literally and figuratively can speak to you truthfully about what it actually feels like inside a float tank. Most of our staff started out with phobias of their own and would be happy to share their experiences with you.

Ready to try Floating? Book a Float Today. 💦

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