My short bio:

I'm 31 and have been fascinated with the study of consciousness and altered states of consciousness for over a decade. I recently had the opportunity to float for 30 days in a row in sensory deprivation tanks at a float spa that my buddy opened up in town. It seems that everyone I talk to is quite interested in the float experience so feel free to ask me anything about floating!

I also made a documentary of my experience that is available free on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/d1_xV5bXv_k

My Proof: You can see that I occasionally post videos from my YouTube channel to reddit using this account. Here's a post I made a couple months back about my AT thru-hike video: https://www.reddit.com/r/videos/comments/72trg4/in_2016_i_hiked_all_2189_miles_of_the_appalachian/

Comments: 93 • Responses: 37  • Date: 

IllUpsetFlaskIll35 karma

Did you get a chance to meet 11? How many of her Eggos did you manage to steal?

Thehealthygamer20 karma

Lol. I never got to see the upside down :(

The float tank they put her in looks ridiculous. You'd never be able to relax with all that heavy gear sitting ontop of you.

ParadoxWithinMe21 karma

What was the length of time you floated each day? Any epiphanies while floating?

Thehealthygamer26 karma

90 minutes everyday except for one night where we floated for 6 hours.

Oh sure. I had lots of insights while floating. Mostly personal so they're not worth sharing.

The float state is a really great place to problem solve. If you've been stewing over a problem for a while or trying to make a decision hop in the tank, get relaxed, bring your mind to the problem, and the answer will just be clear as day. I think this is because we have many different layers to ourselves that sometimes can be in conflict. For example your logical mind may tell you one thing while your heart may want something else. Getting in the tank clears away all the surface level layers and connects you to the deeper parts of yourself and I think it's those deeper parts of yourself that make the best decisions and know what's best. But that's just my theory.

Hagenaar4 karma

Getting in the tank clears away all the surface level layers and connects you to the deeper parts of yourself

Some of my experiences with pot (which are relatively few) were similar in that sense.

Thehealthygamer2 karma

It's all tapping into the same place. I've recently started meditating 2 hours/day and doing that I tap into some similar states of consciousness as I do in the tank. These states of consciousness I've also experienced while on shrooms, LSD, and pot. The benefit with floating and meditation is that you have a lot more control over the experience.

JohnDoe_24082 karma

Just because the epiphanies were personal doesn't mean they aren't "worth sharing"... Right?

Since they're personal, you may not want to share them, but they might be worth it.

Thehealthygamer19 karma

I mean I just wouldn't even know how to go about sharing them. They'd require paragraphs of backstory to make any sense.

But I'll share one:

I was born in China, adopted when I was 8. My adopted mom was single and never married so I grew up with a single mom. In the tank I had the realization that I had been seeking the approval of older males for most of my teenage and adult life and that this need to seek male approval had manifested in many ways:

  • Bodybuilding
  • Joining the Army
  • Doing start-up stuff(to win awards, get mentor-ship, and get accolades from old successful businessmen)

And by making this realization I could then let go of that need to seek approval from male figures and thus stop this cycle that really wasn't serving me.

calliente7149 karma

You’re a badass for recognizing this and making changes

Thehealthygamer3 karma

Haha thank you.

actinopterygi16 karma

Did you ever have any, I dunno, bad moments during your float? A sense of dread or claustrophobia? I've been thinking about trying it for a few years, but I imagine just being in there would give me the hebee jeebies.

Thehealthygamer19 karma

No, but I don't experience those feelings in normal life either. If you're claustrophobic floating might not be a good choice for you. It's surprising to me how floating for 90 minutes isn't a chore like you might expect. You don't get bored, you don't get restless, you generally will just drift into deep states of relaxation and kinda go within yourself.

virtueavatar6 karma

Was going to ask if you get bored. Sounds like lying in bed.

Thehealthygamer12 karma

It's really nothing like lying in bed. Hard to describe but you just have to try it. You just don't get bored in a 90 minute float. Probably because you feel so good from the relaxation and your mind likely relishes that it's finally getting some peace and quiet from our hectic world.

pirate_messiah9 karma

How does it start to change your perception? Do you constantly realize you are just floating in a dark tank or do you start to feel different or feel changes in the way things are around you?

Thehealthygamer20 karma

I would say the most obvious changes to your perception is that it makes all of your senses exponentially more acute.

Many people(myself included) will come out of a float and notice many more things. For example you may notice a lingering perfume on your shirt from when you hugged your girlfriend that morning that you hadn't smelled until you got out of the float. Everything will look brighter outside - comparable to when you take a small dose of psychedelics. Things have a kind of a glow to them sometimes when you get out of the tank. Your hearing is heightened. You'll notice the feel of the towel on your body more acutely and the feel of the water on your skin as you shower. Really if you've taken psychedelics it's very much like that experience where everything is just heightened.

To the second part of your question... not sure what you're asking exactly but during a typical float you will become more and more relaxed. You will lose sensation of your body and your mind will naturally start drifting into altered states of consciousness. From there the experiences become very individualized. Some people will leave their bodies, some people will go to sleep(I fell asleep a lot), some people see colors, some people interact with entities, it all depends but you're not going to float there for 90 minutes thinking "I'm floating inside a dark tank" the whole time.

natas0169 karma

Any weird hallucinations?

Thehealthygamer37 karma

A couple.

  • First one was day 2 or 3 where I saw just weird fractal light patterns at the end of my float. It was a faint blue or green but it looked just as real as looking at my computer screen right now.

  • Toward the middle I had my eyes closed toward the end of a float. I saw a bright white flash of light through my closed eye lids and at the same time I heard a sound like lightning striking. It was that loud. Simultaneously I felt a sensation of extreme acceleration, as if I had been shoved 20 feet down. Then I started hearing what sounded like me breathing underwater, which freaked me out and made me think I was drowning, at which point I came into normal waking consciousness and all the experiences stopped. This experience felt just as real as real life. I was not asleep. I was just as lucid as I am now, only in a different state of consciousness. That's the only way I can explain it.

zer05tar9 karma

Ho - lee - shit.

So when I was like 10 I was laying in bed thinking about stuff and trying not to think about anything. My eyes were closed, and I both saw something thru my eyelids that appeared to be lightning coming from the ceiling in my room and it crackled like lightning. I had thought the light in my room (which was off) shorted out or something.

Then, with my eyes still closed, my vision went all stretched and weird and elongated which freaked me out.

Thanks for the memory, I had forgotten about that until you posted this. Crazy.

Thehealthygamer3 karma

Oh weird. You know that's not the first time someone has described a similar experience. I wonder what phenomenon it is that we're all tapping into.

Papitoooo6 karma

How was the 6 hour float? Too long? If not what's the longest you'd wannah be in there?

Thehealthygamer10 karma

Too long. After 3 hours I was ready to get out. After 3 hours I started to get restless and some limbs and joints started to hurt so I had to move around inside the tank. I wasn't able to fall into any deep sleeps, just some snatches of sleep, and ended up getting out feeling really weird after the 6 hours, then went home and slept for 5 more. Woke up feeling like someone had completely reset my body. Like I had left my body and came back and had to learn how to function as a human being again.

Jrrolomon5 karma

What is it about floating that is better for muscle recovery than say, lying on a mattress? I haven’t watched all of the documentary you made yet, but several of the people interviewed shared that the muscle recovery from training was much improved with floating.

Also, does the 90 minutes inside feel like 90 minutes (more or less). Do you sleep or get bored inside?

Very interesting topic!

Thehealthygamer10 karma

The short answer is I don't know and no one knows.

My theory:

  • Less restricted bloodflow. We know that blood-flow is crucial to exercise recovery. That's why connective tissues heal much slower than muscles, because they receive less blood flow. When you're laying on a bed half of your body is still constricted to a greater or lesser extent. The float tank is the closest we can get to a weightless environment in our day to day so I think there's some benefit derived from just overall better circulation.

  • There's the magnesium element. The tank is filled with 1,000lbs of epsom salt and while the science is still out many people claim that you benefit from transdermal uptake of the magnesium. Athletes burn through magnesium stores with exercise so it could be replenishing those stores. Again no hard science on this yet but people are starting the research studies.

  • The deep state of relaxation. There's something about the float tank environment that just facilitates a very deep state of relaxation. Many people(myself included) come out saying "wow I didn't know I could get that relaxed." So somehow that environment is allowing your muscles to let go of the tension it normally holds and I think this process then contributes to speeding up the recovery of your body.

Bottom line though is that no one really knows but many many athletes are finding now that float tanks really does help to cut their recovery time down. Funny that you ask because Brooke Wells just came in for a float(I'm at the float shop right now, it's slow, so I'm doing this AMA lol). The CrossFit open is here again and I'm sure she's coming in to prep her mind and body to hit the workout hard this weekend.

Techwood1115 karma

Again no hard science on this

I believe there is hard science on this. I recall, when looking into it for people on extended fasts, that there is no transdermal uptake of Mg.

Thehealthygamer4 karma

That's the current science but there is still research being conducted simply because of the number of anecdotal reports from floaters that swear that they're seeing benefit from the magnesium in the water.

Take acupuncture. It's only recently that we've been able to start figuring out some of the mechanisms at work, for a system that has claimed efficacy for thousands of years. I think as more research is conducted we'll find that there is many more interactions happening biochemically with the floater.

https://www.actcm.edu/news/new-scientific-breakthrough-proves-why-acupuncture-works/

Edit: Oh also I forgot my responses are based on off-camera talks I've had with people in the float community who have specifically told me about research that they're funding to further study the effects of the epsom salt on the human body and that there's promising data that shows that it is having an effect.

dracapis5 karma

How long do the effects of sensory deprivation last? Like you mentioned changings in perception, noticing stuff that you would have ignored before: is it steady? Or does this habit lessen after a while, prompting you to another session in the tank?

(How high is the roof? Can you extend your arm vertically?)

Thehealthygamer3 karma

  • I'd say most of the acute effects will last a couple hours. You'll feel relaxed for the rest of the day and you'll get better and deeper sleep the next night. The next morning you'll wake up feeling more refreshed.

  • The other effects for me like habit change, more productivity, and getting out of depression slowly faded during the month I stopped floating everyday.

  • HOWEVER all of those benefits have come back now(and benefits even beyond those) with my daily meditation practice of a 1 hour sit in the morning and a 1 hour sit in the evening with Vipassana. I think if I had a strong meditation practice at the time of the 30 days of floating I would have been able to maintain more of those benefits I experienced. I talk about this a lot toward the end of my documentary. I've sat for at least 2 hours/day since Jan 24th and I've never been more calm, more content, more at peace, more productive, and more focused in my life.

  • So benefits from the tank definitely wear off. It's like exercise or meditation. If I want to maintain my benefits and increase my gains, then I need to keep doing them regularly. Same with the tank.

  • Roof is roughly 2-3feet off the water in the dream pods and like 7ft from the water in the tanks. Both have plenty of room for you to stretch your arms. But there's a lot of different models of float tanks now so it just varies.

SplendidCoffee04 karma

How would you compare the first time in the sensory deprivation tank and the final day?

Thehealthygamer9 karma

First day was all about getting used to the tank. Remembering not to scratch your face so you don't get salt in your eye. Lots of hypnic jerks as I start to fall asleep, etc.

Last day I just got in and dropped down into this deep state of relaxation within 5-10 minutes. That's the only way to describe it, after 30 days I could almost immediately drop down into a deep place within myself where I was calm, my mind was quiet, and my body was relaxed.

JustVan1 karma

Have you tried to achieve that sensation outside of the tank now that you've gotten so used to getting there?

Thehealthygamer2 karma

Yes and I am able to achieve that same feeling of dropping down deep inside myself through meditation.

I went to a 10 day vipassana retreat in January and have been meditating 2 hours/day since then.

I have experienced many of the same benefits meditating 2hrs/day as I experienced during my 30 days of floating.

I would recommend serious meditation over floating if you had to pick one. My meditation practice gives me many more benefits beyond the simple peace, quiet, and relaxation of the tank.

But the nice thing about the tank is that it's not hard work. Meditation is hard work. With a tank you can just go lay in there for 90 minutes and get out super calm, relaxed, at peace, and drop down into deep places within. With meditation you really have to be diligently working to drop into the same places.

However meditation you can do anywhere, anytime, for free. And like I said you'll gain many more benefits aside from the simple relaxation/calm/peace that you get from floating. The tank is not nearly as accessible.

If you do BOTH that's the sweet spot. I can get into super deep states of meditation within minutes in the float tank. These are states that took me 7-8 days of meditating from 4am until 9pm at the retreat to get to.

JustVan2 karma

I've tried meditation before with very limited success, because of all the worldly distractions. It sounds like doing some float tank stuff first to get into that mind-set would help, and then once having channeled that moving to more regular meditation would be nice. Like a cheat to get to the end result, and knowing how it feels to get there.

Thanks for the insight!

Thehealthygamer2 karma

And I would also recommend getting some formal training in meditation. I never really "got it" until I went to my 10 day retreat. There are various retreats all over the world with different lengths and different teachers. Just find one that sounds right for you and attend. I think to truly "get" meditation you have to practice really diligently for a while, and it's really difficult to establish that firm practice without something like a retreat to help you.

Mrduff013 karma

Did you ever take any drugs ? I heard that psychedelic drugs were used in the montauk project.

Thehealthygamer5 karma

Sure I've taken drugs.

Not sure what your point with the Montauk experiment is. If that whole insane story even has any basis in reality lol.

deerheadapparition3 karma

But did you take them before going in the tank. How did it change the experience.

Thehealthygamer3 karma

I did not. I feel like that would be much too intense of an experience and I also didn't want to risk vomiting inside the tank which would be a real possibility on drugs imo.

Legionodeath3 karma

How deep is the chamber? I'm a skinny, muscular guy so I don't float in pools haha. Does your body rest on the bottom of the chamber or are you fully suspended in water? Is there anything in the water to make you float more, like salt?

Thehealthygamer3 karma

8-10 inches of water. Don't worry you'll float. There's 800-1,000lbs of epsom salt in there. Your body won't touch the bottom.

Legionodeath1 karma

Ah yeah I figured there was some salt in there. Thats cool. Maybe I'll see if theres one in my area. Always seemed like an interesting activity. What drove you to do this? Was there a particular problem you wanted to solve or did you just think it would be a fun and beneficial exercise?

Thehealthygamer2 karma

If you take a look at my doc that's link it explains it all. I'd basically just come back from thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, almost 2,200 miles and I needed both physical and mental recovery.

Deep_Roy1 karma

you seem like a super interesting person. i’d love to hike that and also try to float sometime

Thehealthygamer2 karma

Haha thanks! I've been pretty boring for most of my life but after I decided to stop letting fear hold me back and just go do what I want to do I've had many more interesting experiences. I'm heading out in 6 days for a bike trip through NM, AZ, Utah, Colorado, then up to Canada, and then going to thru-hike the CDT back to the Mexican border.

Deep_Roy1 karma

thats amazing! i hope i get the chance to do stuff like that. how do u manage to do long stuff like the app thru-hike and stuff while also working full time (assuming u do)?

Thehealthygamer2 karma

Well I set the intention over 5 years ago that I wanted to have adventures and the freedom to travel. Since then I've built an online business that allows me that freedom. It's all about your intention at the end of the day imo and what your priorities are. I drive an old car, don't own a house, and don't have a traditional career at all but it allows me the time and freedom to do these types of things if I live frugally so it's all about your priorities and intentions.

I think this idea that you HAVE to work full time and that you HAVE to build a career is all BS designed to create a population of miserable worker bees so that the rich can get richer. You don't have to live that way. There are many other ways to live and if you set out the intention to gain freedom you'll figure out ways to make it happen.

I've met people that bartend 6 months then hike 6 months. People that work ski resorts in the winter and rafting guides in the summer and travel in the spring and fall. One guy works as a wildland firefighter and hikes every other summer. If freedom is your priority you'll figure it out one way or another. Learning to live very frugally helps tremendously. The more things you can live without the easier it will be to break free of the 9-5.

Legionodeath1 karma

Oh ok. Cool. I've always wanted to do that. Thanks for answering my questions.

Thehealthygamer2 karma

You're welcome! I have some more AT videos on my channel if you wanta check em out.

StepYaGameUp2 karma

Do you feel there is value for the average person to use sensory deprivation tanks?

I was contemplating booking a session but don’t really know what to expect or what value I should look to gain.

Thehealthygamer5 karma

Yes I think there is. So if you go in with no intentions what you'll likely receive is a sense of very deep rest, peace, calm, and relaxation.

Of course those feelings will dissipate over the course of the next couple of hours.

I think the real benefits of floating come from a regular practice where you have intentions. That float environment can provide access to these altered states of consciousness, this state between waking and sleep, that we just can't readily access in our day to day lives and I think this state is where we can effect some profound change within ourselves. But of course since this is so new not many people have explored it fully and developed practices to take full advantage of this state.

One simple thing I suggest to people is problem solving. Use that state to solve problems and make decisions that have been weighing on your mind.

Another way to use that state is to visualize habit changes. I used it to program myself to enjoy waking up early and that stuck with me for about a month after my floating ended. So it would appear regular "dosing" was required. But it worked like a charm when I tried it. Went from waking up at 10-11 to 5-7am literally overnight.

I think what we'll see in the next 50 years is development of techniques and technologies to utilize these altered states of consciousness to effect dramatic and quick changes in our day to day lives.

StepYaGameUp1 karma

Very interesting re: the change in wake times, yet it “wearing off” when you stopped floating.

I will give it a try with your recommendations. Thank you for the response.

Thehealthygamer2 karma

Yeah give it a try, if nothing else you'll have a new experience and be really relaxed.

awolsniper0332 karma

Who braugth you food and what did you eat?

Thehealthygamer3 karma

I just floated for 90 minutes everyday for 30 days in a row, didn't stay in the tanks the whole day.

awolsniper0335 karma

Oh ok lol

Thehealthygamer4 karma

Yeah I think if you stayed in for 30 days you'd probably have blood clots and die or something lol.

princesshokage2 karma

How is floating for pain relief?

Thehealthygamer3 karma

Apparently it's great! We have a lot of people come in regularly at the float shop to relieve various chronic pains. The mechanism of action for that pain relief is still not well understood but these people swear that floating regularly has been one of the best remedies for their chronic pain.

I don't have any chronic pain but I definitely noticed it helped my muscle pain and joint stiffness/soreness go away faster.

cubed_traveler2 karma

Can one drown by accident while attempting to meditate?

Thehealthygamer2 karma

I mean I suppose drowning is possible because it's water, but I don't know that there's ever been a single case of it happening. You really do float on top of the water. So you'd have to flip completely over onto your belly(which would be nigh impossible while you were asleep, because you'd have to leverage yourself with handholds and against the sides and bottom of the tank to do so) and then you'd have to force your face down into the water.

But the short answer is no, no chance of drowning, people fall asleep in tanks all the time with 100% safety.

cubed_traveler2 karma

what's the average cost for a session?

Thehealthygamer2 karma

Depends on the center. Ours is $70/float or $59/float if you have a membership. That's probably fairly average, anywhere from $40-80/float in most places, generally higher in big cities.

IMO it's still too expensive. There needs to be more innovations to bring that price-point down closer to $20-30/float. At this price it's still too inaccessible to float regularly. The only way I was able to do it was because it was my buddy's shop and he wanted the exposure from the documentary.

CndConnection2 karma

90 mins seems to be the commercial amount of time people go into these tanks.

But after the 6 hour stay how pruned were you? I mean even a 20-30 minute bath prunes my fingers and toes pretty badly I can't imagine 6 hours floating in water loaded with salt.

Thehealthygamer4 karma

I actually wasn't pruney. I'm not sure why. Maybe something to do with all the salt.

CndConnection1 karma

Fascinating. There's a tank in my region that is affordable for a 90min session and I have been curious. Might give it a shot sooner than later.

Thehealthygamer1 karma

You should! I think everyone benefits from floating and it's really worthwhile to explore different states of consciousness.

Killer_TRR1 karma

Really late. But what are you floating in?

Thehealthygamer3 karma

So the tanks are dreampods and float cabins, but if you're asking what's in the tank it's about 8-10 inches of water with 800-1,000lbs of epsom salt.

My_Name_Is_Fox1 karma

Do you do drugs? If so, how does the experience compare?

Thehealthygamer1 karma

Floating is akin to a microdose of shrooms or LSD. Senses are heightened, you feel more centered, more equanimous, and more focused.

reblogg1 karma

Could you control your hallucinations?

Thehealthygamer4 karma

Yes, but probably not in the way that you're thinking of.

During some floats you can drift into a lucid dreaming state pretty easily. The state where your mind's eye becomes vivid and life-like. In this state you can imagine whatever you want and it looks/feels/etc very real.

I never was able to control the fractal patterns and colors that I saw but then again I haven't had too many of those experiences in the tank like other people.

woeckworks1 karma

Was this inspired by the movie "Altered states"? Did you disappear into time and reappear as muscle tissue?

Thehealthygamer1 karma

Haha no but everyone I interviewed talked about Altered States the movie. Shoshanna talks about it in her interview in the documentary.