“I’m claustrophobic” is something we hear more than not from clients looking at floating. First, what is Claustrophobia? “Claustrophobia is a form of anxiety disorder, in which an irrational fear of having no escape or being closed-in can lead to a panic attack.”, according to Medical News Today. Does this sound like anybody? Me, me, me!!! On a scale to 1 to 10 I would say I’m a 4 on the Claustrophobia scale. I’d say about 10 years ago when I was flying a lot for work, I was on a small plane from Houston to Mobile and I totally freaked out! My heart rate went through the roof, my palms got sweaty, my respiration increased. I don’t know what set me off that day but it was very real and something I have battled ever since. My husband can contest to how many times I have freaked out in the bathroom because I can’t get a shirt off and its stuck over my head. I’m embarrassed to say but it’s not pretty. At one point, I even considered going no medication because my fear of flying in small planes and even being in hotels was causing me to panic on a regular basis. For someone that “traveled” for work, this was not a good combination. I learned to immerse myself in a book as soon as I got on a plane so I could transcend my fear and go to a magical world of unicorns and rainbows or whatever else I might be reading at the time. The time I got stuck in the elevator at the San Antonio airport when it was 115 inside it probably didn’t help either. I am a personal testament that floating has significantly reduced my Claustrophobia, but we will get to that in a moment.
Many clients are afraid that floating will cause their Claustrophobia to kick in. This isn’t unnatural as a float room is a closed in space. Claustrophobia is a reaction to stimulus, but in a situation where an often-irrational lack of control takes over. In the float room, all stimulus is removed and there are no confines of the mind, claustrophobia is often only felt before getting into the tank and rarely felt once in the float room. Floating in a dark, zero gravity environment makes it seem as you are in the vast expanse of space. Open and free for, well I hear the universe keeps expanding, so until infinity.
Floating can be likened to an onion. Your first float session you will probably only get a layer or two deep, with each subsequent float session you peel back more and more layers. With a commitment to 3 to 4 session you really start to see more and more profound effects of floating. Floating is excellent at calming the mind and the fears that it harbors within it. What happens to you in the float room is totally within your control and will be an individual experience. Remember you can always turn the light in your float room or open the door during your float to help you overcome your fears.
Three techniques that can help you relax as well are 1) Breathing Exercises 2) Body Relaxation Scan 3) Slow Your Hear Rate. Breathing exercises are a great way to relax your mind and let go of all the erroneous thoughts running through your mind. You can mentally say “one” as you inhale and “two” as you exhale or “in” and “out” as you breath. The second technique of a Body Relaxation Scan entails starting at your feet and working your way up to your head. You clench your muscles and then release them, letting go of any aches and pains as you release the muscles. The third technique we recommend is to mentally work on slowing your heart rate down. While floating, you become very aware of your heart beats, one can mentally concentrate and listen to your heart beat and focus on slowing it down.
One of the steps we took in establishing our float center was very focused on Claustrophobia, since I suffer from it myself. Had you told me when I did my first float back in 2012 that I was going to get into one of those pods, I would never have floated resulting in me missing out on so many other benefits and pain relief that floating has given me! When we looked at float equipment for iSofloat we decided to go the more expensive route and buy LARGE spacious float rooms and not those cheap little pods so many float centers go on the cheap and buy. I wanted our clients to be able to overcome their fears of claustrophobia and float and to me the only option was a float room.
Don’t let your mind paralyze you any longer. If you keep saying I don’t know if floating is for me because “I’m Claustrophobic” stop and come into iSofloat and give floating a try in our spacious float rooms. You won’t regret you did it!