90 Minutes of Nothing: Luxury or a Chore?

90 minute float therapy

In today’s fast-paced and hyperconnected world, finding moments of peace and tranquility can be challenging. Floatation therapy provides a unique opportunity to escape the external noise and distractions, allowing individuals to reconnect with themselves on a deeper level. However, it is not uncommon for some people to think that the 90-minute session will be too long, and are concerned about their float session being more of a chore than a luxury.

Luxury or Chore: It’s a Matter of Perspective:

Ultimately, whether a 90-minute session of nothingness feels like a luxury or a chore depends on individual preferences, mindset, and willingness to embrace the experience.  However, knowing WHY we have chosen 90 minutes as the length of a float session may help you see floating a little bit differently.

The Significance of a 90-Minute Session:

You may have heard of Circadian Rhythms – your body’s way of  governing our sleep-wake cycle over a 24-hour period.  However, have you heard of its counterpart the Ultradian Rhythm?  This natural cycle occurs multiple times within a 24-hour period.While the circadian rhythm operates on over a 24 hour period, the ultradian rhythm typically operates on a cycle ranging from 60 to 90 minutes. 

Understanding the Ultradian Rhythm

Activity and Rest Cycles: The ultradian rhythm governs our alternating periods of activity and rest throughout the day. It is responsible for our natural fluctuations in energy levels, focus, and cognitive performance. These cycles are most noticeable during wakefulness and are believed to be regulated by the interaction between various physiological processes in the body.

Energy Peaks and Dips: Within each ultradian cycle, there are peaks and dips in energy levels. During the peak phase, individuals typically experience heightened alertness, focus, and productivity. Conversely, during the dip phase, energy levels decline, and individuals may feel a decrease in mental and physical performance.

The 90-Minute Rule: The concept of the 90-minute rule suggests that our natural ultradian rhythm operates in cycles of approximately 90 minutes. This theory proposes that our bodies go through various stages within these cycles, including periods of increased alertness and activity, followed by phases of rest and renewal.

Application in Floatation Therapy: 

In the context of floatation therapy, a 90-minute session aligns with the duration of an Ultradian cycle. By design, this timeframe allows individuals to experience a complete cycle of relaxation, rejuvenation, and mental processing. As the session progresses, individuals may find themselves naturally transitioning through different stages of their ultradian rhythm, from initial relaxation to deeper introspection and mental clarity.

In addition, 90 minutes also allows enough time for deep relaxation. It takes time for our bodies and minds to settle into a deeply relaxed state. 90 minute appointments give you ample time to let go of external stimuli and sink into a state of profound relaxation.

90 minutes also allows your mind to follow a full cycle of mental processing.  Our minds naturally go through different stages during extended periods of quietude. Initially, there may be an influx of racing thoughts and mental chatter. However, as the session progresses, these thoughts gradually begin to dissipate, allowing for a deeper level of introspection and self-reflection. This extended timeframe gives individuals the opportunity to explore their thoughts, emotions, and inner landscape, leading to enhanced mental clarity and self-understanding

The Luxury of 90 Minutes of Nothing:

So, you know that 90 minutes is good for you and for many of us it’s downright luxurious to have 90 minutes all to yourself.  With so many ways to spend this luxurious chunk of time, why spend it on a float?

Mindfulness: When you carve out 90 minutes for yourself, you are presented with a unique opportunity to embrace the power of mindfulness. Quiet mindfulness is the practice of being fully present in the current moment, observing our thoughts and emotions without judgment. It allows us to cultivate self-awareness, reduce stress, and gain a deeper understanding of ourselves.

Escape from Busyness: In today’s fast-paced society, finding uninterrupted time for oneself can be a luxury on its own.  A 90-minute session offers a much-needed break from the constant demands and distractions of daily life. It provides an opportunity to slow down, unwind, and recharge.  Turn off your phone.  Time dedicated to self-care is never selfish.  

Deep Relaxation: Spending an extended period in a floatation tank allows the body and mind enough time to sink into a state of profound relaxation. It provides a unique environment for stress reduction, muscle tension release, and overall rejuvenation. The sensory deprivation aspect of the experience enhances the luxury by removing external stimuli, allowing for a deeper level of relaxation.

Self-Reflection and Insight: With no external distractions, individuals have the chance to turn inward, explore their thoughts, emotions, and inner world. This extended duration fosters self-reflection, introspection, and the potential for gaining valuable insights and self-understanding.

The Chore of 90 Minutes of Nothing:

Like everything else, there are two sides to every story.  Floating is a practice. Like all practices, there can be a learning curve.  If spending time alone in a quiet space is new for you, your first few floats may require a little bit of effort and might feel like a chore. 

Restlessness and Impatience: For some individuals, the idea of being alone with their thoughts for 90 minutes may feel daunting. Restless minds and an inherent impatience can make the session feel like a chore, especially if you struggle with racing thoughts or find it challenging to sit still for an extended period.  It can take some practice to calm your monkey mind and enjoy the quiet. 

Fear of Boredom: In a culture that thrives on constant stimulation, the absence of external stimuli can be disorienting. Some people may fear that 90 minutes of nothingness will lead to boredom or a sense of wasting time. Floating may require you to examine your need for constant stimulation and be honest with yourself if it’s really working for you.

Uncomfortable Self-Reflection: Engaging in self-reflection can be uncomfortable. Facing unresolved emotions, confronting inner conflicts, or simply being alone with your thoughts may bring up discomfort or anxiety, making the session feel like a chore.  However difficult this feels, know that time spent in deep reflection is never wasted.  Your future self will thank you.

So, how do I Navigate the float Experience?

OK, I know what you’re thinking – yada yada yada  . .  .the theory sounds great and I know that floating will be good for me.  But, how do I actually do this?

Setting Intentions:

Before entering the floatation tank, setting clear intentions for the session can give it a sense of purpose. Whether it’s relaxation, self-exploration, or simply embracing the present moment, having a purpose can transform the experience into a meaningful endeavour.

Breath Awareness:

Focus on your breath as an anchor for your attention. As thoughts arise, gently bring your awareness back to the sensation of your breath. This helps quiet the mind and promotes a state of relaxation.

Observing Thoughts:

Rather than getting caught up in the content of your thoughts, observe them as if they were passing clouds in the sky.  Personally, I treat them like open internet tabs.  I observe the thought and then close it like an internet tab. Recognize that thoughts are transient and impermanent, allowing them to come and go without attachment.

Practicing Self-Compassion:

Be gentle with yourself if restlessness or discomfort arises during the session. Accept that thoughts and emotions may surface, and approach them with compassion and curiosity rather than judgment.  Also, floating is a practice.  As with anything new, it’s rare that you get it perfect on the first try.

A 90-minute session of nothingness in a floatation tank presents a unique opportunity to disconnect from the world, relax, and explore the depths of self-reflection. While some may initially perceive it as a chore, by embracing mindfulness techniques, setting intentions, and approaching the experience with an open mind, it can become a luxurious escape. Approaching your float with a sense of curiosity like a gift that you’re about to unwrap can help.  Remember, the value of a 90-minute session lies not in accomplishing something, but in embracing the present moment, nurturing the mind, and cultivating a deeper connection with oneself.

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