If you’ve never been in a floatation tank devoid of gravity and mysteriously drawn away from your sensory functions I’m excited to share with you – it’s a trip with lucid benefits. Those who have floated know it to be a consoling experience; an escapism from all external stimuli.
This was to be my third time. First was in Amsterdam in a small pod for 45 minutes. Second was at a hippy commune in California, were I spent a total of 7 hours overnight in a deprivation tank, attempting to catch up on years of lost sleep.
My third experience took place at Artes Mentales (Mental Arts) here in Puerto Vallarta.
I arrived early morning and had a quick look at the breathtaking views of the ocean and natural surroundings, visible from most of their property. The expansive building houses a grand hall, an outdoor area with pool, a kitchen and bar, conference rooms, a full spa and the flotation tanks. One of their therapists escorted me down an outdoor spiral staircase, passed some tropical fish tanks and into the spa.
Inside A Flotation Tank
I was given a robe to change into and directed to my private area which was divided into a changing room, a shower and the flotation tank. I showered and put in ear plugs, ready for entry into the “womb-like room.” I say room because it’s not a tiny structure. Two or three people could fit inside, but the point is to have time alone, so in alone I went.
The water level came up to my hips. It was eerily quiet apart from the occasional dripping noise of condensation falling from the ceiling. I got myself into float position by simply lifting my feet off the floor and holding onto the sides. You don’t have to try. The 500 kilos of Epsom salts keep you from being able to do anything else. You just float, like a cork!
You cannot turn around, and even if you fell asleep it would’nt be a problem. I pulled the door to see if it still opened. I touched all four sides of the dark chamber. I checked in with my breathing and my heart, to see it wasn’t racing.
Amidst the buyoncy of my body trying to fight against the weightlessness first came a few annoyances. The salty water was stinging every cut or pimple on my body and also leaking into my ear canals, even with the earplugs. I could feel that my hair had taken on a buyoncy of it’s own and was spreading itself out everywhere. I relaxed a bit more by remembering from previous that my hair and scalp came out refreshingly clean and that Epsom salt with all it’s magnesium makes hair and skin brand new.
It took a while to stop all the thinking, get centered and present. Memories of the week, any problems and emotional pain rose up first. But somewhere in the complete silence I realised that holding onto these thoughts for the duration would be a complete waste of this experience, so I let them come up, then I let them go, one-by-one.
I imagined them floating down into some kind of dark abyss under the tank where all problems were sucked away out of my life and out of my mind.
Holding tension anywhere within my body also then became useless. The warm saltwater fights your muscle tension, tells it it has no business interrupting your comfort, and literally cocoons you within a full-body muscle relaxant.
Space and Time In A Spa
I can’t tell you what you will experience inside a flotation tank, it’s different for everyone, and it’s personal and private.
It can be a like a confessional box without the priest. It can be a moment in time where realizations occur. The space can make you feel you are someone, someone big and powerful, whilst simultaneously letting you know you are nothing, the small dot in the universe.
I won’t show you a photo either. It’s a structure, dark inside – nothing exciting to look at.
But what happens in there can be exciting! Some have lucid dreams, others figure out answers, some relax like never before. People with chronic pain get temporary relief from suffering, and this can happen with the mind also.
An interesting fact is that one hour floating is said to be equal to 4-5 hours traditional slumber; something to keep in mind for everyone. Being in Mexico a “salty siesta” was the phrase that came to my mind as I floated in there, and nothing or nobody could disturb me.
Back To Reality
When the lights come on at the end of the session the struggle is real to get back to real life. Artes Mentales have this down to a fine art by letting you get ready at your leisure with a hot shower and then a visit to their extremely plush bathroom, equipped with hairdryer and every cosmetic item you could need.
The slow pace continues when you go back upstairs. I was treated to a tea of my choice and homemade bread, baked on their premises. They even have a dog named Flip-Flops who will happily sit and chill out with you whilst you contemplate getting up and getting on with the rest of your day.
A colleague from Artes Mentales sat with me and explained that their place is so much more than just the flotation tanks and spa. They also offer workshops and seminars for individuals and businesses, house a co-working space and open for special events including movie nights.
If you’d like more information or more detailed descriptions on the benefits of floating, contact them here for prices and packages.
For ninety blissful minutes, I had enjoyed complete silence in the dark and I loved it. Tranquility is rare in Puerto Vallarta, a city hugely populated with tourists and locals, and where life can be one big fiesta.
I saw and heard there to be loud construction next to the property as I left to get my ride. All I had heard during an hour and a half floating was dripping condensation of healthy me-time.
As I got in the Uber I was already craving this experience again – some time to get away, without having to go away.
Artes Mentales, Calle Lirios 837, 5 de Diceiembre, 48350 Puerto Vallarta.
Call: 322 116 9266.