Another, Kyle, thinks it helps as well. He took a salty plunge after a one-two combo of tragedy: losing a good friend, and then dealing with a partner's serious illness. He claims his time in the pods helped to "prepare me in some way by [letting me learn] how to let go and how to relax ... It was very difficult to relax when we were dealing with [my partner]'s prognosis before her surgery, and particularly after [my friend]'s death, but I've attempted to reframe it and gain strength from the float time rather than fear the silence and separation."
All that being said, however ...
"Paraplegics don't think this is Lourdes where they'll be healed. It really just helps them mentally from what I've seen," Cameron cautioned. "I'm a proponent of the pods and having others experience it, but you cannot say it's going to heal you or cure you ... We're told upon hiring to never say it's a cure or even hint that it is. There's lots of good in sensory deprivation, but you need to watch out for claims that are false."
Any place that promises 30 percent more mystic healing than their competitors should probably be avoided.
Leaving Is Like Being Reborn: Being Reborn Isn't Necessarily Fun
If it sounds like a religious experience, it may not be far off for some:
"Most will get a feeling like they're reborn," Cameron said. "I've done it before, and it's pretty accurate."
"The attendants always call it being born again, and I can see where they come from," added Chelsea. "You're cold, wet, and have felt like you've been in the womb. Every time I go in I tell myself that I won't be amazed with everything coming out, but every time I am. The floor there has this colorful pattern of twisting leaves, and every time I come out I'm mesmerized by it. It looks so alive -- despite being tacky-looking leaves. They always say, 'You're looking at them again' when they catch me doing it."
If they'd had a lava lamp in the lobby she might have literally died of ecstasy.
Studies on sensory deprivation tanks have shown that 90 percent of floaters felt more relaxed after a session. But sometimes, if they go through some bad hallucinations, or get salt in their wounds, or think they died, or stay in for too long and develop depression from extended isolation, or maybe just get a little liquid in their mouth and taste pee, it can be a challenge figuring out how to cope afterward.
"Sometimes floaters aren't prepared for the experience or didn't know what to expect," Cameron admitted. "I'll see at least one a day. They don't calmly climb out. They see the light and get out as fast as they can."
And not exclusively because their pod started smelling like a truck stop men's room halfway through.
You don't need any kind of degree to dunk a dude in a tank, and there's not exactly a standard training course for dealing with hallucinating naked people.
"They don't train you on freak-outs," Cameron said. "There was a floater, like a 20s-ish girl, who was bragging about how she could take this on, but after coming out she said she thought she was dead. She thought she had been forgotten and her air ran out."
That's why, Cameron assured us, all pods either have a panic button, or can at least be opened from the inside. Which is comforting. Unless you dance with the triangles too long, and forget you have hands.
Evan V. Symon is an interviewer, journalist and interview finder for the personal experience team at Cracked. Have an awesome job/experience you'd like to share? Hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org today!
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