Angie Nelson

So, I have an unconventionally rad side job at a float and cryotherapy spa called Lost in Float. Floating (I’ll tell ya what that is in a sec) is something I’ve done off and on at a buddy’s house over the years. He and his wife own a company that builds, sells and ships tanks all over. When I heard some fine folks were going to open a center in Lincoln, I reached out to them and said, “Hi. I’m Angie. I want to be a part of this, please.” My polite bluntness paid off, and I moonlight there twice a week-ish.

Here’s the gist of floating:

Floating is a 60-minute, or more, vacation to nowhere and everywhere. Your vehicle is a large tank safely filled with 1,000-plus pounds of Epsom salts and about 11 inches of water. You ain’t sinking, man. If you die in there, it was simply your time to go.

Joe Rogan does a great job of describing some of the ways I feel about floating and why I love the practice so much, so I’ll let him tell ya—it’s only six minutes and there are some naughty words in there (enjoy).

Now back to what I was saying:

I was a little proud and terrified of myself once I started inviting friends and family to try it. The vast majority responded with twisted faces filled with a mix of apprehension, fear and disbelief.

My hint of pride was due to the fact that I had zero qualms stripping down and hopping into wonderland—nothing negative ever occurred to me. And that’s when a tiny bit of terror crept into my head. Have my danger receptors been dulled from years of being, well, me? All good writers, and Columbus kids for that matter, have a bit of madness in ‘em, so I brushed that notion off rather quickly and decided to loosely experiment on a few coworkers willing to give floating a go.

“Who’s it gonna be?” I asked myself. Without overthinking it, I selected a diverse trifecta from the creative team pool and collected their pre- and post-float data below. I’m super proud of all three of them and encourage everyone reading this to try it for yourself ASA(mutha-floatin’)P. 

Hannah Bauer, copywriter

What ran through the ol’ grey matter from the time you said “I’ll do it” to just before hopping in the tank?   

The six stages of pre-floating:

  1. Agreement: Why not try floating? You LOVE trying new things!
  2. Questioning: Wondering if this is an experience that will be enhanced by mind-altering substances, and, if so, where one might possibly procure some of those.
  3. Research: Realizing it’s okay that your swimsuit is way old, because floating is done in the nude.
  4. Bragging: You spend the days leading up the float telling people about the totally cool thing you’re going to do. No, you’ve never done it before, and yes, you’ll let them know how it is.
  5. Questioning (Again): Hoping this isn’t going to be a waste of an hour, fearing that you’re going to have some sort of flotation-triggered panic attack, wondering if you’ve made a huge mistake.
  6. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯: Here goes nothin’!

How’d it go in there?

Immediately after entering the tank, I turned off the light. That was a hard NOPE. I turned it back on right away. It took some time (five minutes? 15 minutes?) for me to totally relax my neck/shoulders/core and just give in to the float.

I let my thoughts drift as I fidgeted around. I experimented with pushing my arms to the tank floor, then letting them shoot back up. I played around with pushing myself gently around inside the tank. I shut my eyes for periods of time, then opened them. I tried floating with my hands on my belly and with my arms sprawled out. The lid of the tank was a black dome, and I could see a very distorted reflection of my general person-shape. I spent most of the time floating staring at that and moving my legs and arms around to see how the shape changed. I never thought about anything for very long, or about anything very significant, but I was never bored.

At this point you’re probably assuming I was able to find aforementioned mind-altering substances, but no. The float proved plenty trippy on its own.  

How’d you feel after your 60 minutes were up?

Chiiiiiill. It reminded me of getting a massage. It didn’t feel quite that nice physically, but there was something very cool about getting to the same state of relaxation without having to really interact with another person. I was completely alone with the bizarre terrain that is my own mind, and I was free react to that however I wanted. If I started giggling while I was pushing my feet off the side of the tank to propel myself back and forth and it was super weird (and it WAS super weird), I didn’t have to be self-conscious about any sort of onlooker or attendant’s judgment. It was the definition of “doin’ me.”

What would you say to someone on the fence about floating?

Worst-case scenario: You waste an hour of your time.

Best-case scenario: You totally transcend this astral plane and realize the secret to life itself.

Most-probable scenario: You are at least marginally more relaxed for a day or so post-float. And I know I’d try about anything if it meant I could get just a tiny bit more chill.

Nolan Tredway, producer

What ran through the ol’ grey matter from the time you said “I’ll do it” to just before hopping in the tank?   

I was incredibly nervous. The thought of being in a closed tank instantly made my throat close with anxiety. That’s why I had to do it. Curiosity will always defeat fear.

How’d it go in there?

I’m not going to lie, I spent the first fifteen minutes in the dark with the tank lid open. Once I started to lose my sense of place, and the space starts to open up, the anxiety disappeared.

Live from the float tank, it’s Nolan Tredway!

There is often a description of “travelling” associated with float tanks, and I always assumed it was just a lazy metaphor. However, each small movement of the water created the physical sensation of moving great distances in almost any direction. I began to enter an almost hypnagogic state, that usually delicate place between waking and sleeping, but this time it was the destination—not a point along the journey. It was calm, liberating and full of wonder.

When my 60 minutes were up, I immediately wanted to go again. I think I was a bit too nervous at first to get the full benefits of an hour of meditative introspection, but it was certainly an escape unlike anything else I have experienced.

What would you say to someone on the fence about floating?

The staff is incredibly welcoming and informative, and the room is entirely private and comfortable, so there’s no pressure on your way in or out. It’s more of a spa setting than I was expecting, and the sense of taking that moment for yourself to relax is completely worth it.

Sara Nelson, account manager

What ran through the ol’ grey matter from the time you said “I’ll do it” to just before hopping in the tank?   

I wondered what I should wear or not wear while floating, what temperature the water would be and what to do if I had to go to the bathroom. All of these questions were quickly answered either by Angie or the Lost in Float website.

How’d it go in there?

At first, my heart was racing. I don’t remember ever laying in an enclosed box for 60 minutes, so that was a new experience. Once I got acquainted with the idea, I was able to relax and it felt like what I’d imagine floating on a cloud feels like.

How’d you feel after your 60 minutes were up?

The time went by surprisingly fast. Immediately after the float, my body took a minute to adjust to gravity again and felt heavy. I think the mega-dose of magnesium did me some good.

What would you say to someone on the fence about floating?

It’s definitely worth a try for the experience alone. It helped me shut out the world for an hour, which was amazing in and of itself. The feeling of being that buoyant and floating so effortlessly is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced and something I’d want to experience again.