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Less is more

Sensory deprivation tanks a stress relief for students

Treeka Drake, owner of One Love Float in Calgary, hangs out in the reception area of her float business on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016. (Photo by Amanda Richter/The Weal)

Treeka Drake, owner of One Love Float in Calgary, hangs out in the reception area of her float business on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016. (Photo by Amanda Richter/The Weal)

With the compounded stress levels students face daily, the removal of external senses could help reduce the anxiety that stems from school, work and daily life.

Sensory deprivation tanks — also known as float tanks — aim to do just that.

“Floating is about surrender and trust,” said Treeka Drake, owner of One Love Float in northwest Calgary.

Sensory deprivation tanks vary in shape and size, but the one most people would have heard of before is a fully enclosed tank that looks like a giant capsule.

The tank is filled with a few inches of water containing anywhere between 320–450 kilograms (700–1000 pounds) of Epsom Salts. Due to the water’s high salt content, the human body will naturally float.

“All of a sudden, your body doesn’t have to do anything.”

Once the tank has closed, the client’s earplugs are in and they have centred themselves in the tank, the only thing left to do is be at one with mind and body, said Drake.

The water temperature is set within a few degrees of body temperature. Once settled, it becomes difficult to feel where the body ends and the water begins, which is amplified by the recommended lack of a bathing suit.

The absence of auditory input, combined with complete darkness, combined with the inability to feel the end of the body is what makes these float tanks true to their sensory deprivation title.

According to Drake, there are three main reasons for students to float: the welcoming of deep relaxation providing stress relief, accessing mental clarity for focus through meditative bliss and the promotion of creativity.

“The birth of new ideas come through,” said Drake.

Drake said she had a client who was a student that came in several times during exam week to cope with the season’s increased pressure on students.

“We always get the float we need.

“We’re always changing or morphing.”

Drake opened One Love Float in 2008, after experiencing sensory deprivation for the first time.

At first, she said the idea of floating “sounds terrifying,” but after travelling with friends on a 10-float-centres-in-10-days-tour, she said she felt she had to do something with this.

After returning from her tour, she sold her house to buy a personal float tank. Originally, she hadn’t planned on turning it into a business, but as more and more people began to float, she rethought her situation.

Drake said she had a moment when she discovered, “Holy crap. I have to quit my job.”

Previously an events manager, she quit and opened One Love Float on the main floor of her new home.

“It had to be that loud and inspirational.”

For her, she said, the float benefits were too great to ignore.

“We become our own alchemy and our own medicine.”

Sensory Deprivation Tanks in Calgary

One Love Float
7244 Silver Springs Rd. N.W.
SAIT students can receive $10 off their first float at One Love Float until Oct. 31, 2016 by using the promo code “Parker rocks.”

Urban Escape
208 4th St. N.E.
Offers student discount

FloatLife
1422 Kensington Rd. N.W.
Offers student discount

The Home of OM
2312 4th St. S.W.

Clear Float Spa
1800 4th St. S.W.

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