Floatation therapy is a revolutionary way to soothe the mind, body, and spirit. People love the feeling of weightlessly floating in a tranquil, quiet, and dark tank. For some floaters, a session relieves anxiety, while others feel physical relief by taking pressure off their muscles and joints.
But for people with claustrophobia (the fear of being in small spaces), the mere thought of being in a confined space can turn what’s supposed to be a peaceful experience into a source of anxiety.
While floating might not work for everyone with claustrophobia, there are plenty of ways to float without fear. In this guide, we’ll explain both claustrophobia and float therapy and explore how claustrophobic people can embrace the tranquility of floating.
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What Is Claustrophobia?
Claustrophobia is an anxiety disorder where someone feels irrational and intense fear or panic when they’re in confined spaces. The feelings of anxiety worsen if they feel like they can’t escape, which is why spaces like locked rooms, elevators, and even a floatation tank can feel triggering to someone with claustrophobia.
If you live with claustrophobia, you certainly aren’t alone. Over 12% of the population has claustrophobia, making it one of the most common anxiety disorders in the world. Common symptoms of claustrophobia include:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Shaking or trembling
- Shortness of breath
Claustrophobia is more than just feeling uncomfortable—it’s a complex psychological condition that requires treatment, especially if it interferes with someone’s day-to-day life. Fortunately, treatments like talk therapy, exposure therapy, relaxation techniques, and medication can significantly improve the symptoms of claustrophobia.
Understanding Floatation Therapy
Floatation therapy, which is also known as sensory deprivation or float therapy, is a wellness practice that supports both mental and physical health. During a session, you float in a specialized tank filled with a high concentration of dissolved Epsom salt. This allows your body to float effortlessly on the surface of the skin-temperature water, which creates the illusion of weightless floating.
While it differs by person, float therapy comes with a range of benefits, including:
- Lower anxiety
- Pain relief
- Improved sleep
Floatation tank centers like Krysus create a very specific experience inside the float pod for deep relaxation. The tanks have soft interior lights that eventually fade to darkness as you settle into the session. They also play ambient music at the start of the session and eventually fade into silence, although you can opt to turn soft music on if you want.
Sessions usually last 30 to 60 minutes, giving you ample time to relax. The absence of external stimuli allows your mind to drift into a meditative state, so most people find float sessions profoundly calming and restorative.
Being Claustrophobic in a Float Tank
At first glance, it might sound like claustrophobia and float tank therapy just aren’t a match. People with severe or unmanaged claustrophobia likely won’t benefit from floatation therapy. The idea of being in a small, enclosed tank can be daunting for someone with claustrophobia. The sensation of being enveloped in darkness, with the door closed and limited light, can exacerbate that fear. However, with the right preparation and a few coping strategies, it’s possible to overcome mild claustrophobic tendencies and enjoy the benefits of floatation therapy.
5 Tips for Managing Claustrophobia in Floatation Therapy
Claustrophobia is a complex condition that requires treatment by a licensed counselor or psychiatrist. However, there are a few tips you can try if you have mild claustrophobia or claustrophobia that’s under careful management by a mental health professional.
1. Seek Treatment for Claustrophobia
Float therapy isn’t a replacement for mental health treatment, so talk to your doctor, counselor, or psychiatrist before you schedule a float session. They will review your particular triggers and tell you if float therapy is a good fit for your situation. Professionals can also offer tailored coping mechanisms and advice if you choose to try float therapy.
2. Take Breaks
Krysus gives each floater their own private room. If the tank ever feels overwhelming, you’re free to get out of the tank at any time and take a break. You have the entire room to yourself, so take as much time as you need to calm your breathing before reentering the tank.
3. Start Small
Start with shorter sessions at first and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable with floating. This gives you more exposure to float therapy in shorter bursts, helping you acclimate to the environment without feeling overwhelmed.
It’s also helpful if you find a float studio that allows you to book online. Some floaters find booking online in advance helps with their anxiety because they know exactly what to expect. But if you have questions or would just feel better chatting with a human being, don’t hesitate to call. You can even ask about scheduling a quick tour so you can see the studio and float tanks before your first appointment.
4. Remember You’re in Control
Some professionals say the root cause of claustrophobia is a lack of control. Fortunately, you’re in complete control during the float session. You have the freedom to:
Leave the door completely or partially open. This is a great way to get more air circulation into the tank and remind yourself that you’re free to leave the tank at any time for additional air.
Turn on the interior light if the darkness feels too overwhelming
Practice relaxation exercises as you gently float in the water. Deep, steady breathing can help manage fear and anxiety.
5. Communicate With the Float Studio Staff
Krysus HP’s friendly staff are always available to chat if you have a concern about float therapy. They can offer guidance and even suggest additional accommodations to keep you comfortable.
Try Floating Now: Book Online
Claustrophobia shouldn’t keep you from enjoying life. Floatation therapy is about relaxation and overcoming personal barriers, including fears and anxiety. Claustrophobic people can enjoy the benefits of float therapy, provided they have professional treatment and access to the right coping strategies.
Are you curious about float therapy? Our friendly and professional staff is here to help. Book your first float session with Krysus or get in touch to learn about accommodations for floaters with claustrophobia.