Light dep, or light deprivation, in the cannabis cultivation world is reducing the light periods for the plants to speed the flowering process. The practice has become increasingly popular with outdoor cannabis growers here in Maine, and we are excited to hear that news. However, this article isn’t about that. Rather, it’s about practicing a little light dep on yourself, in what is known in the wellness world as sensory deprivation.
In the last issue, I attended a yoga class that allowed practitioners to utilize cannabis. Since then, I’ve been looking for other activities that could be enhanced with cannabis. Having always been curious to try sensory deprivation, and with Maine businesses slowly starting to open, I booked myself a session at Float207 in Hermon, Maine. Their website (float207.com) is easy to navigate and book a session. I noticed they offer infrared sauna sessions as well. They have a great FAQ page, and their site answers the question of “What is floating?”
A sensory deprivation tank also called an isolation tank or most commonly known as a flotation tank is used for restricted environmental stimulation therapy (REST). It's a dark, soundproof tank that holds just about one foot of water and has over 1,200 lbs of Epsom salt dissolved inside. This allows you to effortlessly float in water that is 93.5 degrees, which is skin-receptor neutral. You'll have the unique experience of weightlessness; you cannot sense where the air stops and the water begins on your body. The tanks and rooms are totally insulated from sound. You have the opportunity for lights and music, although true sensory deprivation is one without. Floating has proven to help reduce anxiety, lower stress, and aid those who suffer from PTSD. Physically there is zero pressure on any joints or muscles allowing the body to relax and release tension. This permits the body and mind to enter theta state. Theta state is one of very deep relaxation; brain waves are slowed down to a frequency of 4-7 cycles per second. Our sessions are 90 minutes, giving you plenty of time to unwind and recharge!
Opened in 2018, the location is close to Bangor and easily accessible off of Interstate 95, with ample parking. Once inside, I noticed how immaculately clean the place was throughout. A super friendly and knowledgeable staff made my first visit anxiety free. Float207 offers a variety of audio soundscapes but you can also bring your own sounds as well.
I, of course, had medicated by smoking a joint before arriving at the location, but please note that I’m a regular cannabis user and do not recommend you try sensory deprivation while using THC. I found the experience extremely relaxing, restorative, and rewarding, however. I enjoyed the meditative place my inner self found during the 90 minutes. I can understand how floating on a recurring basis would be a beneficial practice to anyone aiming to quiet the mind. I am looking forward to booking my next session already.
After my session, I had time to ask Roscoe Whitham, owner of Float207, a few questions.
Matt: What was your first sensory deprivation experience like?
Roscoe: My first sensory deprivation experience was enlightening, I suffer from anxiety, and almost immediately I felt at ease. I shut off the lights and music and focused on my breathing. It was strange at first once the water settled and I could no longer feel it! It is the same temperature as your skin so it feels like floating in nothing, much like how I'd imagine being weightless in space would feel like. Before I knew it, my session was over, and I found myself in disbelief that 90 minutes had passed. I left feeling refreshed, and my chronic pain had subsided. It was amazing. I knew we had to have one in the Bangor area, so that's how it all started for me.
Matt: What could a first-timer expect and how should they prepare themselves?
Roscoe: Before booking a float, make sure that you have not had a spray tan within twop weeks of your appointment, and make sure any recent hair coloring is not staining towels or running in the shower. Both of these affect our water quality. The best way to prepare for a float is to not shave the day of your float, and do not consume any caffeine four to six hours prior to the float. Arrive 15 minutes before your float to sign waivers and go over new floater orientation. You do not need to bring anything with you, except maybe a comb and a contact case and solution if you have contacts. We provide towels, shampoo, body wash, conditioner, make-up remover wipes, A&D ointment for cuts, two different types of earplugs, ear cleaner, and a float pillow. We also have a tea station with assorted teas for post-float and a powder room with a blow dryer.
Matt: I personally medicated on THC for my first experience and enjoyed everything thoroughly but I can imagine that is definitely not for everyone. What, if any supplements, could a client coming to float use to enhance their experience?
Roscoe: While smoking is not allowed on the premises due to the terms of our lease, we do offer CBD from Northern Hemp Company at our center. We even have a deal on a two count of 25mg capsules to add to the relaxing effects of floating. I personally love taking CBD before floating as it helps me get in the zone more quickly. I have found THC to be slightly distracting when trying to quiet my mind during a session. We suggest going sober for the first float as it is an experience that is hard to describe and is amazing on its own!
Matt: What type of products can clients find in Float207's retail area?
Roscoe: We currently sell workout supplements and other products by ONNIT, Host Defense mushroom products, and Northern Hemp Company CBD (full-spectrum and isolate). We also have a customer discount code with TheraGun! We will be introducing new products and companies in the coming months, so make sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook (@float207) to see when we announce the new products!
Matt: What makes the infrared (IR) saunas different from traditional saunas?
Roscoe: Infrared saunas use far-infrared waves to heat you instead of the room itself. These are the same infrared waves that you get from the sun, making it feel just like you're on the beach on a sunny day. They are much more comfortable to be in than a traditional sauna. They are neither humid nor dry and are much easier to breathe in compared to the 170 degree traditional or steam saunas. Our IR saunas are set to 130 degrees; you can adjust this up to 150 but most find 130 to be sufficient. IR saunas have proven health benefits, some of which include preventing arterial chlorosis (hardening of the arteries), assisting with weight loss, reduction in chronic pain, stiffness, arthritis, and help with many skin conditions (psoriasis is one example). We have had many people with Lyme disease be referred to us from their doctors because of the reduction in joint pain and stiffness.
Matt: How far out do you recommend clients book an appointment?
Roscoe: Don't rule out same-day appointments! While we don't do walk-ins because appointments have to start at their specific times, many times we do have some openings the same day. Our live booking is on our website, or we can book via phone too.
Matt: Any other info you'd like the readers of MCC to know?
Roscoe: Floating is one of the most beneficial and life-changing things I have done in my life. I have always wanted to slow down and meditate but was unable to prior to floating. It just makes it so easy to shut off even if your mind is always going! Your autonomic nervous system takes over and puts you in a theta wave state making meditation achievable even to those who have a hard time turning off. Floating has gone mainstream over the last decade, with many professional sports teams having float tanks in their facilities. It can calm both the body and the mind.