My Second Sensory Deprivation (Isolation Tank) Experience


It had been over a year since my first float tank experience, which was booked for the evening before our fourth frozen embryo transfer (and incidentally, our first successful pregnancy!).

I truly believed that floats help me, a self-admitted anxious perfectionist, remember that the final stages of the IVF process (or the entire thing?) is about letting go and trusting in the process. Also a daunting task for many of us in general, who are used to always GO-GO-GO-ing.

By the second float, I can confirm that both truly hit the reset button for me…though, at nearly $100 per session, it still isn’t feasible for me personally to incorporate floats into any sort of routine. Yet, after spending the amount of money my wife and I were dropping on IVF, it seemed like a drop in the bucket, a “why-the-heck-wouldn’t-we”?

My wife justified it to me that way, when I balked at letting her scheduling a float for me before our second embryo transfer. In the end, she was right; I had never been a massage or spa gal, and I wasn’t spending any money on other treatments said to slightly improve IVF. Though these studies show minimal effect on impacting fertility treatments some people swear that even an iota of a percent is worth any amount of money, especially true after subsequent IVF failures or “last tries”. I am in no way minimizing the impact they do present, and if you feel like that’s the route for you, I cheer you on! I just felt too ‘guilty’ to add it to the ever growing costs of our first three years at the fertility clinic.

My amazing partner and best friend insisted on shifting our mindset that the money was already spent, and I was to feel NO guilt about it. Boom! Just like that, it was booked for the following day.

OHMIGOD. Our “Transfer Eve” was the following day.

Reality set in, and it was exciting. Even through our first week of PIO shots, I hadn’t been letting myself get too excited. After all, there are a lot of hoops and tests to get through from first blood draw to embryo transfer.

From that point forward, I knew I had to think positive and let everything else go. Including the…(gulp)….money. As an otherwise frugal person it was a relief (though surprisingly difficult) to not let myself feel badly, or tally up the other things that could have been purchased, or start thinking about how third world countries don’t even have water and I’m driving a Subaru to a salt water bath — seriously, I started to go there.

Besides, I usually don’t prefer getting massages: as a former massage therapist myself, I tend to study techniques or routines instead of relaxing…and for IVF it’s more about the mind than the muscles at this point. Acupuncture just didn’t ever strike my fancy.  It’s not even that I’m nervous about needles (yet I still can ROCK progesterone-in-oil shots, which surprises me); acupuncture just  never called to me. Some IVF-ers have plain had enough of needles and the added anxiety may outweigh the benefits, in those cases.

Experienced floaters recommend a weekly float to get in the habit, and some go as far as saying ultimate nirvana cannot be reached until one has let go processing what is happening or shutting of the brain, which takes a certain level of practice.

I agree that it takes an incredibly long time to shut off your brain over and over… but if/once you do, you feel an enormous sense of weightlessness, intensified by your physical body being suspended a foot above the surface, with zero effort. It’s pretty amazing! I think it can be done in a single float, but I imagine weekly floats would be pure bliss.

If you are good at meditations, enjoy quiet or alone time, or feel like you need a break from always being plugged in, consider a sensory deprivation tank!

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