Archive for January, 2018


Float Tank

I recently received a gift of 60 minutes in a float tank. This is a relaxation technique that involves floating alone in a tank of 92-degree water with a saline content so high that you easily float. You can make it dark, and silent, and can even close the lid on your tank or float pod. (It does not latch or lock, of course!) The lack of sensory input can be profoundly relaxing and meditative; some people even sleep while floating.

The natural position of my head while floating was slighting tilted back, with the water coming about halfway between my hairline and my eyebrows. Relaxing the neck and head into this position can be hard for first-time floaters since the body’s instinct is to lift the head away from water to ensure easy breathing. One must consciously relax and allow the salty water to fully support the head so that the muscles in the neck can completely relax. I concentrated on doing this, and as I found myself periodically tensing my neck and lifting my head, I re-relaxed again and again.

The amazing thing was that I experienced no vertigo during or after my float. Tilting my head back was a major trigger during the years that my vertigo was the worst, and I actually avoided tilting my head back entirely for a very long time. (I’ve recovered my range of motion and flexibility now. See Neglected Muscles for related info.)

My spouse, on the other hand, got nauseous in the float tank. About halfway through their float, they had to sit up, open the lid for cool air, and turn on the light to avoid getting sick. I would float again; they will not!

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Bowling

My workplace held its holiday party at a bowling alley this year — it was a lot of fun! I noticed, however, that the unique sequence of movements in combination with the lighting caused me to be a bit unsteady.

Lighting: We were “glow bowling,” which I though meant everything would be black lit with neon bowling pins, but in actuality it just meant that the lights over the lanes were dimmed and extra rows of colored and flashing lights made the ambiance festive.

Movements: I sat on a low bench watching my teammates bowl. I frequently looked up at the ceiling-mounted scoreboard. When it was my turn, I quickly glanced up at the board to confirm that I was next, then stood and walked to the ball return, looked down and bent over to get my ball, then turned and looked down the lane, ready to bowl.

Twice I tilted or stumbled as I rose from the bench. (This mortified me, since I was with coworkers, and my boss was on my team!) And more than once, I felt a little “off” as I readied to throw my ball. I believe this was due to the dim lighting over the lanes; after the sequence of movements that I followed to get to the head of the lane, my body needed to “reset” when I finally stood still, and the dim lighting meant that the visual input my vestibular system was processing was less sharp than usual.

Do over: Two weeks later, a friend had a bowling party for her birthday. I had no problems. Compared to the work party, these lanes were fully lit, and instead of sitting on a low bench to watch my teammates, I sat on a high stool or stood. I bowled a great game!