Closing In On Claustrophobia

Is claustrophobia real? Yes. Is claustrophobia irrational?  Also, yes. It affects between 2-5% of Canadians. Ask around. Chances are good that someone you know suffers from it. Claustrophobia is the irrational fear of not being able to escape or breath in a confined space. People who suffer claustrophobia explain it as a loss of control or helplessness.

It occurs in a variety of situations, but most commonly in airplanes, underground shopping malls, subways and elevators. Don’t even ask someone who is claustrophobic about SCUBA diving or caving. It’s not happening!!  As experienced floaters, we know this loss of control, the sensory deprivation if you will, is the allure and power of the float tank. The very reason we want to float is to disengage ourselves from external stimuli to better connect our mind and body.

Unpacking the fears surrounding claustrophobia and finding solutions.

The Most Common Fear? Fear of Restriction

The dome shape of the float pod, creates space. By its very design, there is more space above you than below. Floating in just 10” of water, the interior of the pod is virtually wide-open space. The sides are within easy reach, and an interior light is available if you prefer. And while the lid is meant to close, you don’t need to do it.  Leave the lid open! Roll up a towel and use it to prevent the lid from closing all the way. Leaving the lid open or partially open, does not interfere with the benefits of floating. There is no ‘correct’ way to float.


Followed By, The Fear of Suffocation

The smart design of the pod means that in addition to being spacious, it is not airtight. During your float, the air circulation system constantly operates, bringing in fresh air from the room into the tank. You will have a steady supply of fresh air and need never worry about air quality, temperature or quantity. The float tanks are completely safe and tested. Use the towel roll here as well. Peace of mind is key to relaxation.
Still unsure?  Consider:

  • Practicing at home by visualizing the experience in your bath tub or hot tub.
  • Reach out to others who have floated and ask your specific questions.
  • Call Gravity Float & Wellness to arrange a facility tour and Q&A session.
  • Know that while you float, there is a Gravity Float & Wellness staff member in the next room, ready to assist if need be.


Float therapy can become the first step in your claustrophobia management. It can be a place to take back control, observing where you are, accepting how you’re feeling, and the power you have over your mind.



Lorraine Miller
Lorraine Miller
Lorraine Miller is a lifestyle writer whose articles and blogs feature interesting people, places and businesses. A former educator, she is a community volunteer and loves living and writing in the Okanagan. [email protected]