Also known as Floatation Therapy, REST Therapy (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique) or Sensory Deprivation, floating involves lying in a salt-water solution in a specially designed tank (often referred to as a float tank, sensory deprivation tank, or isolation tank). Your experience in a floatation tank is about everything you won’t be doing. You won’t be fighting gravity. The 850 pounds of Epsom salt in the water takes care of that while you lie on your back. The water is kept at a skin receptor neutral temperature which means that you lose track of where your body ends and the water begins. Your ears stay just below the water, and the tanks are insulated against sound – noise from the outside is unable to reach you. After you shut the door to the tank, you float in total darkness.
During your float the outside world is gone and amazing things happen. It turns out that when you’re not fighting gravity or constantly taking in information your body has a lot of extra resources at its disposal. Your mind is free to navigate without distraction, your brain pumps out dopamine and endorphins, and your body gets to rest, de-stress and heal. It’s likely to be the most relaxing thing you’ve ever experienced.
The tank is high enough for me to stand up, wide enough for me to stretch my arms out and my fingers just touch the side and a lot longer then me. Today I left the meditative music and the light off so was in total blackness.
At the end of the hour, the music changed and the lights came on to let me know my hour was up. Get out and take a shower (which is in your room), which you need because you're all slimy and crusty from the salt. They have shower gel, shampoo and conditioner.
- Relaxation Response
Floating weightless in the tank suppresses the functioning of the sympathetic nervous system which is responsible for the 'fight or flight' response. Simultaneously, the parasympathetic nervous system is activated which is responsible for relaxation, stimulation of digestive secretions, replenishment and general recuperation.
- Increased Immune Function
Immune function is enhanced by suppressing stress hormones which not only weaken the immune system but also suppress the digestion and reproductive systems, affect regeneration processes, and decrease insulin sensitivity.
- Use in Athletic Training
Water in the tank has the added benefit of being saturated with Epsom salts, which have well-established healing effects, helping to draw out toxins and lactic acid build-up, and speeding up recovery time.
- Heightened Senses
Research indicates that regular floating leads to increased visual acuity, improved tangible perception, increased taste sensitivities and improved auditory sensitivity.
- Magnesium Absorption
The high concentration of Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) are absorbed through skin. Magnesium has been shown to be deficient in the standard North American diet. Magnesium assists in regulating high blood pressure, preventing cardiovascular disease, preventing osteoporosis, relieving menopause symptoms, providing PMS relief, creating healthier bones and teeth, and is involved with detoxification. Magnesium is awesome.
- Stress Reduction
Modern life is full of deadlines, frustrations, and demands. For many people, stress is so commonplace that it has become a way of life. Floatation therapy is the most powerful stress relief technique known. Floating has been shown many times, (in controlled studies compared to bed rest), to be the most relaxing experience on earth. (Relaxation measured by perceived stress, by hormone measurement and by brain waves all confirms the truth of this claim.)
- Improved Creativity
A small study of five university professors found that six float sessions allowed them to generate more “creative” ideas, which coincided with a self-reported increase in free imagery and remote associations. Similarly, in a study with 40 university students, a single flotation increased their scores on a standardized test used to measure creativity.
- Left Brain/Right Brain
The two sides of the brain operate in very different ways. The left side deals with detail, processing information, maths, order, logic it operates analytically and systematically, it’s basically the essential yet boring side of the brain. The right side of the brain is the hub for creativity, problem solving, music, art, pleasure and emotion. It operates visually, intuitively, rapidly absorbing large scale information. The right side is usually constrained and held back by the dominant left brain. Floating massively boosts right-brain function by turning off all external input making the left brain finally shut up, allowing the right side of the brain to run uninterrupted at full tilt.