What is Float Therapy?
If you’ve only just discovered float therapy, you’re not alone. More people are just beginning to learn about and understand what it is and the benefits they can enjoy from it.
Float therapy is an impactful tool for wellness, relaxation, pain relief, and better sleep. As with any therapy, regular use is recommended to experience the full benefits. Conditions such as stress, tension, and pain form and build over time, and thus, some time is needed to realize the most optimal relief; fortunately, floating is relaxing, fun, and easy way to achieve the results you’re looking for.
The Elements of Floating
Epsom salts are great for your skin, hair, nails, and act as an exfoliate. They aid in joint pain, ease stress, and naturally relax the body. Epsom salts help prevent inflammation in your joints and muscles and treat sprains, strains or sore muscles, too.
Each pod contains approximately 180 gallons of water that is supersaturated with 1,000 pounds of Epsom salts. The dense solution creates enough buoyancy to enable you to float without any effort on the surface of the water. This deeply relaxing, anti-gravity environment will allow you to completely let go of any tension. Since gravity has effectively been removed, there is no pressure on the body in this state. You can potentially experience remarkable pain relief by giving the nervous system time to decompress.
The Float Pod creates an environment that is light-proof and sound-proof. An hour of zero gravity and zero distractions will decrease the production of cortisol, a stress hormone, leaving us feeling refreshed and serene after the float. The brain can enter a more relaxed state associated with deep sleep and dreaming. As all external sources of distraction are removed, floating provides an extreme form of rest. The skin temperature water feels like floating on a cloud or in outer space.
Benefits of Floating
There are a number of vast and varied benefits that come from flotation therapy. You might experience them during the float session only, but they can last for an extended period of time after the session.
Floating offers an all-natural approach to impacting the body and mind, which has been proven to help a wide array of ailments and offer physical and mental well-being to those who use it.
Although there are many common experiences, many customers have unique responses to their own individual physical and emotional needs. Regardless, one thing is for sure, the more you float, the better it gets!
Being in a low-gravity, pitch-black, and totally silent tank gives the body time to relax. While the healing benefits of relaxation are well established, the amplified effect of flotation therapy is unique to the flotation tank environment. This atmosphere promotes a more profound form relaxation and allows the body to recuperate faster and more comprehensively.
Increased Blood Circulation
The near-weightless effect of floating allows muscles and joints to relax, increasing blood flow and helping to more quickly repair muscle tissues and heal the body. Those with injuries or chronic pain can often benefit from this the most.
Flotation therapy has seen success easing chronic conditions such as neck and back pain. The tanks have also been shown to ease the pain from arthritis and fibromyalgia, both of which have few natural treatment options. Along with massage and/or yoga and other exercises, the effects can lead to prolonged periods of relief from pain.
Increased Immune System Function
The reduced stimulation environment gives your body the opportunity to rest and recuperate and gives your immune system the opportunity to accelerate, strengthening your body’s immune response.
Every athlete is looking for an advantage in order to perform better. Flotation tanks have been shown to help bodies physically rest and recover more quickly. This means athletes can train harder and reap the benefits of slower recovery times with the use of a float tank. Epsom salt present in the float tank water has the added benefit of healing effects, speeding up recovery time and allowing athletes to push themselves farther and faster, especially in conjunction with massage or other alternative medicine.
Studies have shown the use of flotation therapy to be extremely beneficial for relaxation and mental health. The float tank environment gives the mind time to relax. This mental release is almost the polar opposite of stress. It allows the brain to stop devoting itself to processing all of our senses, which produces profoundly positive mental effects and releases a surge of positive neurochemicals.
Modern society bombards our senses with a variety of stimuli throughout our day. In the flotation environment, people experience a profound calmness of mind. This break from the world allows for stress management, offers the psychological benefits of a feeling more at peace, and is a perfect complement to many alternative wellness programs.
Sensory deprivation allows the mind to enter into the theta state, a somewhat dreamlike state that most people only experience when on the cusp of sleep or right after waking in the morning. These lower frequency brain waves, primarily generated by the right hemisphere (the hemisphere associated with creative, non-linear thought), have been called “the state of inspiration” and there is evidence, both anecdotal and scientific, to support an increase in feelings of creativity accompanying these type of brain waves.
Increased Reaction Time & Sensory Acuity
Sensory deprivation has been shown to heighten the senses post-float and even lead to increased sensory acuity for days after.
Sleep Schedule Maintenance
Flotation tanks have seen much success as an aid to those with insomnia or other sleep disorders. The sensory deprivation allows the brain a natural calm-down period, aiding those who have trouble entering this period naturally. Floating can even be used to alleviate feelings of “jet-lag” caused by changes in time zones or reset sleep schedules for those needing to do so to maintain a healthy level of sleep, something many alternative medicine regimens attempt to cultivate.
Feelings of Euphoria
Floating also offers a natural increase in dopamine and other neurotransmitters, which create feelings of euphoria and aid mental relaxation. This has both the subjective benefits of a feeling of well-being and the mental benefits of a more balanced brain chemistry.
This means that for anyone with stress induced or related diseases, such as hypertension, ulcers, heart disease, and many others, the flotation tank offers a mental solution to the physical symptom, and goes after the problem at its source. By combating the stress, which is at the root of these issues, flotation tanks help to heal the body and the mind. Even more abstract mental issues, such as depression, anxiety, psychological issues, even PTSD, have been shown to be alleviated in the tank environment.
For many conditions, flotation therapy offers an alternative to medicinal, or “pill therapy” which has become the default in our culture. Flotation therapy offers a safe, natural, and scientifically researched alternative or enhancement to many conditions plaguing our modern-day culture.
The History of Floating
The first float tank was developed in 1954 by Dr. John C. Lilly, a neurophysiologist interested in the effects of sensory deprivation on the brain. His initial design evolved over time, and the first commercially available float tank emerged in 1972.
The basic design hasn’t changed much: A large, enclosed fiberglass tub filled with very salty, warm water allows anyone to float freely and effortlessly. There is no outside stimulation and distraction while floating.
Though floating did not initially enjoy huge popularity in the States, it exploded in Europe, where much of the best float research has been done. Today there are more than 500 float centers across more than a dozen countries overseas and more than 150 places to float in North America, with more opening each month.
Floating Regularly for Maximum Benefits
The relief and benefits one enjoys are cumulative and deepen beyond the first session. While it’s an “effortless” therapy, floating allows the body and mind to learn how to relax into the experience with each session.
This is why we recommend that our guests don’t make floating a one-time experience, and to receive sessions on a regular basis to maintain the most optimal benefits. Consider floating at least three times within a few months to really begin to grasp the process and learn how to let go. Once you get over the newness and understand how everything works, you will be able to go deeper than the time before. We recommend floating regularly at least once a month. If you are having sleep issues or have high anxiety, floating weekly or biweekly may make more sense for you.