Deep Float Tank Relaxation
Float tanks go by many different names, including flotation tanks, sensory attenuation tanks, isolation tanks, float spas, and originally, sensory deprivation tanks. There is almost nothing more relaxing than spending time in a float tank. This form of physical and mental therapy is becoming wildly popular and for good reason. Users report a myriad of positive benefits, and scientific research backs many of these claims.
What is it?
Float tank users typically spend an hour or more in a zero gravity tank of water during this peaceful treatment. The user will lie down in complete darkness, suspended in a warm solution of salinized water. They call it a “sensory deprivation chamber” because that truly is what it is. In pure darkness and profound silence, the float spa treatment helps you to shut out all your senses, and really be alone and hone in on your thoughts.
Users start by going into the float tank room, undressing, and taking a quick shower in the provided facilities. You’ll then submerge yourself in the water and pull the door closed over you. You press a button and the experience begins. You’ll be quickly transferred to your own world, with no outside commotion and not a worry in the world.
The water is calibrated to your body temperature, so you won’t even be able to tell what part of your body is in the water and what isn’t. Your skin soaks in 1,000 pounds of Epsom Salts, which are rich in magnesium, and designed to hydrate you and relax the mind. It gives off a silky feeling and some users describe it as womb-like. The only sound you’ll hear (unless you choose to play the relaxing music that is optional) will be the sound of your heartbeat, and the inner voice in your head.
History of float therapy
Float therapy has existed for more than four decades. It was developed in the 1950s as a way to alter consciousness and explore the mind. It is safe and proven. There have been numerous firsthand accounts, and published research, that has touted the therapy’s benefits, including physical, spiritual, and intellectual improvements. It was first studied by the scientist John C. Lilly and has gained an especially strong scientific following in the last several years. In 2015 a laboratory was set up in Tulsa, Oklahoma to study sensory deprivation chambers, named the Laureate Institute for Brain Research.
The research has found that the treatment can be useful as a therapy for stress, anxiety, and conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder. In places like Sweden, where there are more tanks per person than anywhere else in the world, doctors and employers are able to refer patients to float tanks.
In recent years, Joe Rogan, the comedian, sports commentator, and host of popular podcasts, has been a huge proponent of float tanks, espousing the benefits to his many podcast listeners. Many attribute the booming popularity of float tanks in the U.S. to Rogan.
The “nothingness” of the experience is what is greatest about it. The outside world will cease to exist, as your senses are temporarily erased, allowing you to focus inwards. Users say the lack of gravity is truly surreal. It takes away the physical rigors on your body and lets it rejuvenate.
There aren’t any rules to using an isolation chamber, and first-timers will feel comfortable. The only general recommendations are to avoid caffeine 90 minutes before visiting the float tank and to avoid shaving or waxing right beforehand, as the Epsom salt could cause the affected areas to sting a bit. If you wear contacts, you will probably want to remove them before you float.
Everyone’s experience is different, yet they all share one common result: relaxation. The deep relaxation felt when visiting a float spa has been known to promote creativity. By removing outside sensations, your mind will go into an almost trance-like state, which provokes unique, intense thoughts that otherwise may not be as achievable. Some swear that there is no better way to get in touch with your imagination.
People visit isolation chambers to get away from the stress of the world and really experience some true peace and quiet. Users often describe their experience as floating on air, due to the buoyancy of the water. Aside from just relaxing, float therapy is used as a way to improve sleep, relieve pain from conditions like fibromyalgia, to heal faster, and simply unwind from the rigors of life. The serene experience is peaceful and quiet and essentially puts you in a state of meditation.
Is it right for you?
You have nothing to lose by trying a float tank. It is safe and easy, and the benefits could be amazing. If you’re looking for a new way to relieve stress, relax, stir up some creativity, and even relieve pain, visiting a float spa is definitely worth a try. Your body and mind will thank you.