Some people are startled by the idea of floatation therapy. It originated back in 1954 in a lab that was doing research on sensory deprivation. The whole concept of sensory deprivation is to deprive the body of every single little distraction, including our sense of touch, so that the mind can be completely alone with its thoughts. Seems pretty simple right? Since the 1970’s, it began to grow into a popular avenue of alternative therapy, and a safe place to find solace within a busy life style. Plus, it has also proved to have an abundance of health benefits. But what is it about this form of therapy that can be so alarming for some folks?
Floatation therapy starts with a tank of water. It’s only a foot deep and is controlled to be the exact temperature of your skin, so the water feels warm but does not heat the body. Also, one tank of water (200 gallons) contains 1,200 lbs. of Epsom salt. While the salt manages to keep you afloat, it also has some fantastic benefits for the skin and body. Of course, it exfoliates your skin, but it also has anti-inflammatory properties, and speeds up the healing of injuries. How can you say no to that?! You lay in the tank for 60 minutes. The water makes you feel weightless, as if you were drifting through space with no gravity. While you have the option to have soft light and meditation music in the tank, the true magic happens with no light or sound, a complete deprivation of the senses. This is usually what some people find to be a bit scary, since our world is built to consume us in distractions and stressors. But, this time in the tank can be absolutely essential to both our physical and mental health, and it allows us to be more intentional about our time, and attention.
So what are the real benefits of flotation therapy? Well, physically, it operates as many other therapy practices do, by allowing the muscles to completely relax. But, it also increases blood flow, which causes the brain to release endorphins, thus improving your overall mood and attitude. As for the mental benefits, it’s hard to know where to begin! One fun fact is that 60 minutes in the tank is equivalent to about 4-8 hours of deep sleep, powering up the body and mind in just one short hour. Also, by depriving the body of all stimulation, the mind is able to slow down, and enter a new meditative ground where it can become completely aware of its own consciousness. This is something that our busy lives do not allow us the time to do, especially in the technological world that we currently live in. However, it is imperative for the mind to be alone with its thoughts in order to do the emotional repair that it requires and deserves. The mind is then able to form a new connection with itself, in turn, allowing you to have more control over your daily mood and decision-making. This leads to reduced stress and anxiety, improved attention to tasks, and overall, a more balanced life.
Brooks, K. (2013) The History of Flotation Therapy, 1954 to Today. Retrieved from http://northwestfloatcenter.com/the-history-of-flotation-therapy-from-1954-to-today/
CBS This Morning (2018) How Sensory Deprivation and Floating Impacts the Brain. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCjmRCywkZg&t=316s