What is Floating?
Floating is a therapeutic treatment that isolates the user from environmental stimulus, greatly reducing stress, and easing the body into a state of equilibrium. Floating is also known as flotation therapy, floating therapy, float therapy, restricted environmental stimulation therapy (or REST), and Epsom salt hydrotherapy. The flotation tank is referred to as an isolation tank, sensory deprivation chamber, float tank, floating tank, and rest tank.
The flotation tank itself is a sensory deprivation pod with 10 inch deep water warmed to 93.5 degrees and enriched with 800 pounds of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate). The tank has an advanced filtration/purification system that operates according to regulations from the State of Nevada.
The space inside is approximately 8 feet long by 4 feet wide. Although some may be wary of feeling claustrophobic the first time they float, the tank door opens freely and you are in complete control. You can come and go as you wish. You can also float with the door open. For those who would like audio stimulation, relaxing music is available.
The experience of floating is unique. Inside the tank you’ll float effortlessly on the surface of 93.5 degree water. Floaters feel a sense of weightlessness. That weightlessness, the temperature of the water, and the dark, quiet space of the tank allow the brain to ease into a theta* brain wave state. This usually happens in the second half hour of a one hour float session. First time floaters should not expect instant results. Generally it takes more than one float to completely “let go” and fully experience flotation.
*In the theta state, also known as the twilight state, brain activity slows almost to the point of (but not quite) sleep. Once in theta, the brain has access to memories, the unconscious, dreamlike imagery, and creative inspiration. The theta state is also considered the gateway to learning and memory.
What are the effects and benefits of floating?
Flotation has both physical and psychological benefits. The flotation environment reduces mental and physical stress and prevents stress-related disease.
The flotation tank minimizes the effects of light, sound, and gravity. Reduced sensory input allows the mind to wander inward to a peaceful undisturbed state. The experience is similar to advanced meditation. Floating promotes left brain/right brain integration and balance.
Floating causes a release of endorphins. Endorphins limit feelings of stress and frustration and are the body’s natural painkillers. Endorphins greatly reduce pain and replace stress with a sense of well-being. Stressful situations in everyday life can cause a “flight or fight” response elevating cortisol levels (the body’s “stress hormone”) which contributes to weight gain. The relaxing experience of floating reduces levels of cortisol. It also cleanses the body of lactic acid and other body wastes. The deep state of relaxation experienced when floating reduces the buildup of stress related chemicals and enhances the body’s natural state of balance.
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