(This is a video of Joe Rogan explaining the life changing benefits of floating)
If you haven’t heard of floatation therapy yet or maybe you have but you’ve yet to try it, let me give you a brief description of what it is. Floatation therapy is where you enter into what is known as an isolation tank or pod which is filled with around 800 to 1000 pounds of Epsom salt that is dissolved in about 10 inches of water. The water is heated to the same temperature range as your body (around 35.5 degrees Celsius). This set up allows you to experience a near zero gravity feeling. Since the water is the same temperature as your body, if you are able to relax enough, you can escape the feeling that it’s there. Then eventually it can become just you and your mind.
Now, I have had the unique privilege of working at a float center in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada called Floatique Rest Center. Not only have I been able to float as many times as I’ve wanted in a state of the art isolation pod, I have also been able to hear many people’s different experiences with floating. Because of this I have gathered a fairly decent understanding of the benefits floatation therapy and throughout this article I am going to try and touch on all of them. My goal by the end of this post is to peak your curiosity and to convince you to not only try floating, but to make it a major part of your wellness routine because from a holistic healing standpoint, nothing compares.
If there is one thing that floating does best it would have to be deep relaxation. Our bodies, whether it be driving in our cars or sitting on the couch watching television, are always in a state of alertness. These states cause varying levels of stress. Even if we think we’re relaxed the fact that our brain is constantly having to process what we’re seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, and tasting is causing a low level of stress on our mind and body. However with the help of the pod or tank, you are given a unique and safe environment to minimize all of these stimuli.
By turning off all of your external stimuli you give your mind and body, really for the first time ever, a chance to breathe a deep sigh of relief. Your mind and body are able to fully let go and give into relaxation. This letting go seems to give your entire sensory system a reset. When you come out of a relaxing float session it almost feels like you’ve just had a full body massage and all of your senses seem to become heightened. Most notably is your sight which appears to temporarily become high definition.
Whole Body Pain Relief
Another major benefit of floating is the whole body pain relief. Nobody is quite sure yet why floating is so effective at treating most pain issues, even rare forms of chronic pain. From my experience and from the experience of the people I’ve talked to, floating seems to be an excellent prescription. Some of the issues floating helps with include:
- Headaches and migraines. These can sometimes be caused by an overstimulation of the mind. With floating you are able to relax the mind which by the end of the session will usually alleviate your headache symptoms.
- Sports injury relief. Because of the near zero gravity environment, people with sports injuries are able to experience ranges of motion that would usually cause pain while under normal gravity.
- Sore back and stiffness. Whether it’s from sitting for too long or exercising, we all get sore from time to time. Floating is an great way to allow your muscles to fully relax which slowly melts away these incessant aches.
- Chronic pain relief. The alleviation of chronic pain even if it’s temporary, is one of the more fascinating benefits of floating. I’ve had people tell me that floating has been one of the more effective means of relieving their arthritis and fibromyalgia symptoms. Floating, in fact, is so effective at alleviating fibromyalgia symptoms that there is currently a studying going on call the Fibromyalgia Floatation Project. This project studies the effects of floating on fibromyalgia. The results they are seeing is that with consistent floating, peoples chronic pain symptoms are being greatly reduced.
Reduces Tiredness, Improves Sleep, and Alleviates Jet Lag
If you’re someone who is feeling run down then a 90 minute float session would be ideal. It’s been said that a 90 minute session is equivalent to a 4 to 5 hour sleep. Floating is also excellent for helping people sleep better. Especially those who would otherwise have a difficult time falling asleep at night. Once you come out of a session you are completely relaxed. This is the perfect state for falling asleep as soon as you get home.
Having a safe and comfortable place to de-stress is crucial for maintaining a health body and mind. However, finding a place to do this free from people, phone alerts, and distractions is nearly impossible if you live in today’s modern society. Getting into a pod or tank is, in my opinion, the #1 place to easily and fully let go of all the things that are competing for your attention, including the distraction of your body. If you’re someone who has a high stress job or life then floating could be essential for your well being.
The main goal of meditation is to use your mental focus to shut off the world around you so you can go deeper into yourself. However with floating, the pod or tank is shutting the world off for you. This allows you to enter into deep meditative states even if you’re someone who doesn’t meditate regularly. The benefit of being able to enter deep meditative states is that when you get into these states your brain starts producing Theta waves.
Studies have shown that Zen monks who have practiced meditation for decades are able to consciously enter the elusive Theta brain wave state. People who have entered these states have reported experiencing a new kind of body consciousness very much related to their total well-being, physical healing and physical regeneration, improved relationships with others as well as a greater tolerance, and new and valid ideas or synthesis of ideas. Recent studies have also shown that floating in an isolation pod can increase the average persons ability to produce these Theta brain waves states while floating.
Overcoming addictions such as food, smoking, drug, and alcohol appears to be significantly easier to accomplish with the help of floating. In fact in John Lennon’s biography there is a story in which John builds himself a makeshift sensory deprivation tank and used it to beat his heroin addiction. The reason floating is so effective at overcoming addiction is because it allows for deep introspection and relaxation. Stress is a major cause for addiction and relapse which makes floating an excellent prescription. Also, floating can also give you a natural high which can help wean you off the high of whatever you’re addicted to.
In this video Dr. Peter Suedfeld discusses the research that he has done with addicts and floatation therapy and the results have been rather impressive.
Mental and Spiritual Exploration
John C. Lilly, who was one the inventors of the isolation tank and floatation therapy, used floating as his primary source of mental and spiritual exploration. Like Christopher Columbus, Lilly used the isolation tank as his ship to explore uncharted dimensions, worlds, and states of consciousness. He believed that the tank, if you knew how to use it properly, was in fact a hole or gateway into the universe. He thought that when the mind is free from external stimuli, including the sensation of the body and mind, your consciousness would then be able to enter higher and higher states of consciousness and you would be able to explore anywhere in the universe. He was even the first person to experiment with inter species communication by trying to communicate with orcas and dolphins with the help of the tank.
Whether you believe Lilly or not, the tank is without a doubt a unique place to explore your thoughts and beliefs untethered from the body. This can provide profound insights into your own nature.
Spontaneous Behaviour Change
When you’re in the pod or tank you seem to be able to reprogram your behaviours and change them rather quickly. Floating gives you a lot of time to think and I have noticed when you begin to think about all the bad habits and irrational behaviours you have, you start to really question why you do these things. Floating allows these realizations to stick in your subconscious far better and almost instantly you start drop your bad habits. Whether it’s eating less junk food or keeping your house cleaner, if you make these connections while floating you could experience spontaneous behaviour change.
It’s been shown that floatation therapy is also an effective treatment for people suffering with PTSD.
By now you’re probably thinking that this sounds too good to be true. How could floating in the dark in what is essentially a bath tub filled with salt help heal such a broad spectrum of mental and physical aliments? Well the honest answer is that nobody really knows… yet. Floating has only recently gained in popularity and there hasn’t really been a lot of scientific studies into why floating is able to do what it does. Albeit there are scientists right now working on trying to demystify floating, since there is such a wide variety of benefits it might be a while before we see some hard evidence.
Whether it’s the zero gravity environment, the sensory deprivation, or your somehow tapping into your bodies natural ability to heal itself, the benefits of floating are very real and can be felt so take advantage. You’ll be extremely thankful that you did.
To date, I have personally logged over 100 hours in an isolation pod and because of this I have learned some best practices for having a perfect float. To ensure that you have the best experience possible for your next float I want to give you my free download of 10 Tips for Having a Perfect Float. All you have to do to is click the button below and subscribe to the newsletter!
Other Resources About Floating
Duncan Trussell Family Hour Podcast with Shane Stott founder of Zen Float Company
Vice Documentary: Tanks for the Memories
Find a Local Float Center @ www.FloatationLocations.com