What is Floating?
Floating has been around since the 1950's, and is also known as sensory deprivation. It involves floating in a pod or room that is designed for short term sensory deprivation. This is done with a large source of super-saturated magnesium water that makes you completely buoyant. The water itself is heated to the same temperature as your skin, making it difficult to tell where your body ends and the water begins. The experience is designed to be free from external stimuli, which is why the pods are light and sound proof. First used in 1954 to test the effects of sensory deprivation, this kind of environment has shown to help the body achieve a natural restorative state.
Floating uses Epsom salt to create a magnesium solution making the water extremely saturated. Nearly a thousand pounds of Epsom salt is dissolved into a couple hundred gallons of water, creating an almost zero gravity environment. This makes it essentially impossible not to float. Floating has been used for a variety of reasons: stress reduction, anxiety relief, sports recovery, pain relief, relaxation, headache reduction, increased circulation, improved sleep, intensified meditation, increased creativity, increased theta waves, normalized blood pressure, and more.
Benefits of Floating
Floating has been used by professional athletes in various sports worldwide to improve performance, increase energy, and reduce healing time. It improves circulation, accelerating healing so you can recover from workouts quicker. Floating also helps your body recuperate faster from fatigue. Most athletes report relief from pain and injuries after being in the pods for as little as minutes. Epsom salt used in the tank helps reduce inflammation in muscles, and detoxifies the system. Additionally, floating lowers your blood pressure and cortisol levels in the body. And, physical benefits aren't the only thing that users get from floating. Most athletes report improved performance through the mental rehearsal of overcoming obstacles they can achieve through sensory deprivation. Flotation also helps users fall asleep more easily, and achieve a higher quality of sleep. The increased blood flow, relaxed muscles, reduced pain, strong focus, and better sleep all add up to a more energized athlete.
Check out the links to hear what Doug Chapman (former NFL running back), and Steph Curry (NBA point guard) have to say about floating.
Floating is known to boost your ability to think, learn, and solve problems. Since external sources of distraction are removed, floating provides an extreme form of rest. Floating slows down your brain wave patterns until your mind slips into the theta state. The theta state is the state that is achieved moments before falling asleep and waking up, or during deep meditation. This appears to amplify the positive effects of letting our default-mode cognitive networks take over. The theta state is characterized by insights, inspiration, free association, vivid imagery, and clear, creative thoughts. The enhancement of meditation one gets from floating has also shown to improve our ability to pay attention. And because floating creates a better quality of sleep, it improves memory, as sleep is critically important to developing memories.
Floating can have an important role in managing users' pain. The combination of magnesium and warm water help to loosen muscles, help with soreness, and relieve tension. Floating effortlessly with zero pressure on muscles and joints, supplemented by the stress reduction and enhanced sleep, can work wonders for relieving pain. Due to the high concentration of Epsom salt, the magnesium in float tanks provides an enormous benefit in treating migraines, chronic pain, and injuries. By reducing both muscle tension and pain in a relatively short time, and without any effort on the part of the user, flotation provides great benefits of relaxation.
Part of why flotation works is because the brain doesn't have to worry about processing external stimuli. When floating, the distractions from our busy world are literally removed from the environment. And our bodies and minds benefit from being immersed in total darkness and silence for a short period of time. Researchers have discovered that floating actually lowers blood pressure and levels of cortisol (commonly known as "the stress hormone"). So floating doesn't just feel relaxing, but it helps regulate the hormones that lead to the experience of stress.
In fact, people who float regularly report a deeper understanding and ability to transform stressful patterns, habits, and beliefs into new strategies for success and happiness.