The American neuro-physiologist Professor Dr. John C. Lilly developed the first floatation tank in 1950.
While working at the National Institute of Mental Health, Dr. Lilly and his colleague Dr. Shurley were inspired to study the human mind, specifically in relation to conscious brain activity. They wanted to know if the brain depended on external stimuli to remain conscious.
They began by figuring out the best method to deprive the body of stimulation. The answer appeared to be floating in water. This was when the first float tank came about. Dr. Lilly built a upright float tank that would allow a person to be fully submerged. The person floating received oxygen through a mask that covered their entire head.
Floatation Therapy still had a long way to come.
Years of testing led to many improvements. Dr. Lilly changed the design of his tank to allow people to float horizontally. He added a water heater to make floating more comfortable, and an air pump to keep the tank feeling fresh. He even added a water filtration unit so that the tank could be used without completely flushing all of the Epsom Salt out.
By the early 1970’s, Dr. Lilly’s floatation tank had begun to look a lot more like what we have today. He had more or less perfected the floating experience.
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