Health Benefits of Floating

There has been scientific research for many years that has proven the benefits of floatation therapy in the support of pain management, mental relaxation, meditative enlightenment, addiction cessations and many other human debilitating conditions. Researchers and float tank users report many different beneficial effects from floatation, from general well-being through to mental and physical benefits.

The density of the water provides the floater with the ability to float with complete buoyancy. Over 1,100 pounds of Epsom salts are added to 12 inches of water, which makes it impossible for the patient to sink. The water inside the float tank is maintained at a constant temperature which is very close to the temperature of human skin. This assures that the floater is protected from the unpleasant sensation of overly hot and cold temperature.

Floating For Stress & Pain Management

Floatation therapy can be a very effective tool for stress management, as outside stimuli are almost eliminated and central nervous activity slows considerably. With nothing to react to, the floater’s levels of the stress hormones epinephrine and adrenaline are decreased, while the levels of endorphins increase. These “feel good” substances are produced in the body by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus, and work as natural pain relievers. Our past floaters can testify that floating is wonderful!

With the promotion of relaxation also comes the promotion of the parasympathetic response (Paradise, 2009). The parasympathetic response allows the body to naturally balance itself out chemically and metabolically, allowing healing to take place.

A recent study measuring the effects of floatation R.E.S.T. on chronic pain yielded some promising results. 37 patients suffering from chronic pain participated in the study, with 17 patients in the control group and 20 in the experimental group. The results of the study showed that those who had been suffering the most severe pain saw their pain levels drop appreciably after nine sessions in the float tank over a period of three weeks. The study also saw the patients’ levels of optimism rise and levels of depression and anxiety decrease (Kjellgren A., 2001).

Also, flotation therapy is important in terms of being a small component in a larger, more comprehensive pain management program (Fine, Barrie). Relief from pain is noticed immediately during and immediately following floating and this can allow for a more positive outlook from the patient about the success of a more comprehensive pain-management program. Studies show that flotation therapy, along with other techniques, such as counseling and relaxation activities, worked more effectively than just one of these therapies alone (Fine, Borrie).

Floating for fibromyalgia is a unique treatment for people suffering from fibromyalgia. The International Flotation Research Group, an informal group of scientists and entrepreneurs interested in Flotation REST, has been studying the effects of floatation in relationship to fibromyalgia and chronic pain relief. FFP is a voluntary, international effort. The first study completed by the FFP was presented at the Float Summit 2012 in Gothenburg Sweden. The results provided compelling evidence that floatation REST can greatly improve the lives of people with fibromyalgia by significantly decreasing their pain, muscle tension, anxiety and stress. It also significantly increased freedom of movement, energy, mood and quality of sleep. Most of these improvements showed longer-term relief as the participants floated repeatedly.

Floating for Increased Motivation/Elimination of Addictive Behaviors

The use of flotation therapy for the elimination of addictive behaviors has been well-documented. It seems to be particularly effective when used as a complement to other therapies, including hypnotherapy (David).

Studies with follow-ups from 18 months to 5 years show an average abstinence from smoking rate of about 50 % when flotation therapy is combined with other treatments (David). This is a much higher average than other single-treatment modalities. For example, the nicotine patch alone has been found to be only 5 % effective, while the use of antidepressants have been 40 to 50 % effective, but without long-term follow-up studies (David).

The way floatation therapy seems to help with regard to addictive behaviors and motivation again centers around its role in facilitating the release of endorphins. These natural pain relieving substances seem to help with the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms associated with addiction. In this way, flotation therapy offers the important benefit of helping eliminate cravings, thus decreasing the chance of a relapse episode (David).

The relaxing nature of the therapy also influences the floater to have a more positive outlook on the rest of the treatment program and to be more open to suggestions made by the practitioner.

Effects of Flotation Therapy on the Mind

When a person lies in a flotation tank, the brain gradually begins to relax, and brain waves shift from higher frequency Beta, to Alpha, and eventually Theta.
As the brain waves shift into the Theta stage, endorphins are released which help to alleviate pain and fatigue and provide the floater with an overall sense of wellbeing (Paradise, 2009).

Usually, the Theta stage is reached only before falling asleep for a brief period, but flotation therapy allows the person to enter the theta stage for a longer period, usually for a few minutes during the last half-hour portion of an hour long float session. During the Theta stage, the person experiences clear mental imagery. The Theta stage allows access to the right brain, which is associated with increased alertness, creativity, mental clarity, problem solving ability, and learning.

General Health Improvements

Promotes total calm and peaceful relaxation
Eliminates fatigue and jet lag
Improves sleep
Alleviates stress (mental and physical)
Energises, rejuvenates and revitalises
Increases motivation, diminishes depression, anxiety and fear
Facilitates freedom from habits, phobias and addictions

Mental Benefits of Floatation

Stimulates left/right brain synchronisation
Shifts brain waves from beta to lower frequency alpha, theta and even delta
Creates mental clarity, alertness
Increases creativity, problem solving
Heightens visualisation
Deepens meditation
Expands awareness, intensifies acuteness of all the senses, accelerates learning
Enhances hypnotherapy and self-hypnosis

Physical Improvements of Floatation

Decreases the production of cortisol, ACTH, lactic acid and adrenaline
Increases production of endorphins
Speeds up rehabilitation and recovery
Relieves pain (arthritis, migraines, injuries and so on)
Boosts immune function
Improves circulation and distribution of oxygen and nutrients
Reduces blood pressure, pulse, heart rate and oxygen consumption
Improves athletic performance
Helps prevent sports injuries, speeds healing processes

Sports Enhancements With Floating

While in the tank, every single muscle is allowed to rest and recover. You may think that lying on your bed or sofa would have a similar effect, gravity is still applying vast amounts of stress on various parts of the body.

The rate of recovery after physical exercise is improved beyond recognition. What normally takes a long period of time – usually days for recovery from a marathon – the tank compresses into a number of hours. By relieving the stresses of gravity, floating takes the weight off strained bones, joints and muscles, and increases the efficiency of the blood circulating through the body. Recovery time after injury can also be much improved.

While in the tank, every single muscle is allowed to rest and recover. While you may think that lying on your bed or sofa would have a similar effect, gravity is still applying vast amounts of stress on various parts of the body.

The rate of recovery after physical exercise is improved beyond recognition. What normally takes a long period of time – usually days for recovery from a marathon – the tank compresses into a number of hours. By relieving the stresses of gravity, floating takes the weight off strained bones, joints and muscles, and increases the efficiency of the blood circulating through the body. Recovery time after injury can also be much improved.

Athletes who use the tank in conjunction with visualization techniques have experienced rapid improvement in their sporting performances. As the brain enters the theta state, it becomes more open to suggestion. The central nervous system can essentially be trained to produce the ‘perfect performance’. The technique has been used for many years in countries such as Australia and America. Well-known athletes such as Carl Lewis have attributed part of their success to visualization within the float tank. Experts from sporting and medical institutions have carried out lots of research in controlled experiments. The quantifiable results have even led some to claim that an hour in the float tank using visualization and imagery is better than 10 hours of repetitive field practice.

Many people who experience pain or inflammation of any part of their body would turn to pharmaceutical remedies to alleviate these symptoms. Floatation therapy can also be a great benefit to relieving pain, using your own body to heal itself.

As soon as we submerge our bodies in warm water, we start to release endorphins. This relaxes both our bodies and our minds. In being relaxed, we no longer tense, strain or avoid areas where we experience pain, allowing these parts of our bodies to heal.

Because of all these benefits, athletes around the world have started to use floatation therapy. Athletes push their bodies to the very limits of human capabilities and this leads to significant and serious injuries. They are often in better physical condition than non-athletes, leaving them less susceptible to common infections, but when they do have an injury, it is often far more severe. However, you may have noticed that athletes also have very short recovery periods. Someone with a torn ligament, sprained ankle or even broken bone can be seen back on the field in a time so short that it leaves ordinary people baffled. Although this is also due to their fantastic physical condition and the fact that they have access to the best medical care in the world, it is also because they use floatation therapy.

Spiritual & Meditative Enhancements of Floating

Yogis, shamans, mystics and spiritual advisers the world over have extolled the benefits of going to remote places for meditation and contemplation where they become in tune with their ‘real’ selves.

The floatation tank provides a convenient modern method of isolating oneself from the outside world to transform consciousness into a higher level of awareness, without there being a need to stay holed up in a Himalayan cave for weeks.

Floatation can also be utilized to enhance spiritual practices. In a way you are connecting with the collective unconscious—the source of all knowledge. Floatation helps the brain attain a state of theta or gamma waves which are necessary for deep meditative states and providing insight and realization not found in other brain wave states.

During a float, you produce slower brain-waves patterns, known as theta waves, (normally experienced only during deep meditation or just before falling asleep and when waking up). This is usually accompanied by vivid imagery, very clear, creative thoughts, sudden insights and inspirations or feelings of profound peace and joy, induced by the release of endorphins, the body’s natural opiates.

Because of these effects, floating is used effectively in the treatment of depression and addictions, including smoking and alcohol. It is also used in schools and universities as tools for Super Learning.

Metaphysical Experiences with Floating

Floatation allows the traveler an opportunity to delve into other experiences usually not attainable by conventional means. The lack of senses frees the mind and body and aids in the release of the conscious mind to go someplace else.

Lucid dreaming is enhanced, OBE’s (out of body experiences) are possible and overall external existance experiences are all possible. As John C. Lilly expressed, “In the province of the mind, there are no limits.”

Lucid dreaming is the conscious perception of one’s state while dreaming, resulting in a much clearer experience and sometimes enabling direct control over the content of the dream. In other words dreaming while knowing that you are dreaming, you are in the driver’s seat.

OBE’s or “Out of body” experiences are personal experiences during which people feel as if they are perceiving the physical world from a location outside of their physical bodies. At least 5 and perhaps as many as 35 of every 100 people have had an OBE at least once in their lives (Blackmore, 1982). OBEs are highly arousing; they can be either deeply disturbing or profoundly moving. Understanding the nature of this widespread and potent experience would no doubt help us better understand the experience of being alive and human.

History of Floating & Float Visionaries

John C. Lilly – Inventor, Float Tank Scientific Researcher

John C. Lilly was a physician, biophysicist, neuroscientist, and inventor who specialized in the study of consciousness. He grew up in Minnesota and then attended CalTech, where he graduated in 1938. He studied at Dartmouth medical school and earned his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1942. He then studied biophysics and psychoanalysis and taught at the University of Pennsylvania from 1942 to 1956.

In the mid 1950s he worked on Cortical Integration as part of the National Institute of Mental Health. In 1954 he invented the isolation tank and experimented with sensory deprivation. In 1959, Lilly founded the Communications Research Institute at St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands and served as its director until 1968. There he worked with dolphins exploring dolphin intelligence and human-dolphin communication. It was during this period that he was introduced to LSD and other psychoactives. He began using LSD and ketamine in combination with the tanks as a method of consciousness and metaprogramming exploration.

In Dr Lilly’s first tank, the floater was suspended upright and completely submerged, with their head covered by an underwater breathing apparatus and mask. Over the years, Dr Lilly continued his floatation experiments, simplifying and improving the tank’s general design. He found that he could float in a more relaxing lying-down position if he used salt water (which is more buoyant). In time, he added other improvements such as water heaters with thermostats to keep the water at a perfect temperature, an air pump to keep the air in the tank fresh and a water filter for re-using the Epsom salts. By the early 1970s, Dr Lilly had perfected his floatation tank. The design was largely the same as that of modern-day float tanks.

Two movies have been inspired by Lilly’s life: Day of the Dolphin (1973), in which the military attempts to use dolphins as a weapon, and Altered States (1980), in which scientists explore reality through the combination of isolation tanks and psychoactive chemicals.

John Lilly lived in Hawaii for the last years of his life and was known for his eccentricity and heavy ketamine use and addiction. He died in 2001 at the age of 86.

Joe Rogan – Actor, Floating Enthusiast, Martial Artist

Joe Rogan is an American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, color commentator, entrepreneur, and trained martial artist. He is best known for playing Joe Garrelli on the NBC sitcom NewsRadio, commentating for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, as well as hosting the NBC reality show Fear Factor and The Joe Rogan Experience podcast. The following is a transcript from one of Joe’s videos describing floating and its wonderful effects.

“The sensory deprivation chamber has been the most important tool that I’ve ever used for developing my mind, for thinking, for evolving.

The tank is filled with water. The water is heated to the same temperature as your body. And there’s 800 pounds of salt in the water, so you just float there and relax. And because the water is the temperature of your body, you don’t really feel it after awhile.

It’s like layers of an onion. When you first start doing the isolation tank, you can only get a couple of the layers of the onion in, a couple skins loose. You can’t really go to the core. It’s too hard. It’s too large to completely let go who you are. But as you get better at it, and as you get more and more comfortable with the experience, you get better at actually letting go—really letting go, letting go from letting go, letting go from the feeling of letting go, letting go from THAT point. “Okay I’ve let go now. No, you haven’t let go more.” And then you become “gone.” You disappear, and while you’re disappearing, this is what happens. You start thinking, “I can’t believe I’m disappearing,” and then you’re back again. You got to start from square one.

You got to let go and you got to let go and you got to let go and get to the point where you literally completely relax, and your body, it gives you amazing energy. Your body, the tension release that you have in your body from a couple hours in the tank is incredible. You feel lighter. You feel like more oxygen is in your body. You feel like more vibrant. And it’s just because you have somehow or another, you know, calmed the tension. It’s incredible, man.

The first 20 minutes or so, for me at least, it’s like sort of a seminar on my life. It shows me all the different issues in my life that I don’t like and that I need to fix, and things that are bothering me, and things about my own behavior that could have been better, and things where I’ve disappointed myself. And then it’ll show me some things where I am on the right track: this is good, continue here, continue doing this, continue thinking like this, continue exploring these ideas. But then, once it gets me done, it’s like, let’s clear out all this bull in your life then let’s think about the big picture. And then it goes from that, to like the sort of relaxing position where my whole body is just settled into the experience. And then it’s like, it’s just pure thought. It’s like the mind completely un-tethered from the body. And then I start contemplating everything. I start contemplating the universe, contemplating the role of human beings in each individual’s actions, all accumulated together into one specific event. I start thinking all kinds of crazy, crazy stuff, but without the body in the way.

You know even us having this cool conversation here—we’re sitting here on a couch, we’re looking at each other, we’re looking at computers and there are sounds and noises and there is a lot of distractions. You know, just your body is a distraction. And you’ve got some crazy environment that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world, and it’s fairly inexpensive to achieve. If the tank was something where it was a machine and you would have to like strap yourself in and it would take you through a course where you would learn how to get to the center of consciousness where your body and your mind didn’t exist, it would be like a ride in Disney Land and the line would be seven hours long. But because it’s this weird sort of organic method of doing it, it seems strange, like you are going to get in this big coffin filled with water and you close the lid.

And people start coming up with reasons why they don’t want to do it. It’s so important. Everybody should do the tank. You will learn more about yourself than any other way. And if you have an aversion to drugs—which totally makes sense if you think that drugs are dangerous, that you can get addicted to things, that’s true, you can—if you don’t trust yourself, if you don’t like the idea, you can have very introspective psychedelic experiences naturally in the tank. Everybody should be doing it. It’s an amazing way to think.

When I have a concept or something that I am working on, two things I will do. One, I’ll sit down, I’ll flesh it out or write what I think about things just off the top of my head. And then, once I’ve done that, once I’ve really kind of explored, then I get in the tank and I rethink the whole thing. And then when I rethink the whole thing, sometimes in the tank I consider other places, or other points of view. I consider other ways of looking at it where I may not have been sensitive to another person’s opinion coming from another position. And I look at the whole thing almost outside of myself.

There is so much thinking that goes on in that tank. There is so much evolution that goes on in there. It seems like it’s almost impossible to do outside of it, because there’s no distractions in there, nothing at all. It’s just a thought. It’s an amazing environment. It really should be taught in schools. All universities should have them. They should have them and they should make them available to all of their students. One of the greatest tools ever for exploring, thinking, exploring the way you think, and sort of making an audit of all your own personal thoughts and ideas—which ones you’re hanging onto because of your ego, which ones you’re hanging onto because they are beneficial to you, which ones you’re hanging onto because you hate your dad and you know he put these in your head. And so they’re stuck in there. And it’s so fascinating, man, and so few people do it.

Float Tanks & Epsom Salts

Floatation tanks or pods are also known as isolation tanks, salt water spas, sensory deprivation tanks, and R.E.S.T. (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy) chambers.

They come in various sizes and shapes with doors, lids and enclosures. Their objective is to provide a serene, quiet relaxing environment for the floater to experience a deep calm meditative state for stress relief, pain reduction and mental and spiritual enlightenment.

Float tanks and pods come in variety of sizes and shapes. Souler Float utilizes the I-Sopod float pods manufactured by the largest float center in the world in London, England.

Float tanks are usually built from fiberglass and are designed to block out all external distractions, such as sights, sounds, tactile sensations and gravity. Floatation tanks consistently test cleaner than pools and spas. The extremely high concentration of Epsom salts inside the tank make it virtually impossible for any micro-organisms to survive. A commercial UV filtration system is also connected to the tank and ran before and after each session.

The Float Pods We Use…

Revolutionary design
Designed to take floatation into the 21st Century the I-Sopod is the result of many years meticulous planning and testing. It is constructed from the finest quality GRP double-skinned moldings and is hand finished and insulated throughout. Precision robotic cutting in the mold-making process and the use of the finest components and electronics guarantee consistency of quality and a robust product that will give many years of untroubled service.

Energy consumption​
The I-Sopod is of double skinned construction throughout with a large air cavity between the interior and exterior sections. The three main parts (door, top and base) are hermetically sealed units which maximize sound and thermal insulation and reduce operation costs.

Enchanted Lighting
When the interior light switch is pressed once the underwater LED lighting slowly fades in, producing the most inviting electric blue tones. If the button is pressed on and off in quick succession the tank’s computerized light show is initiated, slowly scrolling through a myriad of vibrant colors.

Integrated audio
Stereo sound is supplied via a built-in MP3 player using the latest transducer technology which excites the skin of the tank to ensure optimum fidelity.

The type of salt that we use in our floatation pods to give buoyancy to the water is called Epsom salt. The salt granuals are a composed of magnesium and sulphate.

There are various grades and purities of Epsom salts used. Souler Float utilizes only pharmaceutical grade for floatation.

The benefits of Epsom salt aren’t just folklore. In fact, numerous studies have demonstrated the profound and wide-ranging benefits of magnesium and sulphate, the two major components of Epsom salt. Doctors, celebrities, personal trainers, gardening experts and supermodels have all extolled its virtues.

Epsom salt is made up of magnesium and sulphate, which can help improve health in numerous ways. A lack of magnesium—which helps regulate the activity of more than 300 enzymes in the body—can contribute to high blood pressure, hyperactivity, heart problems and other health issues, doctors warn. Sulphate is essential for many biological processes. It helps to flush toxins and form proteins in joints, brain tissue and mucin proteins.

Our magnesium levels have dropped by fifty percent in the last century due to changes in agriculture and diet. Industrial farming has depleted magnesium from soil and the typical diet contains much less magnesium than that of our forefathers. And in fact, our modern diet includes many processed foods contain large amounts of fat, sugar, salt and protein that actually work to speed up the depletion of magnesium from our bodies.

Another factor in decreased magnesium levels has been our focus on getting enough calcium. It’s a delicate dance–calcium depletes magnesium yet calcium functions best when enough magnesium is present. Studies indicate that taking a calcium supplement without enough magnesium can increase the shortage of both nutrients. Researchers have found that many of us have five times as much calcium as magnesium in their bodies, although the proper ratio for optimum absorption of both minerals is two to one.

With such widespread magnesium deficiency one might think that magnesium supplements would be called upon, but studies show that magnesium is not easily absorbed through the digestive tract. The presence of specific foods or drugs, certain medical conditions, and the chemistry of a person’s stomach acid can render magnesium supplements ineffective.

This brings us to Epsom salt which is naturally rich in both magnesium and sulfate. While both magnesium and sulfate can be poorly absorbed through the stomach, studies show increased magnesium levels from soaking in a bath enriched with Epsom salt! Magnesium and sulfate are both easily absorbed through the skin. Sulfates play an important role in the formation of brain tissue, joint proteins and the proteins that line the walls of the digestive tract. They stimulate the pancreas to generate digestive enzymes and are thought to help detoxify the body of medicines and environmental contaminants.

• Improved heart and circulatory health, reducing irregular heartbeats, preventing hardening of the arteries, reducing blood clots and lowering blood pressure.

• Improved ability for the body to use insulin, reducing the incidence or severity of diabetes.

• Flushed toxins and heavy metals from the cells, easing muscle pain and helping the body to eliminate harmful substances.

• Improved nerve function by electrolyte regulation. Also, calcium is the main conductor for electrical current in the body, and magnesium is necessary to maintain proper calcium levels in the blood.

• Relieved stress. Excess adrenaline and stress are believed to drain magnesium, a natural stress reliever, from the body. Magnesium is necessary for the body to bind adequate amounts of serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical within the brain that creates a feeling of well being and relaxation.

• Reduced inflammation to relieve pain and muscle cramps.

• Improved oxygen use.

• Improved absorption of nutrients.

• Improved formation of joint proteins, brain tissue and mucin proteins.

• Prevention or easing of migraine headaches.

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