The What, How and Why of Floating
Floatation Therapy is literally floating in a spacious tank of warm water.
There is over half a ton of Epsom Salt in each pod, which means the buoyancy is so high you float with absolutely no effort at all.
You are able to let go of all tension in your body as you are held completely by the water. You can even sleep, no sinking!
The water and air in the pod are set at body temperature, which means you can barely feel it.
In the truest sense of Floatation Therapy, the light would be off and lid down. This creates a space where external stimulation is reduced to the lowest possible level, often referred to a Sensory Deprivation or Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy (R.E.S.T).
However, you are in complete control of the light and the lid and can leave it partially open if this makes you feel more comfortable.
The process of Floating has a whole host of associated physical, mental and spiritual benefits. You can read more about these in the relevant sections below.
We have been careful to keep information accurate and relevant. Of course we do know a lot about floating, but we are not medical professionals. So, when deciding whether floating is right for you, our advice would be use your instincts – does it feel right? If you’ve got something going on with your health which makes you unsure, always check in with your health care provider.
R.E.S.T stands for Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy. One strand of R.E.S.T (said to be the most effective) is Floataion, and that is exactly what’s going on here!
Floatation therapy evolved from the research work of John Lilly, who was initially interested in the effect of sensory deprivation on the human brain and mind. What he found in the end was a deep, profound and unrivalled state of relaxation.
It has been found that by looking inwards, detaching from our usual over-connected and over-loaded state of being, there is a place of calm and self-acceptance. A whole world of consciousness to be explored.
Floatation R.E.S.T works by reducing external stimuli to an absolute minimum. It is quiet, body temperature and usually dark in a tank where you are alone and can ‘do’ nothing. The buoyancy of the salt water creates the feeling of a zero-gravity environment.
It takes a lot of energy to counteract gravity, regulate temperature, process visual and auditory input, and generally be awake. The level of sensory reduction when you float enables the brain and body to enter deeply restorative states of being. This facilitates your body to heal naturally and function optimally – physically and mentally.
Our minds can be busy stressful places. They can also be a wonderful tool.
Floating helps to focus your mind inwards where you can find a place of calm relaxation with nothing external to process. It supports clear thinking, enhanced creativity and can lead to insightful experiences. Take the time to quiet your mind, reflect and meditate.
On a physical level, Floating can increase the generation of theta waves. These are like the ‘twilight’ waves, between being awake and asleep. It is this time, when your brain is functioning at this slow, steady frequency that you’re most likely to experience visualisations, ‘light bulb’ moments and creative ideas. This is a state of being which people who meditate spend decades cultivating!
Floating also stimulates our Parasympathetic Nervous System (PSNS). This pathway is concerned with detoxifying, nourishing, repairing and relaxing us. Not only does this reduce stress responses, it also can cultivate a higher tolerance for stress, which last for days.
The PSNS is opposite to the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS). The SNS is associated with protection, and commonly the ‘fight or flight’ response. On the other hand, the activation of the PSNS can lower many of the hormones and bodily chemicals related to stress and stress-related illness, depression and anxiety.
There is also evidence that floating supports the increase of the feel good hormones – dopamine and endorphins – usually associated with exercise.
The intention of your float and how ‘active’ you are during that time is up to you. You can relax to a whole new level with no effort what so ever from you. All you need to do is show up and lay in the tank! You could also use the safe introspective space to really listen to your thoughts, process experiences and emotions or problem solve.
Last but not least, nearly every single person who has floated with us has had an amazing nights sleep afterwards! This has been linked to the increase of certain hormones, decrease of others and the cultivation of deep relaxation (possibly the absorption of magnesium too). How ever it works, we all love it!
First things first – the wonders of Epsom salt!
Epsom salt is actually Magnesium Sulfate. Though there isn’t loads of research to back them up yet, there are loads of long recorded benefits associated with bathing in it. These include relief from aches and pains, better physical recovery, anti-inflammatory properties, better sleep and softer, healthier, hair and skin. It is believed that the Magnesium is absorbed by the skin during a float.
By supporting your body entirely with Epsom salt water, your muscles and bones can completely relax. Floating has been shown to decrease muscle tension, blood pressure, heart rate and increase circulation. Recovery rates after physical exercise or injury are often accelerated.
In terms of enhancing sports performance, the positive effects floating has on your body combined with the focused meditative like state and opportunity for positive visualisation, has lead to many sports people using it as a key part of their training routine.
It also leaves us with an increased physical awareness. We might notice things in our body which had previously been looked over, showing us where we need to stretch or focus on.
When it comes to pain relief, peoples experiences and research have a lot to say! It has been known to relieve chronic and acute pain, for the duration of the float, for several days after, and sometimes completely. When we float it removes pressure from the spinal-cord and muscular-skeletal systems. This allows tension, aches and pains to dissolve. Our own story actually starts with Gemma floating for Fibromyalgia pain management 2 years ago.
Last but not least – all this re-balancing of bodily systems and focusing energy to the places that need healing – aids our immune system function and lowers our levels of harmful biochemicals. Whats not to like!
‘Soul’ can mean lots of different things to different people, and what ever it means to you is just right. In the same way, what ever you intend for your Soul when Floating, is just right too.
Floating takes away the key aspects of what it means to be human. There is nothing to see, smell, taste, touch or ‘do’ when you’re in the tank. This creates the perfect environment for spiritual development.
Some form of sensory deprivation has been used in every culture for deepening spiritual practices or understanding. Monks, yogis and priests amongst many other types of spiritual leader somehow retreat or are silent for prolonged periods of time as an essential part of their spiritual training and practice. That’s a sure sign there something profound in doing so!
It can be a space to look inward, to grow. Cultivate inner understanding and find new levels of awareness. Explore your own consciousness and connect to a higher consciousness.
Perhaps you want to meditate on the meaning of life, your place in the world or simply let yourself ‘be‘.
There is lots of science behind Floating, and lots more to come!
If you want to look at some of the studies, keep an eye on this page. We will be providing you with links soon!
We have a few books in the Relaxation Room which you are more than welcome to look at when you’re here. If floating has won your heart and you wanted your own copy they are –
The Float Tank Cure – Shane Stott.
The Book of Floating ‘Exploring the Private Sea’ – Michael Hutchinson.
Often referred to as a floatation pod or tank. The i-sopod is the ultimate float tank.
This state of the art design contains over 500kg of Epsom salts and 1000l of water. The water goes through 3.75 cycles of a highly efficient UV filtration process between each float; ensuring a completely sanitary environment every single time.
Floating essentially enables you to find a physical and mental stillness, whilst fully supported in 10 inches of highly concentrated Epsom Salt water. Due to the salt content, similarly to being in the Dead Sea, you naturally float on the surface with no effort at all.
Find out more on their website.