Benefits of Floating
Conditions known to be improved by Floating
- Stress relief
- Muscular pain
- Chronic pain
- High blood pressure
- Migraine headache
- Jet lag
- Back pain
- Pre-menstrual tension
- Post-natal depression
Floating effect on Stress
Perceived stress can be correlated with increased levels of cortisol and in flotation therapy there is a natural tendency for cortisol to be reduced. For this reason, flotation therapy is one of the few noninvasive techniques available to manage stress when it is a factor in reducing a person’s ability to cope with normal life. Flotation therapy is a fast technique in this respect. The Swedish research was based on 40 minutes float sessions. This compares well with other management techniques such as long vacations.
More on Benefits…
Floatation therapy is such a simple idea that some of the benefits seem too good to be true. But they are real, and scientific research has validated the health giving and performance enhancing effects.
Floatation Therapy is also viewed as a very luxurious way to soothe and heal the body from the constant stress of life’s daily pressure you can leave the noise and confusion behind and perhaps, for the first time in your life, experience total relaxation and deep healing in your private, peaceful space … it is truly the ultimate ESCAPE!
Floatation has been academically studied extensively since about 1975, particularly in America, and in Sweden with published results showing reduction of both pain and stress. The relaxed state also involves lowered blood pressure and maximum blood flow. The deep relaxation state achieved allows the body to recover from stress. Pain is relieved, blood flow is stimulated through all the tissues, natural endorphins are released, the brain gives out alpha waves associated with relaxation and meditation. Many people use flotation to stimulate creative thinking and to solve problems. Mental preparation for work or academic and sporting challenges are also some common uses of flotation. It has also been known to reduce feelings of anger and agitation.
There are many medical conditions that have also been shown to benefit from flotation therapy, such as arthritis, back pain, lessening of edema, increased range of movement in skeletal joints, premenstrual tension, postpartum depression, asthma, migraine headaches, multiple sclerosis, cardiovascular conditions, osteoporosis to name a few. You may even feel the benefits for a few days after your float session. However, most people can only fully appreciate all the benefits of floating after having experienced three or more float sessions. Other benefits include help in anger management and PMT, reduce feelings of fatigue and insomnia, lower blood pressure and assist in weight control (in conjunction with talking cures/psychotherapy). Floating has also been used for long-term meditation and self-awareness development.
The weightlessness achieved by effortlessly floating on top of a dense, super-saturated solution of Epsom salt and water makes it possible for the muscular, skeletal and circulatory systems to rest in a zero gravity environment. This allows the spine to decompress and realign, the muscles to completely relax, and the circulatory system to more easily pump blood to areas of the body that are difficult to reach when the heart and vessels are working against gravity. Unless you are an astronaut the flotation tank is the only situation you will encounter where your body is free from gravity. NASA employs flotation to stimulate weightlessness. Zero gravity allows you to relax every single muscle, your neck, arms, back, and even ears. The tank enables you to find those areas you are holding tense so you can let go. Finding where gravity is and in which direction, then computing how you can move and not fall over, takes about 90% of your brains activity on a daily basis. When you start to float you are free from all the gravity computations and the physical world, which leaves the brain free to attend to other matters. The tank creates a state of sensory relaxation as the mind and body are shielded from all the external stimulation. The brains normal workload is reduced by up to 90%. In this situation, the body conserves energy and has a chance to heal and rejuvenate itself.
Floating also enhances blood flow to the lymphatic system, causing this waste-maintenance system to operate more effectively. This detoxification process encourages lymphatic drainage, diminishing the appearance of cellulite and resulting in vibrant, glowing skin. Since the saltwater solution in the cabins is very concentrated, floating exfoliates the skin while restoring and maintaining its moisture and electrolyte balance. Increased blood flow to the muscles helps them dispose of lactic acid, diminishing soreness and accelerating recovery time for athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) has been used for thousands of years as a treatment for aches, pains and skin ailments, and there are over 700 pounds of it in our float tank. Magnesium is incredibly important to health and well-being, and almost everyone is deficient in this mineral that is vital in over 300 enzymatic functions. Magnesium is absorbed through the skin due to natural molecular diffusion. This tends to correct magnesium deficiency. The body naturally optimizes the levels of magnesium, so there is no overload effect from floating in the salts for extended periods. Adequate levels of magnesium are correlated with lower incidences of coronary heart disease, lower blood pressure, better quality of sleep, cholesterol improvement and lower stress levels. Its natural anti-inflammatory properties offer tremendous relief to those suffering from chronic muscular, skeletal or joint pain. Supplementation through the skin while floating is the best way to absorb magnesium due to the large amount of magnesium sulfate dissolved in the water.
Reduction in sensory input causes the normally dominant left hemisphere of the brain to relax while the right hemisphere becomes more active. This allows the two cerebral hemispheres to synchronize with one another, creating a sense of harmony, balance and clear-headedness. The right brain is able to express itself more fully, resulting in increased creativity, big-picture thinking and problem solving. Floating also encourages theta wave activity in the brain, which Tibetan monks are only able to achieve after many years of disciplined meditation. These rhythmic waves are relaxing and reflective. One hour of rest in the floating theta state is equivalent to approximately four hours of R.E.M. sleep. The extreme relaxation experienced while floating releases endorphins and serotonin, neurochemicals associated with happiness as well as stress and pain reduction.
A therapeutic session in a flotation tank typically lasts an hour. During your floating sessions, there is often a transition from beta or alpha brainwaves to theta, which typically occurs briefly before sleep and again at waking. In a flotation tank, the theta state can last indefinitely without the subject losing consciousness. Many use the extended theta state as a tool for enhanced creativity and problem solving or for super learning. The more often the tank is used the longer the theta period becomes.
Floating can be passive or active, depending on the purpose. For relaxation, one simply floats and ‘clears the mind.’ Active floating has many different techniques. One may perform meditation, mantras, self-hypnosis, utilize educational programs, etc. The idea of active floating is that, when the body is relaxed, the mind becomes highly suggestible and any action taken during these states will enter the information into the sub-conscious. Flotation therapy may be used to complement other bodywork and healing methods.
Usually it takes perhaps fifteen minutes to enter the first deep stage of relaxation, and the remaining 45 minutes the benefits begin, but continue after you leave the tank and for the rest of the day, and the coming days. Your body and mind will feel refreshed.
One of the major sources of stimulation in humans is the temperature gradient change on the surface of the body. Temperature inside the float tank is isothermal over the surface of the body so that the nerve endings covering the surface of the skin no longer perceive a separation between the skin and the solution inside the tank. The temperature of the salinated water is correct for maintaining body temperature without muscular action and there is no postural requirement either, so a profound state of relaxation is achieved within 15 to 20 minutes. Endorphins are released encouraging a feeling of well-being. Blood flow in capillaries and soft tissue is maximized. Muscles in spasm tend to release because there is no contact pressure. It is possible to float for many hours without any impulse to turn, even in deep sleep.