Float Therapy Benefits

Floatation therapy, also known as floating, sensory deprivation, or R.E.S.T (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy) involves lying in a salt-water solution in a spacious isolation tank. You lay in an enclosed tub that has over 900 lbs. of dissolved Epsom salts and you float effortlessly. The water is heated to the same temperature as the surface of your skin, so you do not really feel the water anymore. The tank is light-proof, sound-proof and has a neutral smell. All of these conditions together free a person from the sense of touch, pressure, friction, sound and light; leaving you in an environment of complete peace and quiet.

Like the perfect bath, it combines the benefits of massage, sleep and meditation. People float to relieve stress, recover from injuries, treat chronic pain, and much more. Float tanks are a simple and powerful tool that can improve everyday life. The practice is used by many people, doctors and athletes seeking a variety of solutions to everyday problems. The tank’s extremely unique environment is designed to allow for a minimal amount of sensory input to enter into your nervous system. This environment then has a wide range of benefits and applications for health, personal development and well-being.

Its the most relaxing thing you will ever experience!

Benefits of using Float

EPSOM SALT

When Magnesium Sulfate is absorbed through the skin it draws toxins from the body, sedates the nervous system, reduces swelling, relaxes muscles, and acts as a natural emollient (moisturizer).

ZERO-GRAVITY

Unlike the low-gravity environment of a pool, float tanks offer a zero-gravity environment. you no longer have to fight gravity. The weightlessness of the tank allows your body to decompress and expand
to its natural state.

SENSORY DEPRIVATION

 The float tank offers a profound calmness of the mind by shutting out external stimuli. When your brain isn’t receiving as much information as it’s used to, it goes into reset mode.

Floatation therapy is the most powerful stress relief technique. It eliminates as much external input as possible and lets your nervous system have a break. Floating has proven in multiple studies to be one of the most relaxing experiences on earth. (Relaxation measured by perceived stress, by hormone measurement and by brain waves) Hutchison, M. (1984). Having this experience can be very refreshing, nourishing and healthy for our bodies and minds. We are well adapted for acute stress; however, for chronic stressors such as noise and air pollution, we are not well adapted and have been cited to be a cause of several forms of disease.

With the brain being held in a theta state wave-length, the mind becomes hyper-suggestible. With less distractions and greater resources at its disposal the mind is able to absorb new material very deeply, with research showing improved performance in memory and recall activities. It is great to use for learning new material because is speeds up the learning process. It is also great to use in conjunction with exam preparation.
Floating brings clarity of the mind and is an ideal space for finding creative solutions and solving problems. Floating has been shown to generate more “creative” ideas, which coincided with a self-reported increase in free imagery and remote associations. Similarly, in a study with 40 university students, a single flotation increased their scores on a standardized test used to measure creativity. Hutchison, M. (1984).

The floating experience research has shown greater hemisphere synchronization (promoting greater communication between the right (creative-side) and left (analytical-side) lobes; the majority of people are left-dominated. Floating massively boosts right-brain function by turning off all external input making the left brain silent, allowing the right side of the brain to run un-interrupted at full tilt. People experience increased vertical communication between the primitive reptilian brain, the limbic middle or mammalian brain and the conscious neocortex. These synchronizing reactions can cause elevated states of creativity, greater non-linear connections, and deeper realizations.

The combination of being extremely relaxed while intensely awake allows techniques of visualization to become very powerful. From athletes preparing for competition to public speakers rehearsing a presentation, the tank can induce the calm needed to perform at ones best. Mental rehearsal research has shown it to be just as practical as physical rehearsal.

With literally zero outward distractions your attention is easily redirected inward. Habitual thought-pattern recognition and analysis can be clearly discovered, monitored, and addressed. Various forms of mental programming/reprogramming become very powerful tools to re-evaluate and change your thoughts with clarity and repetition.

Floating can have beneficial behavioural effects such as decreased anxiety and depression and increased calmness or sense of well-being. It has proven to help smokers quit smoking and aid in weight loss programs.
This refers to our mental “reset”. Patterns and repetitiveness exist throughout our lives. Going throughout our daily routines we get “numb” to so much around us, we become automatic with so many of our thoughts, actions and environments. The “resetting” experience provided by the tank can shift us out of this automated existence and bring us into greater awareness of the things we are often over-looking, less aware of or insensitive to, and not appreciative of.

Meditation has a plethora of researched benefits and floating is a unique and phenomenal tool to cultivate mental stillness. It often generates a sensation of being intensely awake yet extremely relaxed. It can induce theta-state brainwaves and allows for one to remain conscious in this frequency instead of falling asleep. Floating may induce an altered state of consciousness.

Flotation therapy eliminates chronic pain in cases of back and neck, arthritis, migraines, fibromyalgia, tendinitis, bursitis, inflammation, and fractures. It also speeds up the healing process after trauma and helps with spinal misalignment issues. Floating lengthens your spine by an inch while in the tank and allows your body to decompress.
The tank suppresses the functioning of the sympathetic nervous system which when active produces our ‘fight or flight’ response. It then activates the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for relaxation, healing, replenishment, etc. Some physical symptoms of the relaxation response are decreased muscle tension, decreased blood pressure, decreased stress hormones, and increased endorphins.

Floating increases your level of physical energy and concentration by stimulating the circulation of oxygen and alimentary elements in your body. Floating allows your muscles and joints of the body to relax, increasing blood flow and helping to accelerate repair of muscle tissues. This is especially beneficial for those with injuries and recovery. It can prevent adrenal fatigue and also boosts your immune system.

90 minutes of floating is equivalent to 6-8 hours of sleep. It eliminates the fatigue after long flights and alleviates the state of chronic fatigue. Many people report drastically improved sleeping abilities.

Floating decreases chronic muscle tension and creates greater awareness of less noticeable areas of muscle tension and imbalances in your body.

The density of the Epsom Salt solution creates the maximal amount of the forces of gravity to be dispersed across the greatest surface area of your body. The anti-gravity environment of the float tank disperses forces to the smallest amount and thus decreases the source of gravity-related stimulation to the minimum possible value providing relief to these specific areas.

Floating leads you to increased visual acuity, improved tangible perception, increased taste sensitivities and improved auditory sensitivity.

Regular floating can alter the set-points in the endocrine homeostatic mechanism which can cause adjustments such as a lower adrenal activation threshold. This means that you become more resistant to the stimuli of chronic stressors bombarding us in modern urban settings and modern lifestyles. Ultimately, you will have a higher physiological threshold meaning the modern urban life-style will not affect our stress response as much.
The extremely high concentration of Epsom salts (magnesium) are easily absorbed through your skin and can actually supplement your diet. Magnesium has been shown to be the second most deficient mineral in the average diet. Magnesium can prevent cardiovascular disease, regulate high blood pressure, prevent osteoporosis, relieve menopause symptoms, provide PMS relief, create healthier bones and teeth, and is involved with detoxification.

Floating to Combat Stress

One of the primary benefits of floatation therapy is stress reduction. While this is not the only benefit, it is perhaps one of the most significant. 

We all suffer from stress, whether it is from work, life, relationship, or all of the above. According to the American Medical Association, 60 percent of all human illnesses can be linked to stress! (1) It’s linked to the top five causes of death in the U.S., including heart disease, stroke, and cancer. The only way to deal with stress is to manage it through practices such as float therapy.

 Here’s four ways how float therapy can help reduce your everyday stress.

#1 – It’s A Natural Stress Reliever

Floating has become one of the best-kept secrets to safely and naturally relieve stress and anxiety. A float tank provides a weightless environment that when combined with pitch darkness and silence, creates sensory reduction. With the sensations of the outside world removed, your body and mind are allowed to completely relax and unplug.

A 2001 study in the Journal of the Canadian Pain Society found that spending time in a floatation tank effectively decreased anxiety and depression and increased optimism. In summary, floating takes you to your happy place.(2)

 

In one study, researchers conducted formal interviews with individuals who had recently floated on multiple occasions. The researchers found that “…for most people it is a calm and safe setting where nothing bad can happen. They are inaccessible to the rest of the world with its stress and demands.” (3) This sense of safety and refuge appears to be a key component to reducing stress – and one that’s hard to find anywhere else.

 

#2 – It’s A Form Of Meditation

The practice of floating (or forced meditation) utilizes Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy (REST) to enhance deep relaxation in the body. Water in the tank is heated to 93.5 degrees Fahrenheit to create a comforting space where you can reach a new level of meditation (forced meditation as we like to call it) that is typically experienced just before falling asleep or waking. Your mind is able to focus on rhythmic breathing and can fall into a deeper state of relaxation. (4)

#3 – Floating Reduces Cortisol Levels – The Stress Hormone

Floatation or REST helps decrease cortisol levels, a hormone released in the bloodstream during stressful situations. Cortisol has negative effects on bodily functions, including altering immune system responses and suppressing the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes.

Constant stress combined with overexposure to cortisol can put you at risk for numerous health problems such as anxiety, depression, heart disease, memory, recovery and concentration impairment and more. (5)

Many studies have proven that floating regularly can reduce cortisol levels and decrease blood pressure, as well as improve overall mood.

 

#4 – Epsom Salt Is Replenishing

Not only is the practice of float therapy beneficial for stress relief, Epsom salt has its own benefits in itself. Stress naturally drains the body of magnesium. According to the National Academy of Sciences, most Americans are deficient in magnesium, which is one of the key components of Epsom salt. (6)

Over 1,300 pounds of epsom salt is dissolved in each of our float tanks to create a weightless environment. Epsom salt is absorbed through the skin while floating, replenishing magnesium levels in the body. The magnesium helps to improve the body’s production of serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical within the brain that combats depression or anxiety.(7)

Lasting Benefits of Floating

Best of all? The relaxed buzz of floating doesn’t end when you exit the tank. One Swedish study found that positive effects of floating, including decreased levels of stress and depression, continued for about four months after a 12-session treatment program. (8)

 

Are You Ready To Float Stress Away?

Are you one of the many Canadians combating chronic stress, anxiety, restlessness or exhaustion? Come float with us in Ottawa at Tank Action Float Centre to try out this peaceful practice for yourself. You never know what float therapy will do for you until you try!

We suggest for BEST results to float once a week for twelve (12) weeks in a row.   Although, this does of course depend on time, money and schedule. Consistency is key, finding the right day and time that works best with your schedule and making it a priority. It could be the end of a work week, on an off day, or late at night before the start of the work week.  Everyone is different, no two floats are the same and only you know what works best.

Let us know why your floating so we can help optimize your float experience.

 

Citations:P

1) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/heartmath-llc/how-stress-affects-the-body_b_2422522.html

2) Effects of flotation-REST on muscle tension pain, Journal of the Canadian Pain Society, Winter 2001, Volume 6 Issue 4: 181-189

3 ) Sensory Isolation in Flotation Tanks: Altered States of Consciousness and Effects on Well-being, The Qualitative Report, December 2008.

4) http://www.pulsus.com/journals/abstract.jsp?jnlKy=7&atlKy=4294&isuKy=541&isArt=t&HCtype=Consumer

5) http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20046037

6) http://www.saltworks.us/salt_info/epsom-uses-benefits.asp

7) About Epsom Salts. (n.d.). Retrieved February 13, 2015.

  1. Eliciting the relaxation response with the help of flotation-rest (restricted environmental stimulation technique) in patients with stress-reilments, International Journal of Stress Management, May 2006.

    9)  http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/effects-of-stress-on-your-body