Floatation Therapy

 

Floatation, (also known as floating or floatation therapy), involves floating on a very dense salt water mixture in an oversized bathtub. The water is 30 cm deep and is heavily saturated with Epsom salts (400kg Magnesium Sulphate), enabling you to float effortlessly. The water is maintained at a constant relaxed skin temperature of 34.5˚ C. Nerve endings covering the body’s surface no longer perceive any sense of separation between the skin and the silky mineral solution surrounding it. You can float in silence, or choose gentle ambient music. Floating has many health benefits & soothes & relaxes on a very deep level.

 

How Floatation Therapy Works?

Floating was invented by John C Lilly in about 1954. He was interested in consciousness, meditation and in the physiology and psychology of the meditative state when he started working on the effects of sensory deprivation. He discovered that his experimental subjects, his students, enjoyed the experience of floating and reached levels of relaxation only seen in deep meditation. In fact within a few minutes a floating person can reach a depth of relaxation which takes many years to achieve by classical meditation techniques.
Because floating is not such a widely known therapy, people often have lots of questions about the float tank environment & what’s involved to float. The floating process itself is quite simple… get inside the pool, lie down, relax and take a load off! Of course there is more to it than just lying there doing nothing, so just what is floating really about?
In our everyday environment we are exposed to sight, sound, touch, the forces of gravity, etc. In fact, scientists estimate that up to 90% of our brains normal workload is caused by this routine stimulation alone. In this day & age, more than ever, we are bombarded with stimulation from our busy ’plugged-in’ lifestyles. This builds stress in our minds and bodies.
Floating screens out all of this external stimuli, giving our mind, body and soul some much needed rest. That’s what floating is really all about – REST (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique). So it’s about being ‘released’ from stress & strain on the mind and body rather than any form of ‘deprivation’. Free from the forces of gravity, floating weightless, being effortlessly supported by the skin temperature solution, the load is removed and one can easily achieve a deep level of relaxation. The unique womb-like tank environment offers the chance for us to take time out from all of that routine stimulation, leaving us refreshed & rejuvenated.
The parasympathetic response (also known as the relaxation response), is the body’s natural mechanism for healing and regeneration. It can only occur during deep relaxation. Floating is the fastest, easiest and most effective way of eliciting this response and its dramatic health benefits. Floating “re-sets” the body’s chemical and metabolic balance, strengthening its resistance to the effects of stress, illness or injury.

The floatation room is a unique tool for assisting people to learn to quieten the mind and body, accessing deep relaxation and a meditative state, which is a learnt skill. Once we have experienced this state of relaxation our body holds a memory of it, which means we can ‘tap into it’ outside of the float room to benefit our day to day lives. When we continue to practice this skill we are using a powerful key for creating balance and harmony within. When our lives are in balance we are happier, more effective people and are able to extend this gift of nurturing self outward to others also.

Benefits of Floatation Therapy

Floating brings peace & quiet, increased well-being & can serve as an alternative form of treatment to reduce stress or relieve persistent pain. Following is a short list of some of the effects which have been reported by researchers & users:

 

  • Promotes total calm, peaceful relaxation; eliminates fatigue & jet lag; improves sleep; alleviates stress; energises, rejuvenates & revitalises.
  • Stimulates left/right brain synchronisation; creates mental clarity, alertness; increases creativity, problem solving; heightens visualisation; deepens meditation; expands awareness, intensifies acuteness of senses, accelerates learning.
  • Improves athletic performance & helps prevent sports injuries, speeds healing process; aids rehabilitation & recovery; relieves pain; boosts immune function.
  • Relieve pain from arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraines and injuries improve sleep, and alleviate both physical and mental stress
  • Boost immune function
  • Decrease the production of cortisol, ACTH, lactic acid and adrenaline, increase the production of endorphins which helps reduce stress, and relaxes you
  • Improves circulation & distribution of oxygen & nutrients; reduces blood pressure, pulse, heart rate & oxygen consumption.
  • Enhances hypnotherapy & self-hypnosis; increases motivation, diminishes depression, anxiety, fear, addictions & phobias.

What to Expect when Floating?

If you haven’t floated before, or it’s a long time since your last float, it is very beneficial to have a few floating sessions spaced fairly close together. Floating can take a bit of acclimatising for some people. The first float is really an adventure where one ‘feels out’ the new and unique pool environment; the second float generally sees people realising that the pool is not so strange after all, settling in a lot quicker and achieving a deep level of relaxation with less mind chatter or resistance, through learning to trust that the water is supporting them; by the third to fifth float most are easily accessing states of relaxation deeper than they have ever experienced before. Having said that – EVERYONE is different and there are many factors in each individuals life that will impact how they take to floating, i.e. meditation experience, stress, life events, or even the day you are having etc. Floating really is about ‘nothingness’ and it’s best as with most things in life, to leave expectations behind. If we have preconceived ideas of what it’s going to be like, it’s likely not to happen and then we may end up disappointed. When we are open to whatever experience may come a real adventure is at hand.
We have heard others tell of WOW experiences on their first float. Then there are lots of floaters who have had an ok experience first time, been curious enough to explore it further, and had wonderful experiences after a couple of floats or so, receiving amazing benefits too. Of course floating will mean different things to different people. I think we all owe it to ourselves to be open to trying out as many different modalities of healing and relaxation possible to find what works or resonates with us.

FAQS

Might I be bored or frightened?
Anyone who floats regularly will tell you how blissfully comfortable and deeply relaxed they feel whilst floating. You’re as close as you’re ever likely to be to an experience of weightlessness; and, surprisingly, there is no feeling of being confined in a tight space.

But what if I’m claustrophobic?
This is a common initial concern. That’s why here at Taste 4 Health have built an open float room and not a tank, to put people at ease. We are the only clinic in NSW to have an open float room. You are in total control and have access to internal lights. You may choose to have them on or off. You get to choose whatever works for you!! Usually once people realize that they are in total control, their fears subside, and the vast majority will go on to turn off the light! 

Will I have enough air?
Yes, of course. The air inside is warm and it rises by convection.

What if I can’t swim?
That’s OK. Floating is as easy as taking a bath. You just step in, sit down, and lay back. You can touch the bottom with your hands. There is no skill required, you just let the salty water do the work – you’ll actually float like a cork and it doesn’t matter what shape or size you are

Can I accidentally turn over in the water?
No. The water is very shallow and is much heavier than ordinary water because of the added Epsom Salts, so you float very easily and much higher in the water than in a swimming pool. You float on your back with absolutely no effort and there is no tendency to roll over. People often sleep in float tanks and there is no risk of rolling over even if you are asleep.

Is it true that floating cures jet lag?
Yes. Research shows that floating is much more effective than bed-rest.

Will I get cold, like staying too long in a bath?
No, the tank is heated all the time. The temperature of the water feels warm when you get in, but in fact it is at normal skin temperature, and this is exactly right for floating for a long time. The correct temperature is important for feeling comfortable and relaxed for an hour or so.

What effects does floating have on the body?
In the gravity free environment, the body balances and heals internally as all the senses are rested. Research shows that floating measurably reduces blood pressure whilst lowering the levels of stress related chemicals in the body. Old injuries and aches, (especially backache) experience relief as floating helps reduce signals from the brain. Floating is used widely in the treatment of stress, anxiety, jet lag and to improve concentration and creativity. Sports performance and ‘wind down’ is also enhanced during floating.

What effects does floating have on the mind?
During a float you produce slower brain-wave patterns, known as alpha and theta waves, (normally experienced only during deep meditation or just before falling asleep). 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 a tool for Super Learning.

Is floating successful for everyone?
You may need to float a few times before you are able to relax completely, both physically and mentally. Depending on your own journey through life, a float might provide an hour of total physical relaxation – or a profound healing experience, emotionally and spiritually transforming….. Floating can be a wonderful aid to opening doors into your inner world, gradually allowing access to those deeper levels at which real changes take place.

 How is water hygiene maintained?
Obviously we need to comply with stringent health and safety regulations. All floaters must shower before and after they float.  Between each float session all the water is pumped through a filter . But more importantly the solution is sterilised to ensure it’s totally clean.  The water is also tested regularly.

Is it private?
Floating is a very private experience. The flotation tank is housed in an area with its own adjoining bathroom facilities. You shower before entering the tank and then again after your float to remove the salt solution. Most people don’t wear anything when they float – just think of the tank as a big bathtub – though you can wear a swimsuit if you prefer.

Will my skin wrinkle?
No.  In a bath, water enters the skin and makes it turgid (osmosis). In a float session, water leaves the skin (reverse osmosis) and leaves your skin soft and silky because of the Epsom salts.

What about my hair?
Your hair should be shampooed in the shower before floating, and swimming caps do not work, so hair colours, lacquers and hairpieces are not allowed in the tank. Wetting your hair before a float helps protect it from the salt water.

What is Epsom Salts and why is it used?
Epsom Salt is Magnesium Sulphate. It is found naturally in many spa waters. It is very different from sea salt or table salt which is mainly Sodium Chloride. Epsom Salts has been used for centuries to treat skin complaints and assists the body in detoxification. It is non-toxic, although it has an unpleasant salty taste. We use it for two main reasons. Firstly, it raises the density making it much easier to float. Secondly, it softens your skin.

Is anyone not supposed to use the tank?

We don’t recommend tank use for epileptics whose epilepsy is not under medical control; for people under the influence of alcohol, drugs, those with infectious diseases, open skin wounds, or those with suicidal tendencies.

I’m pregnant. Is floating safe for my baby?
Absolutely! In fact, heavily pregnant women probably get more relief from the float tank than anyone else. Just lying on a bed can be extremely uncomfortable for women in the later stages of pregnancy due to the massive gravitational strain placed on the body. The float tank is a wonderful haven to which pregnant women can escape.   Floating during pregnancy also offers an opportunity for you connect with your baby on a deep level, in this unique womb-like environment.  We do however recommend that like most activities floating should be avoided in the first trimester.

How long do people usually stay in the tank?

 Some people use the tank for shorter sessions and others find 2 or 3-hour sessions very valuable. Normally, commercial floats are one hour.   

What will it be like for me?

We don’t know what it will be like for you since it is such an individual experience. The most common reports are profound peace and relaxation, deep concentration and creativity.   We like to avoid saying too much before people use the tank, so that they aren’t influenced by what someone else says. Not only will it be different for you than it is for anyone else, it can be different each time.

Is there a best time to use the tank?

No. This is a matter of individual preference. Some people prefer morning, some prefer night. The best way to find out what’s best for you is to experiment by using the tank at different times of the day.

Do I need to float more than once?

That’s up to you, though yes, if you want to make use of the potential. For us floating is not a finite experience. It touches the infinite. Most people, but not all, get a sense of what floating will be like after they float 3 to 5 times. Those who see the potential the first time want to return again and again.

Should I eat before I go into the tank?

You can eat. If you eat a very heavy meal you may spend a lot of time listening to your digestive juices. And, on the other hand, if you get very hungry you may spend a lot of time listening to your digestive juices. Moderation works.

Will I be able to resume my daily activities when I get out?

Yes. And it may be good to arrange your time so you don’t have to rush. Many people enjoy savoring the peace and quiet before jumping into something hectic.

Is there a cumulative effect of using the tank on a regular basis?

Yes. There is a cumulative effect with consistent use of the tank. Floating uses sensory isolation as an induction to the “relaxation response” which equates with meditation.  Simply by floating, you train this response and become skilled at accessing it.  

Is this sensory deprivation?

The term “sensory deprivation” describes areas of scientific research that consider the effects of reduced environmental stimulation. The words are an unfortunate choice for those of us who are presenting the floating experience as something pleasant, attractive and relaxing.  As a result we are careful to point out that the senses are fully operational and in fact, the senses are very pleased to be relieved from the prevalent atmosphere of sensory overload. Stimulus reduction or sensory isolation is an accurate description of the tank environment.