The benefits of floatation therapy in float tanks are plentiful and can differ from person-to-person or session-to-session depending on the circumstances of the individual at the time of the float. Some experienced floaters say that each and every float is unique. This page lists the benefits that one may gain from floating on a regular cadence. Floating is great for reducing stress. Epsom salts are great for relaxing the body and aching muscles. Read on below!
BENEFITS OF FLOATING
Getting rid of all sensory input allows the ‘constantly-make-sure-you’re-not-dying’ part of your brain to chill out for a second, allowing the creative, relaxed part of your brain to come out and play. Without the constant pressure of analyzing the world around you, your body lowers its levels of cortisol, the main chemical component of stress. Your brain also releases elevated levels of dopamine and endorphins, the neurotransmitters of happiness. Here are some of the benefits:
The tank suppresses the functioning of the sympathetic nervous system which when active produces our fight or flight response. And 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.
INCREASED IMMUNE FUNCTION
Immune function is enhanced by suppressing stress hormones which not only weaken the immune system but also suppress the digestion and reproductive systems, affect regeneration processes, and decrease insulin sensitivity.
Floating increases circulation to extremities, promotes greater elimination of metabolic by products, decreases the forces of gravity to help promote greater muscular relaxation, and it can prevent adrenal fatigue.
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; presence. 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.
CHRONIC STRESSOR RELIEF
The tanks environment eliminates as much external input as possible. It lets your nervous system have a break. In a city with a constant buzz or hum, our systems rarely experience (if ever) the isolation and silence that the tanks environment provides. 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; business, social, and family pressures; war; unemployment; street crime fear; general antagonism between the sexes; we are not well adapted and have been cited to be a cause of several forms of disease.
After settling into 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. Also, 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.
Floating and the relaxation response it induces flood the body with endorphins. These neurotransmitters are responsible for relieving us from pain, enhancing our mood (decreasing feelings of depression to potentially generating feelings of euphoria), they can suppress our appetite, and decrease anxiety leaving us in a calm and clear state of being.
From managing chronic stress and inducing a natural calm, to facilitating introspection and identifying various less-serving modes of thinking, many people report drastically improved sleeping abilities. The change in your physical state and your mental outlook may provide you with a healthier perspective in which to put your body and mind to rest much easier each night if sleeping is an issue. Also, 90 minutes in the tank can feel like 6-8 hours of sleep. It is extremely therapeutic, refreshing and rejuvenating. So if you pulled an all-nighter, suffer from insomnia or have a baby who never lets you sleep the night through, floating can help make up for any lack of sleep you may experiencing
Not having to fight gravity lets your muscles, joints, and bones take a well-deserved break. Your body suddenly has loads of extra resources (usually spent supporting your weight, regulating temperature, and trying not to get speeding tickets), which it gets to focus on things like healing and resting.
Without gravity pushing you down all the time, your spine lengthens an inch, chronic pain is relieved, and your muscles get to fully rest. Unlike lying on a mattress, lying in water allows blood to flow freely all throughout your body. There’s no need to readjust your position to get comfortable.
About 40 minutes into your float your brain stops producing its normal Alpha waves and starts churning out Theta waves. These are responsible for that ‘between-waking-and-sleeping’ state, and you make them naturally every night before you conk out. While it only lasts for a few sparse moments in your bed, you can achieve a prolonged Theta state in the tank, a state of consciousness that is usually only seen in children and people who have spent years practicing meditation.
Even the magnesium-based Epsom salts we use in the tank are good for you. They soften and replenish your skin, and help counteract the magnesium deficiency that most of us have due to depleted magnesium levels in our soil. They’re also kosher, just in case you want to float in water that has been blessed by a Rabbi.