Have you heard of the benefits of float therapy? Did you know that they include stress-relief, chronic pain or helping to overcome an addiction? Or that it is a unique experience of a lifetime to feel like an astronaut? It is a unique way to heal yourself without doctor's appointments and medical prescriptions!
You may have heard of an isolation tank, a sensory deprivation tank, float tank or simply ‘floating’. All these names describe the same experience of float therapy.
An isolation tank diminishes nearly all sights. You are not able to hear, see, smell or touch anything around you. For this reason, float therapy is known to help with a lot of ailments.
Float therapy is also referred to as a natural wellness remedy without making any doctors appointments, breaking sweat or filling any prescriptions. Float therapy is known to help people with insomnia, chronic pain, depression, anxiety or even addiction.
So how does the float therapy feel and what exactly does it do? The New York Times refer to float therapy as a session when you feel like astronaut! They add ‘ it’s something you can’t ever experience otherwise’.
Although float therapy may seem new to you, it’s been there since the 1950s. First, the float tank was created. It has been used by psychoanalytic researchers and neuroscientists. It was to test its effects on creativity, concentration and connectivity with others.
A lot of people believe that float therapy can bring you real psychedelic experiences! Throughout the years, esoteric communities promote float therapy as a way to heal emotional breakdowns, enhance clarity of your mind and experience spiritual awakeness.
In fact, the psychological effect of float therapy is hard to prove. However, scientists published in the Journal of Complementary & Behavioral Medicine that it may help in reducing the body’s stress response. It is believed float therapy is noninvasive and effective method for treating stress related health problems and chronic pain.
What is Float Therapy
Now we are intrigued by the effects and experience of floating therapy. It is interesting to understand what float therapy is and what it consists of!
The float therapy experience is achieved through floating in a type of isolation tank. It therefore isolates all of your senses. Senses like hearing, smelling, seeing and touching!
For this reason, researchers like to refer to a float therapy as ‘Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique’ or floating-REST.
The float therapy tank that is used for sensory deprivation is filled with water. Therefore, the water is as warm as your normal body temperature.
For those who are wondering: what makes the water hold up the whole human body? It’s salt! The water in the float therapy tank contains an extremely high amount of epsom salt.
Epsom salt is very rich in magnesium sulphate. This itself offers a lot of benefits to your body, such as boosting your magnesium levels, eliminating toxins, improving your blood sugar levels and even volumizing your hair!
Epsom salt in the water during the floating therapy allows you to restfully float on the water surface in complete silence and stillness. The entire session of float therapy feels peaceful and light, without needing to do any extra efforts.
As you will learn below, float therapy has a lot of positive effects on human psychology as well as physical health. It helps you to achieve peace and mindfulness. And at the same time, it provides you with the health benefits in lowering your cholesterol levels and reducing the blood pressure.
How Does Float Therapy Work
The float therapy tank helps to achieve a deep state of relaxation. It is induced by turning down so called ‘fight or flight’ stress responses.
According to Dr. Axe ‘... evoking a natural relaxation response is considered an effective remedy for stress-related symptoms because it activates the parasympathetic nervous system, while at the same time decreasing activity of the sympathetic nervous system’.
Therefore, floating therapy helps with lowering your cortisol levels, calming your nervous system and bringing your immune and hormonal systems back into balance.
In return, these benefits help to lower your heart rate, normalize your blood pressure and breathing rate.
In the busy and stressful environment that we live in. We wake up to a thousand different assignments, we are stuck in a traffic jam… Our minds are filled with information and ever changing technology.
During the floating therapy all those senses and stimuli are eliminated. There is no music playing, there is no light peaking in and there is nothing to touch or see.
As for an interesting fact, while floating in the tank you don’t even feel water! It is because the water is rich in salt and at the same time it is the same temperature as your body. Indeed, it feels like you are floating in the air!
Therefore, there is no meditation or rules how you should experience the float therapy tank. The whole experience is like a solo meditation session, where your mind becomes very peaceful and all the stress melts away!
Logistics Of Float Therapy
Now that we know what float therapy is and we understand how it affects our body. It would be interesting to know what to expect when going to the first float therapy session!
The following will provide you with 5 float therapy facts and more information on how float therapy works!
- The Size Of The Deprivation Tank
- What Is In The Water
- The Duration Of One Session
- The Costs Of The Float Therapy Sessions
- The Comfort Of Float Therapy Session
The size of the float therapy tank is big enough to fit your whole body in it. Most probably, there is not a lot of room to move around, it is designed to fit a person in a lying position.
In fact, the size of deprivation tank is described as ‘a large coffin’. This is because it is quite small in size and very closed off. It leaves some people feeling uncomfortable as they feel confined and uneasy.
One float therapy tank contains 10 inches or 25 centimeters height of water! Therefore, the water contains approximately 1,000 pounds or 450 kilograms of dissolved epsom salt.
In fact, the epsom salt is keeping the water so stiff! It makes you float on top of the water without any extra efforts in keeping your head out of the water.
The duration of one salt water float therapy session depends on a person. Some people choose to float for a total of 45 minutes. Other choose a two hour float therapy session!
Interestingly, you can even go for an 8 hour salt water float therapy! Some people do it while sleeping in the deprivation tank
However, the professionals of float therapy suggest to try a short period of time at first. You need to experience and embrace the feeling it brings to you first.
Important to note here first! During the process of a float therapy session you can stop it at any given moment!
The prices are fully dependent on the facility that you choose to go to. Therefore, the costs can vary between $30 to $150 dollars for 1-2 hours session.
Some people worry about getting too cold or having a dried out skin after a two hour session!
Dr. Axe explains that the salt water will not make your skin dry or wrinkly! Therefore, you will not get cold as the water is the same temperature as your body.
In contrast, your hair and skin feel extremely soft after the salt water float therapy!
Who Do Float Therapies Work For
And now you are wondering whether you are the right candidate to try out the float therapy? According to The New York Times, anyone who is looking for stretching their artistic, spiritual and even athletic boundaries should try it!
For those who are looking for the more scientifically proven effects of floating therapy. You will be happy to hear that benefits of float therapy is backed up by much ongoing research!
Although the psychological effects of floating therapy are still to be discovered, float therapy spa is known to help with the problems related to:
- Low Immune Function
- Chronic Fatigue And Low Energy
- Insomnia Or Other Sleeping Difficulties
- Addictions Or Symptoms Of Withdrawal
- Frequently Sick Days Among Employees, So Called ‘Burnout’
- Troubles In Focusing, Distractions,Restlessness Or Brain-fog
- To Overcome Jet lag
- Mood Related Disorder And Symptoms Of Anxiety And Stress
- Chronic Pain And Muscle Tension, Often Tied To High Stress Levels
Benefits Of Float Therapy
There are numerous health benefits that can be taken out of float therapy. You must note, that the effects vary from person to person.
Therefore, the time between your first therapy session to the time when you will start feeling the benefits of float therapy is different to everyone. You may feel your skin and hair get smoother immediately/ However, the psychological and physical effects may come later.
The benefits of floating comes from three elements of float therapy spa:
In order to provide you with the possible health benefits after the float therapy. The following will provide you with the top 5 benefits of a float therapy spa!
- Reduced Anxiety and Stress
- Improved Energy And Work Productivity
- Help In Overcoming Your Addiction
- Reduce In Pain
- More Mindfulness
In 2016, research was conducted by the department of psychology at Karlstad University. They studied the effects of float therapy spa on anxiety and stress levels.
The findings show that the anxiety and stress levels significantly changed in the participants who were attending the float therapy in total of 12 sessions. The experiment took place in a course of 4 months.
In fact, 37 percent of the participants completely overcame their psychological problems. Whereas the rest, experienced at least some beneficial effects related to the sleep deprivation, anxiety and stress problems.
Did you know that stress related illnesses are at the top of the most common reasons of the absence at work? The problems attribute the symptoms such as migraine, brain-fog, lack of concentration and burnout syndrome.
Facing these facts, employers started to offer float therapy courses to their employees! The approach to this float therapy spa is to give the employees a break in a form of meditation.
Float therapy is now considered as a cost effective, natural and helpful way in motivating the employees, improving their energy and productivity levels!
Did you know that float therapy can help you with your addiction?
A study from the 90s identified that people dealing with addiction such as alcohol abuse and nicotine users can seek help in float therapy!
According to science, floating therapy helps the patients to overcome their addictions. This is done by enhancing the learning process and inducing a general relaxation response. In addition, relief by non-chemical means and internal refocusing on personal problems also help.
Research confirm that people who suffer from overeating, smoking, alcohol abuse and drug misuse can seek help with a float therapy spa!
Patients testimonials as well as several studies show that float therapy can help you to reduce pain. In fact, it suggests that float therapy is a new painkiller!
Float therapy helps to reduce pain by evoking relaxation response. It eases the muscles, helps to rest and improves recovery.
Patients treated with floating therapy were reported to experience less pain, lower blood sugar levels, less anxiety and stress. Also, they report an improvement on their mood, optimism and positive outlook to their daily routine!
In 2014 yet another research was conducted. It tested the float therapy effects on people’s wellbeing and their quality of life.
In total 65 participants took part in this research. The program was seven weeks long, with in total of 12 floating sessions.
During this research, the psychological and physiological well-being were examined. It includes variables such as energy, depression, optimism, pain, sleep quality, mindfulness, anxiety and stress.
The results show significant effects on the participants. The major difference was noticed in the variables of stress responses, depression symptoms, anxiety and pain.
Therefore, scientists also noticed significant improvements in optimism, quality of sleep and mindful presence!
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