FLOATING AT FLOW SPA
Floatation therapy, also known as floating, floatation, sensory deprivation, or R.E.S.T (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy) involves relaxing in a spacious tank in a salt-water solution that’s dense enough for all people to remain buoyant. It is one of the most effective means of stress relief and relaxation available. Now widely accepted as a therapy, floatation has been used to help a wide range of physical and mental conditions.
The term sensory deprivation is often used as the environment is designed to limit sensory input and allow you to experience complete relaxation.
Your ears (with optional earplugs in) stay just below the surface of the water; the tanks are insulated against sound leaving you in peaceful silence.
After you shut the door and turn off the light, you float in total darkness - you won’t notice a difference between keeping your eyes open or closed. (You’re free to keep the door open and the light on until you grow accustomed to this unique environment.)
Inside the tank you’ll find 10 inches of water and about 1000 lbs. of dissolved Epsom salts – a solution that allows you to float effortlessly. The water and air are both kept at body temperature neutral, which means that when you fully relax, you lose track of where your body ends and the water or air begins.
During your float, the outside world is gone and amazing things happen. It turns out that when you’re not fighting gravity or receiving sensory input, your body has a lot of extra resources at its disposal. Your mind is free to navigate without distraction, your brain pumps out dopamine and endorphins, and parasympathetic nervous system activity increases to help you rest, de-stress, and heal. It’s likely to be the most relaxing thing you've ever experienced.
Floatation eases chronic pains throughout the body including the neck and back and it also can help with spinal misalignment issues. Floating has been shown to ease the symptoms of chronic pain including arthritis, fibromyalgia, and cancer-related pain - conditions with few natural treatment options.
Increased Blood Circulation
The weightless environment of the floatation tank allows for the muscles and joints of the body to relax, increasing blood flow and helping to accelerate the repair of muscle tissues. This is especially beneficial for those with injuries or chronic pain.
Floating in the tank reduces the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, which releases the stress hormone cortisol and is responsible for the 'fight or flight' response. The sympathetic nervous system tends to be always turned on for many people in today’s society due to business and the stress caused by the constant bombardment of work that has to get done and constant reminders pinging from our smartphones.
With the relaxing and tranquil environment of the float tank, the parasympathetic nervous system is activated allowing for physical and mental relaxation, stimulation of metabolic processes, replenishment and general recuperation.
Increased Immune Function
Immune function is enhanced by suppressing stress hormones which weaken the immune system and suppress the digestive and reproductive systems.
Use in Athletic Training
The solution in the tank has the added benefit of being composed of magnesium sulphate (Epsom salt), which have long been used in athletics for eliminating lactate build-up and speeding up recovery time. Furthermore, many athletes use the relaxing environment of the float tank to visualize and improve their performance while giving their bodies a much-needed break.
Research shows that regular floating leads to increased visual acuity, improved tangible perception, increased taste sensitivities and improved auditory sensitivity.
The high concentration of Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) may be absorbed through skin. Magnesium has been shown to be deficient in the standard North American diet. Magnesium assists in regulating high blood pressure, preventing cardiovascular disease, preventing osteoporosis, relieving menopause symptoms, providing PMS relief, creating healthier bones and teeth, and is involved with detoxification. Magnesium is awesome and may be at the centre of many of the additional benefits floating provides over meditation alone.
Modern life is full of deadlines, frustrations, and demands. For many people, stress is so commonplace that it has become a way of life. Floatation therapy is one the most powerful stress relief technique there is. Floating has been shown in controlled studies compared to bed rest to be the most relaxing experience on Earth. Some people have equated an hour in the tank to four hours of sleep. (Relaxation measured by perceived stress, hormone measurement, and brain wave activity).
A small study of five university professors found that six float sessions allowed them 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.
Left Brain/Right Brain
The two sides of the brain operate in very different ways. The left side handles details, processing information, and logic. It operates analytically and systematically, think of the left brain as the essential yet boring side of the brain.
The right side of the brain is responsible for creativity and helps with problem solving. It operates visually, intuitively, and takes in the big picture. The right side is usually constrained and held back by the left brain which tends be dominant in most people. Floating can boost right-brain function by turning off all external input and quieting the left brain, allowing both sides of the brain to work in harmony.
HISTORY OF FLOATING
How would you go about creating an environment that could isolate a brain from external stimulation?
In 1954, a doctor and neuroscientist named John C. Lilly needed to eliminate incoming sensory information to create a control group for his experiments and invented the first isolation tanks. Along the way, Lilly discovered that sensory deprivation has a load of benefits that went above and beyond the captivating experiments he was doing.
By the 1970’s, the tanks design had evolved from Lilly’s original laboratory chambers to the first designs of the comfortable commercial tanks that we have now. This means you no longer have to be submerged in the water with air tubes, you don’t have to wear a diver’s helmet with a black faceplate, and you don’t have to have experiments run on you to take advantage of this unique experience and environment.