Some people describe it as "relaxing in your own, private Dead Sea." It's 800 pounds of Epsom salts dissolved in a tub of 10 inches of water, that has been heated to your skin temperature. As you lay back in the water, you will float, just as if you were at the Dead Sea. The tub is completely sound and lightproof, providing the ultimate conditions for your mind and body to relax. Since there is no sensory stimulus for your brain to process, the parasympathetic nervous system (Rest and Digest) activates, which is associated with promoting healing, regeneration and nourishment for the body, and up-regulating the immune system of the body. During the experience of floating, the Epsom salt alone helps to reduce inflammation, improves skin problems, increases blood flow and soothes the muscles and aching limbs. The experience of floating encourages an extremely deep level of relaxation which produces significant physical and mental benefits. During a first time float session, once you turn out the lights, it usually takes about 20 to 30 minutes to get settled in. After a while, because the water and the air are heated to skin temperature, you will not be able to feel where the water ends and the air starts. Once relaxed and settled into the float one can get into a meditative state, also known as a theta wave state, a type of brain wave the body produces. Studies have shown those who regularly practice meditation produce theta waves while in a meditative state. While in this state of mind, the body can start to naturally heal itself.
Combining massage therapy with floating can enhance the experience. By getting a massage before floating, a deeper feeling of relaxation can be achieved during the float session. When already relaxed prior to going in to a float session, the ability to get to the theta wave state can come more quickly and the body can start the natural healing process. When receiving a massage after a float session, the body is already in a deep state of relaxation. This can aid the massage therapist to massage more deeply into the muscles getting all the knots and pains worked out.
After a float session, the mind is refreshed and the senses are sharpened. The feeling is often relaxed, full of peace and bliss, and full of positive energy. The skin is soft from Epsom salt, but don't worry, your skin will not prune like a raisin. The effects of floating can last for hours to days after, and potentially much longer.
Chronic Pain Relief
Neck and Back Pain
Enhanced Learning and Concentration
Beneficial Effects of Treatment with Sensory Isolation in Flotation-Tank as a Preventative Health-Care Intervention-
A Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial
BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine
The official journal of the International Society for Complementary Medicine Research (ISCMR)201414:417
DOI: 10.1186/1472-6882-14-417 © Kjellgren and Westman; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2014
"Sixty-five participants...were randomized to either a wait-list control group or a flotation tank treatment group where they participated in a seven weeks flotation program with a total of twelve flotation sessions. Questionnaires measuring psychological and physiological variables such as stress and energy, depression and anxiety, optimism, pain, stress, sleep quality, mindfulness, and degree of altered states of consciousness were used..."
"Stress, depression, anxiety, and worst pain were significantly decreased whereas optimism and sleep quality significantly increased for the flotation-REST group. No significant results for the control group were seen. There was also a significant correlation between mindfulness in daily life and degree of altered states of consciousness during the relaxation in the flotation tank."
Promising Effects of Treatment with Flotation-REST (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique) as an
Intervention for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): A Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial
BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine
BMC series – open, inclusive and trusted 2016 16:108
DOI: 10.1186/s12906-016-1089-x © Jonsson and Kjellgren. 2016
"This study was a randomized, parallel group, non-blinded trial with 1:1 allocation ratio to waiting list control group (n = 25) or to a twelve session treatment with flotation-REST (n = 25). Inclusion criteria’s were: 18–65 years and GAD (as defined by self-report measures). The primary outcome was GAD-symptomatology, and secondary outcomes were depression, sleep difficulties, emotion regulation difficulties and mindfulness. Assessments were made at three time points (baseline, four weeks in treatment, post-treatment), and at six-month follow-up. The main data analyses were conducted with a two-way MANOVA and additional t-tests. Forty-six participants (treatment, n = 24; control, n = 22) were included in the analyses."
"A significant Time x Group interaction effect for GAD-symptomatology [F (2,88) = 2.93, p < .001, η p 2 = .062] was found. Further analyses showed that the GAD-symptomatology was significantly reduced for the treatment group (t (23) = 4.47, p < .001), but not for the waiting list control group (t(21) = 0.98, p > .05), when comparing baseline to post-treatment scoring. Regarding clinical significant change, 37 % in the treatment group reached full remission at post-treatment. Significant beneficial effects were also found for sleep difficulties, difficulties in emotional regulation, and depression, while the treatment had ambiguous or non-existent effects on pathological worry and mindfulness. All improved outcome variables at post-treatment, except for depression, were maintained at 6-months follow. No negative effects were found."