Floatation tanks are becoming increasing popular as a method of alleviating stress and to heal a variety of physical and emotional ailments. Most commonly found in a float center, floatation tanks, (otherwise known as float tanks), are like a bath, often made of fiberglass, and have a lid attached.
The float tanks are filled with an Epsom salt and water solution, allowing you to become very buoyant in the water. You float to the top, without any need for a flotation device.
You step into the tank, close the lid, and simply lay there in the dark.
Best Ways To Try Floating
It is best to try floating at a float center or day spa. You will need to consider location, price and the reputation of the facility. Think about your reasons for floating before booking a time.
If you are floating to alleviate sore muscles from sport, book your floating session for after you have trained. If it is for better sleep, it may be best to go in the evening.
It is advisable to go for at least an hour each session.
Choosing a Float Centre
Pick a float center or day spa that is close to where you live or work, where it is easy for you to get to, and one which has a relaxing atmosphere. You are likely to love floating so much that you will be back regularly!
Get some recommendations before you book. If you know someone who regularly floats at a center and recommends it, that is a great place to start.
The center should also have some positive testimonials on their Website, and / or some great reviews on Yelp.
Consider how long the flotation center has been in business, the number of tanks that they have, how long you need to wait for an appointment and the friendliness of the staff.
Floating Session Costs
The price of floating varies greatly with each center. It is advisable to shop around to get the best deal, also taking into account the float center reputation and location. The average price for a one-hour float is around $70.00.
The Float Tank
The tank itself is like a little private enclosed bath. When you enter the tank, you close the lid. There is no noise, other than the sounds that your body makes, which are all amplified in the tank. You will hear your stomach gurgling, your eyelashes blink, and the sound of a splash when you move your arm or leg. It will be loud!
The Epsom salt solution will work on healing your mind and body while you simply lie in the tank. There is no need for you to do anything – just relax! Meditation is more intense and also much more effective in a float tank as there are Absolutely No Distractions! There are no mobile phones, Facebook, or emails competing for your attention. No-one can disturb you here!
There are also not the distractions that you may find at home. You don’t need to think about the washing, or cooking dinner, writing a grocery list or starting on that next work project. None of those things are nearby for you to start on. You are completely, physically separated from work and chores. They can wait!
It can be quite daunting when you first float, as you are completely alone with your thoughts. Some people find that it takes several sessions to become accustomed to the different path your thoughts take whilst you float. You may find the dark enclosed space difficult to being with.
The fact that the Epsom salts and the water relaxes you, makes the process much easier. It can feel as if your body is a part of the water. It can be difficult to know where your physical body ends and the water begins.
Meditation can be very intense. You are completely alone with your thoughts. No distractions. No avoiding them. Many people find that their thoughts are calmer and that they have a strong peace of mind, once they settle into the tank and the feel of the water.
You become in tune with your true nature, your core self. Your deep-seated emotions are easier to access, along with it being more straight-forward to release any blocks and negativity.
The Feeling of Being in the Float Tank
Being in a float tank is totally different to any other experience. While it varies from person to person, most people find that they experience extreme peace and relaxation, calm and clarity. The mind and body unwind.
Even those who suffer claustrophobia can quickly adapt to the structure of the float tank. Sound within the tank is amplified. You cannot hear that is happening outside the float tank. When you make a small splash it will sound very loud. Any movement made by your body will be heard in magnitude, from clearing your throat, to scratching your head, to moving your leg!
Remember, you are completely buoyant. There is no gravity. There is no light. Your body is in the ultimate relaxation position. For the time that you are in the floatation tank the focus is on you – relaxing!
There is approximately 380 kilograms of Epsom Salt and 750 liters of water in an average sized float tank! Containing such a huge level of magnesium, the salts bring a vast range of mental, emotional and physical benefits.
Epsom salts are a great nerve tonic. They are commonly recommended by naturopaths in the bath or as a foot soak – so imagine the benefits when you lie in such a large quantity of them for an hour! Or more!
- The minerals seep into your skin, relaxing every muscle.
- Nervous tension and anxiety is soothed. Epsom salts are known for their therapeutic and calming effect on the nervous system.
- Fantastic to help you with a great night’s sleep, it has been proven that the magnesium in Epsom salts will assist with insomnia. A good night’s sleep not only makes you feel fantastic, it can help you to cope better with stress and day to day life. Your mood is better and you relate better to the people around you at work, at home and in your community.
- After a good nights’ sleep you look better, your skin is brighter and you have more confidence.
- The elevated level of Epsom salts in floatation tanks has been known to help with chronic pain.
- The salts are great for exfoliation.
- Beneficial for sporting injuries
- Reduces inflammation
- Improves blood sugar levels
- Volumizes hair
- Balances sodium, calcium and potassium levels
Floating Session Times
Most floating sessions are one-hour bookings, although some people choose to book a longer session. You may find this is adequate to being with. It is recommended that you go at least once each week. You may however, find that it is so beneficial that you go two or three times weekly.
The Benefits of Floating
As you may have suspected, the multi-dimensional benefits associated with floating are quite numerous. Lets have a further look at what exactly they could be.
The emotional and mental benefits of floating are amazing! The mind clears, thoughts recede, there is nothing to do but float. Floating has had proven benefits if you are suffering from anxiety or depression. The weightless experience of floating, combined with the time alone, meditative benefits and the effects of the large quantity of Epsom salts, are of therapeutic assistance for those dealing with any mental health or emotional issues.
Dr. Lilly first invented the floatation tank in the 1950’s as part of an experiment on sensory deprivation. The effect of floating with no outside noise interference and only your thoughts for company can have a great impact on your creative thinking. With the left brain at rest, the right brain is free to think up exciting ideas, to create and to problem solve!
Floating has been known to assist with:
- Muscular injuries
- Body aches and pains
- Chronic pain
- Eliminating toxins
Meditation in the floatation tank
Here is a good mindfulness technique you can try out when entering and floating in the isolation tank. Remember that we touched upon that meditation is much more effective and intense when floating.
- The moment you enter the tank pay full attention to the tip of your toes, be fully present with the sensations as the rest of your body comes into contact with the body-temperature adjusted water.
- Slowly make yourself comfortable within and on the epsom filled water simultaneously as you feel your whole body and mind merge with it
- Pay attention to how light you become when you rest your back on the water, as if you’re floating weightlessly.
- I could continue but there’s really no need, you’ll realize yourself that meditation is naturally induced.
- The same way you observe sensations of the body, observe your thoughts and mind.
- Just be present, listen to your body working its machinery and then perceive your internal mental machinery as well.
- Be here now, floating in space and water.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How long does it take to get benefits?
The benefits of floating differ from person to person. While some people report having fantastic results after just one session, others may take six sessions or more to obtain physical and emotional benefits.
It has been reported that it can take several sessions to become used to going into a meditative state while in a float tank. In this area, it can all be down to practice! This will, of course, depend also on your experience with meditation!
What type of people use floatation tanks?
Floating is becoming very mainstream and you will find that all types of people are floating, and for varied reasons! Some people float for relaxation, others for emotional healing, yet others for physical healing. Some people float just once or twice so that they can join in on a conversation about floating – it has become cool and everyone is talking about it!
What do I wear?
Check with the regulations of your float center when you book. Some floaters wear a swimming costume, while some are naked. This can come down to personal choice also!
Will floating help me to visualize?
Many sports-people float to help them visualize. While you are floating, there are no external distractions whatsoever, which is an ideal scenario for visualizing. Your mind is also in a more receptive state whilst floating. Visualizing in a float tank is ideal.
I find it hard to let go of my mental chatter. Will floating help me?
A flotation tank is an ideal place to calm the mind and spirit and let go of your thoughts. There is no-where to go and nothing to do. Your body and mind become very relaxed and you are in a great state to meditate. If you generally have trouble meditating, float tanks are a wonderful place to practice and improve.
Will it help me in my sport?
Relaxing in a float tank will help to speed muscle recovery, relax your body and help you to visualize. It is great to clear the toxins from your body and help you sleep after vigorous exercise.
Should I float if I have any cuts on my body?
The Epsom salt solution will help to heal any cuts on your body. It may sting a little – it is salt! – but wounds will heal much quicker.
- Floating has been around since the 1950’s when Dr. John C. Lilly invented the first float tank whilst experimenting with sensory deprivation.
- Floatation tanks gained popularity in the 1970’s. In the 1980’s people avoided floating due to the aids scare. It has since become popular again.
- Celebrities that regularly float are Joe Rogan – a well-known floating advocate and Podcaster, John Lennon, Tim Ferris, Elle McPherson and Jeff Bridges.
- The mind shifts to Theta state in the last twenty minutes of floating. This is the state the occurs just before sleeping.
- Floating is a zero-gravity experience. This is similar to what astronauts experience in space.
Flotation tanks are terrific for the physical, mental and emotional benefits, obtained in a relatively brief time. Tense muscles relax, sleep is better and your mind becomes calm. Problem solving and day to day stress are easier to cope with.
Floating has been known to help chronic stress, anxiety and depression. This can, however take several sessions. Some people do find the experience of being in a dark enclosed space difficult to being with.
Floating can help your concentration, your relationships and your work.
Always look for a float center with a good reputation, that is in a convenience location and has a good setup and equipment.
Buying and Installing Your Own Float Tank
If you want to avoid all the necessary hussles that comes with float centers, you could always install one in the comfort of your own home. Until recently the purchasing and installation of floatation tanks into private homes have been quite expensive for the average Joe.
That being said, these past years there has been some companies dedicating themselves towards manufacturing affordable tanks for the avid floaters that always want the experience readily available.
One of these companies is Zen Float Co, who genuinely seem to want to create and share a product which they believe in.
In the near future, I’ll provide with a review of their tanks, but until then check the link below for some additional info on the Zen Float Tank!