Floating in a floatation tank can be a wonderfully relaxing and healing experience. In case you haven’t heard about these flotation tanks, also known as isolation or sensory deprivation tanks, well you’re about to find out in this article. These past decades there has been an worldwide growth in usage in flotation therapy, and for good reason!
In this article I thought it would be nice to compile the many different benefits of the floating experience, not only the physical and mental which can and has been measured by science, but also the potential spiritual aspects of floating.
First however, let us briefly describe what these flotation tanks actually are.
What is a sensory deprivation tank?
A floatation tank can be described, in a nutshell, as an enclosed private bath with a lid on top to block out both noise and light. While some people prefer to have it a little lit inside the tank and listen to relaxing music, I personally found that the greatest benefits can only be gained while floating in complete silence and darkness.
When it comes to the actual water in the tank, it’s mixed with a considerable amount of epsom salt in order to make you more buoyant (float easier).
Having said that, lets then begin with listing the actual benefits and goodies associated with floating!
The many benefits of floating
- Stress, anxiety and depression relief.
- Improved sleep quality.
- Boost in creative faculties.
- Improved mental focus, mindfulness and concentration.
- Pain and muscle tension relief.
1. Relaxation of the body (physical)
What the float experience can achieve best of all is to loosen up subtle and hidden tensions stored up in the body. These tensions which aren’t so obvious when living your day to day life, get a chance to see the “light of day” when floating. We very rarely have the opportunity to be completely weightless as when in the isolation tank.
The setting is very unique to the human body, because gravity is always in some way, shape or form exercising its power on our physical bodies. Therefore I find this weightless state offered by the isolation tank to be valued accordingly.
2. Clarity of mind (mental)
When the body is suspended in weightless relaxation, the brain and different mental processes can start to take over and become overactive. I’m guessing that this happens as a result of the lack of input from the body and senses, and this in turn opens the mind up to start going a bit crazy. However though many may have some quarrel with this craziness manifesting in their minds, I find it to be a rather healthy thing.
Well, mainly because once the craziness of your mind becomes obvious to your perceptive, meditative eye, you can from there take the necessary steps of remedying it.
Moreover once you become more aware of these tendencies of your mind and its subtle realities, you are automatically in a better position to understand yourself further. And it is from this profound self-knowledge that genuine clarity and peace of mind can arise.
3. Emotional healing (emotional)
The body and mind are no doubt essentials to keep caring for, but one shouldn’t forget ones emotional world or the state of ones heart. I find that because of the clarity of mind that can arise out of the floating experience, one could further use this clarity to shine light upon more subtle dimensions of your life.
Once you go into the float tank, you could make it into a time of reflection. A time where you contemplate your relationships and other sensitive subjects pertaining to your experience as a living, breathing dynamic human being.. Whether its your love life, friends or family doesn’t really matter, things will most likely pop up, and once they do you can reflect and contemplate upon what wrongs or misdoings you may done.
This further leads you to how you can mend these emotional wounds amassed over the years.
4. Natural meditation (spiritual)
As I’ve covered in a previous article, floating has a tendency of inducing something I call “natural meditation”, meaning a meditative state that happens organically and not necessarily by your own conscious will.
When one floats in the sensory deprivation tank, the many distracting sensory things that normally catch our attention are no longer there. One simply remains naked, suspended in weightlessness, facing your own mind, thoughts and feelings about life.
This is very existentially healthy I feel.
Something which our society and culture have no way of explaining or guiding us into doing.
Meditation is simply you becoming a impartial, neutral and silent witness to all that which is happening within and outside you.
If you aren’t in to meditation or dislike it for some exotic reason, avoid calling it meditation and simply perceive and observe the tendencies of your being. This will give you deeper understanding of what and who you truly are. Which is the actual goal of all meditations, self-knowledge.
5. Healing the body (physical)
Floating not only helps with relieving tensions but can also reduce inflammation, exfoliate the skin and help the body eliminate stored up toxins from its system. The relaxation and the epsom salt aids in precisely this process.
Alongside cold therapy, floating has proven to help injuries heal faster. Your body simply gets the chance to work its own inherent magic of healing.
I remember watching a video of a renowned physician who said that the number one well-kept secret in medicine is that the physical body is self-healing. This really struck me because all those medical companies are making a fortune out of other peoples ailments.
The floating experience lets this self-healing nature of your body to fully do its thing.
6. Creativity boost (mental)
Some that use the float tank swear by the fact that they become more creative and open for different perspectives towards life etc., that is in contrast to what they experience casually.
Things that perhaps go unnoticed in ones everyday life can float up to the surface in the floating experience.
In other words, with the left brain at rest, the right brain is free to think up new exciting ideas, to create and to problem solve!
So if you find yourselves struggling with a certain, lets say, artistic and/or intellectual endeavour, try bringing that problem into the tank and see what happens!
7. Existential healing (emotional & spiritual)
One of my favourite analogies from the floating experience is the mirroring of the formless, weightless qualities of the floating experience to some key-features in consciousness from a spiritual perspective.
From a spiritual perspective, consciousness in its essence is a formless, timeless, weightless perceiving. Everything that arises arises in it has certain qualities (form, colour, vibrations etc.) and is subsequently born out of time.
The consciousness itself is not born out of time, it is timeless and therefore the source of all phenomenas.
When a being realizes this in her heart, she automatically undergoes a process of existential healing.
What floating can do is to mirror this innate state of consciousness, so that if one is available, one can access this realization that much easier
Daniel Seeker is a lifelong student of the past, present and future. He realized deep relaxations of the psyche when meditating in his hermit cave on the island of Gotland. His writings are mostly a reflection of that realization. Daniel has meditated & done yogic exercises daily for more than 10 years and is studying history and philosophy at Uppsala Universitet. He is currently finishing writing his B.A. thesis in history which explores how Buddhist, Yogic and Hindu texts were first properly translated and introduced to the western world in the late 18th and 19th century.