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What Is Float Therapy?



What Is Floating?

*Originally published by RJ Kayser for Flow Spa and republished with permission from the author*

The world is a radically different place from what it was even a few decades ago.

Technologies that were once considered Orwellian fantasies have now become our reality and are more and more creeping into our psyche.

Most people see these technological advances as a boon to our society as they present us with new opportunities, but it is undeniable that our primitive brains have also become fodder to this new type of on-demand world that we live in.

With the advent of instantly accessible information and entertainment available in our pockets at any time and the constant blips and pings of notifications that come with it, our reactionary nervous systems and brains biased towards detecting environmental dangers have become overstressed.

The average adult attention span has decreased in recent years and symptoms of stress-induced health complications have skyrocketed leading not only to a decline in health but also productivity.

Dedicated researchers who are curious about how we can overcome these changes in our society have started to focus on these concerns and what to do about them in the past two decades. Ancient wisdom has returned to the forefront of much of this research as a means to quiet the mind and remove oneself from the constant bombardment of distractions that we are all so easy to fall prey to.

This is where float tanks enter the picture.

A float tank in its purest form is an enclosed bed of shallow water in which you lie down in a saltwater solution and float on the surface of the water due to the density of the solution. This sense of weightless floating is achieved by mixing 1,000 lbs. of Epsom salt in one foot of water. The tank was originally referred to as sensory deprivation because the lid blocks out the light and within the enclosure sound is blocked from the external environment. These features have since then been upgraded to allow both light and music to keep the beginner company during this novel experience. The temperature of the water also remains body temperature neutral to keep physical sensations to a minimum.

The sensory deprivation tank as we know it today in a pod or cabin form was invented by Dr. John C. Lily back in the seventies. At the time, the prohibitive cost to build a tank coupled with Dr. Lily’s unusual research into trying to figure out a way to listen to peoples’ thoughts and also communicate with dolphins led there to be no real consideration for any therapeutic uses for the float tank.

In the decades that followed its inception, the float tank was mostly relegated to the world of psychedelic explorers looking to take a trip to another dimension.

It wasn’t until research into ancient practices like meditation and mindfulness started to validate the benefits of the quiet practice of doing nothing in the late ‘90s and early 2000s that people started looking for ways to promote and facilitate these ostensibly difficult to describe practices.

The more stressors that our society burdened upon us, the more communities revolted with wellness practices to counterbalance their health. Yoga became a billion dollar industry and everyone had their own preferred specialty fitness club for spin class or boot camps or weightlifting. Innovators started to turn their attention back to those salty solutions for peace and tranquillity and introduced float tanks to communities as a place to go and escape from the bustle to relax and recover.

Incredible case studies started to pop up about individuals who were benefitting from floating in myriad ways.

Palliative cancer patients were able to find relief and rest pain-free for the first time in months.

Athletes saw their performance increase through improved visualization as well as physical recovery.

People suffering from anxiety disorders could enjoy life more as their overactive stress-response systems were quelled.

Then scientists started to research floating as a therapy and increasingly we are seeing the validation that these claims hold merit; not only of incredible mental relaxation but also a reduction in pain and physical symptoms due to the decompressing nature of being weightless in the tank.

Dr. Justin Feinstein has created the Float Clinic and Clinicalfloatation.com to help consolidate and clarify the research for the float industry. The collection of publications in scientific journals on floatation is rapidly growing.

The summarized list of current research includes benefits for: “hypertension, chronic tension headaches, chronic muscle tension pain in the back and neck, and stress-related pain with “burnout depression.”

Several studies have also concluded that floatation is a safe and effective rapid treatment for:

“individuals with clinical anxiety, including generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, agoraphobia, and social anxiety disorder, with many patients presenting with co-morbid major depressive disorder.”

“Clinical trials are currently underway investigating the long-term impact of floating in patients with anxiety disorders, anorexia nervosa, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, and insomnia.”

Clearly, the surface of the water has barely been scratched in terms of just how deep the benefits of floating go (pardon the pun).

One of the most interesting and promising points is that not only is floating an effective treatment, but it is also extremely safe with minimal possible side effects. This one feature is unlike virtually every other treatment we currently have for anxiety, stress, and pain disorders and serves as no wonder why floating has become one of the fastest growing industries in North America.

I-Float In The County is dedicated to helping our community to relax and heal by creating the very best float therapy experience as well as bring education and awareness to you about the float industry and the wider world of wellness.

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