Floatation therapy is a quick and simple way to achieve intense relaxation. Stress is constantly being recognized as the cause of illness and physical problems and floatation therapy is an ideal way to unwind and release pent up tension.
A physician and neuro-psychiatrist named Dr. John C. Lilly originally gave birth to the idea of the floatation tank. His studies veered him in the direction of sensory deprivation and the impact it had on reducing brain activity. While Doctor Lilly was undergoing psychoanalysis training, he continued to find out as much as he could about isolating people from any external stimuli. His first tank was created early in the 1950's.
Floatation therapy provides people with an almost instant feeling of well-being: As the brain activity lowers, any problems or stresses seem trivial and simple to overcome. Whether a person has been experiencing physical pain or aches or they have a stress related problem like insomnia, Dr. Lilly's invention will prove to be invaluable. When the body and mind enters into such a relaxed state, more areas of the brain can work harmoniously together to provide healing and clarity of thought.
Most forms of such deep relaxation take a lot of time and practicing before any deeper levels can be reached. With floatation therapy, no learning or practicing is required and no energy is necessary. It is as simple as climbing into the tank and floating for a while. Even if it's the end of a hectic, tiring week, mustering the energy to climb on in will be well worth it.
How do Floatation Tanks Work?
Of course the initial development of the floatation tank was nowhere near as comfortable as the modern day designs. They now have light, easy to open and close lids or doors, circulation fans, internal lighting and a very classy and new age look.
They have been created as a peaceful, comforting tank or room that contains approximately ten inches of water and a heap of Epsom salt. When water contains pounds of salt, it becomes much denser than the body and provides the floater with a feeling of weightlessness, making it easy to float.
Should the tanks only contain fresh water or water with chlorine in it, a person would have to constantly keep moving to keep floating. It wouldn't be a very relaxing experience if worrying about sinking was the main agenda.
Using professional floatation therapy methods allows the body to become completely relaxed while floating on the surface without effort.
The water is always set to body temperature which means it quickly feels like the body and the water become one. It is a private, dark, temperate and moist environment that most people find to be very pleasant. For those concerned about feeling claustrophobic, the lid can be left ajar or completely open, but floatation therapy is more effective if it's closed and completely dark.
Some people choose to wear bathers and others like to be naked for their floatation therapy. There is a shower to use before climbing in and whichever way makes an individual feel more comfortable will be best for them.
Another good idea is to wear ear plugs because usually the ears are in the water the entire time.
Lying on the back is not the only option and many people like to try different positions whilst floating. It feels almost like laying on a bed and there is freedom to move and float in different ways.
An hour of floatation therapy is equal to four hours of deep sleep. Usually there will be a light to indicate that an hour has passed, or the tank water may vibrate as the filters start to self-clean. It isn't recommended to spend more than an hour inside and this is seen as the ideal length of time.
The Epsom salt makes skin soft, smooth and silky to touch. The prune look normally seen after bathing is caused by water leeching salt from the skin and because the tank water is so salty already, this doesn't happen. Many people go straight from a floatation session onto their next appointments.
Important Features of Floatation Tanks
Today's floatation tanks have been designed with safety in mind, which is why it is impossible to ever be trapped inside. It is completely okay to climb in and out any time so users feel in control.
Modern tanks aren't air tight and also have their own fans circulating the air and keeping it fresh. In the rare event that something did go wrong with the fan, there would never be a shortage of air.
Advanced filtration mechanisms keep the tank and water clean. This means there are no concerns about picking up an infection or catching a disease.
Currently floatation tanks and floatrooms cost anywhere from $7400 to $24000. This is the price of the units only and doesn't include any delivery charges or extra accessories.
Not many people can afford to install there own tank at home. It's much more affordable to visit a local salon that offers floatation therapy and many will provide package deals offering discounts for more than one visit.
The First Floatation Therapy
There are some important points to consider before the first float, whether planning to use a tank in the home or visit a salon that offers the service:
* Because of the high salt concentration of the water, metal items can be damaged during a float. For this reason even wedding rings should be removed.
* To avoid damaging contact lenses if water goes into the eye, they are also best being removed.
* It's an excellent idea to spray some liquid skin or liquid bandage onto any cuts or abrasions. This is because the salt water will sting rather intensely for some minutes if there is any broken skin, so even shaving nicks should be considered.
* It is a courtesy to take a shower and wash your hair. Conditioner shouldn't be applied and the entire body should be washed and rinsed before floating. This prevents unnecessary pollution of the water in the tank.
* For those who have a specific issue on their mind, it's suggested that focusing on it while preparing for a session is beneficial. As soon as the body hits the water, asking for universal guidance towards finding a resolution is usually very effective.
Precautions to remember when in the tank are:
* It is pitch black when the lid of the tank is closed and it's not uncommon for someone to initially panic when the doors appear to be stuck. This is impossible and it's simply a matter of them being disoriented because it's so dark. If this happens, simply feeling around for the lids location will solve the problem and keeping any panic at bay.
* On initially entering the tank, it is best to take a minute to orient the mind to where the lid is in respect to floating.
* Another thing to find when first entering the tank is the light switch. Nearly all tanks have interior lights and knowing how to find it can also help prevent a panic attack.
Anyone attempting floatation therapy for the first time needs to remind themselves that they are safe and calm. The doors are designed so they can not be locked or stuck and there is always plenty of air. Any problems will only be related to locating the doors and that is not so hard to do as long as calmness is maintained. It is sometimes a good idea to find the light switch first and then find the door. If panic does start to set in the best solution is to lie back in the water, breathe, relax and then look again for the lid.
* If salt water does make its way into the eyes it can sting very badly. This is because the salt concentration is so high, so it's important to remember these points:
- As soon as the hands become wet they must be kept off the face and eyes.
- Any time the hands are raised over the head for a change of position, they should go outside the head, not over the face. This avoids water dripping into the eyes.
- The hair needs to be carefully pushed away from the face anytime the floating position is changed and especially when sitting up.
- In case water does get in the eyes, there should always be a towel near the door of the tank for immediate use.
It only takes a single floatation therapy session to fall in love with the feeling. It provides a natural pathway to health and wellbeing and is a wonderful feeling everyone should experience.
Kevin Sinclair is the publisher and editor of My-Personal-Growth.com, a site that provides information and articles for self improvement and personal growth and development. http://www.my-personal-growth.com/