What is Floatation Therapy
Floatation therapy involves the use of an enclosed spa like tank, known as a float tank, floatation tank, isolation tank or float pod. This tank is large enough to easily fit your body with room to position yourself, containing an Epsom-Salt water solution (500kg Magnesium Sulfate) which is heated to average skin temperature (35°C). With the water containing this much Epsom salt, it causes buoyancy of the human body, supporting and removing the effects of gravity, leaving you feeling completely weightless and allowing your entire body to relax.
Commonly used as a tool to relieve stress and achieve deep relaxation, the process of floatation aims to remove sources of discomfort and stress by depriving your senses in an environment free from external stimulation. To allow for profound relaxation, pain relief and a shift in consciousness.
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Benefits of Floating
Floatation therapy is a widely accepted form of alternative treatment for a variety of conditions and ailments. Many studies and reports have shown float tanks to be extremely beneficial to both physical and mental health, along with providing an overall effect for general well-being. To experience the full benefits floatation therapy has to offer, we recommend taking part in regular float sessions, as the benefits and effects are cumulative.
By reducing the pressure and weight applied to the human body, floatation allows muscle tissue to relax beyond what is regularly achievable via other means. This promotes expedited muscle repair and significantly reduces muscle fatigue.
Maximises blood flow and distribution of red blood cells
By removal of skeletal muscle tissue stress and tension, the body experiences the ability to reduce muscle fatigue throughout the body.
This muscular relaxation effect benefits cardiac muscles, enabling muscles to pump oxygen containing blood around the body with ease, aiding in greater blood uptake and oxygen delivery into skeletal and smooth muscle tissue.
Improves athletic performance by accelerating rehabilitation and recovery, and reducing the risk of injury
Floatation is known to have significant effect on post exercise muscular blood lactate and oxygen availability levels, with significantly lowering blood lactate presence immediately following a floatation session.
In addition, the Epsom salt solution within a float pod boosts magnesium uptake through the skin which becomes available to the muscles, dampening the inflammatory response, known to cause pain during Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) [Pain following exercise/muscle fever].
The combination of these effects induces faster acute recovery from strenuous exercise.
Supports with flushing of lactate, cortisol, ACTH and adrenaline
Blood lactate levels have been shown to decrease following floatation sessions. This effect combined with others such as a reduction in cortisol and an increase in magnesium availability (provided by the Epsom salt solution) provides the body with an increased effect on short term muscular recovery.
ACTH levels have been shown to decrease following sessions within an isolation tank. Excessive ACTH levels are known to release excess cortisol within the body and promote a catabolic effect upon the muscles.
The above effects are prolonged with regular floatation sessions.
As moderate to high intensity exercise is known to provoke increases in circulating cortisol (and ACTH) levels, the use of a floatation tank following exercise is highly recommended.
Assists with pain relief and management
Floating has a tremendous positive effect on blood circulation which enhances the distribution of oxygen and nutrients into the system, this coupled with the weightless environment within the tank allows the entire complex of muscles and joints to relax and increases healing for muscles, tissues and cells.
This assists those who have suffered physical trauma or even those suffering from chronic pain to heal faster. Floatation allows an individual’s spine to decompress to an extent that it provides almost instant relief for the spinal cord which alleviates symptoms commonly associated with tendinitis, bursitis, arthritis and psychosomatic pain.
Induces profound relaxation
During floatation the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the body’s fight or flight response, is suppressed whilst the parasympathetic system, which is responsible for the rest and recovery responses, is engaged.
This has a direct impact on relaxation levels which in turn assist in decreasing muscle tension, blood pressure, and heart-rate. Sensory deprivation also reduces the level of stress hormones while simultaneously increasing the level of endorphin production which gives the body a boost of positive reactors that promotes mental and physical healing.
Improves creativity, alertness and critical reasoning
Sensory deprivation allows the brain to enter into a much lower wavelength commonly referred to as the theta state, which is the brainwave state which occurs most often during deep meditation, and produces a dreamlike state of consciousness.
When in the theta state, which is related to creative and non-linear thought, the brain goes into a transition not normally experienced while an individual is awake and conscious.
This change has benefits such as increased levels of creativity and interpretation, which assists in producing ‘out of the box’ thought patterns.
Floatation therapy produces a combination of both enhanced relaxation and heightened awareness, both of which are critical ingredients for enhanced visualisation. Visualisation is the process of creating mental imagery of a future task, as a training tool so that one will perform better once undertaking that task in person.
Visualisation is a powerful tool that allows individuals to perform better in critical tasks, some examples of people who commonly use visualisation techniques are athletes (sports visualisation) and public speakers. By prior visualising a future performance in the mind, actual performance is known to beneficially increase.
Visualisation helps significantly reduce disturbing feelings such as hopelessness and performance anxiety, while inducing feelings of physical comfort, cognitive clarity, and emotional stability, which is then carried on into the actual task at hand.
Creates mental clarity
Floatation promotes a positive change in thinking, feeling, and perception, with significant decreases in anxiety and stress symptoms.
Accelerates learning and expands awareness
Floatation induces the brain into what is known as the theta state, a level of consciousness normally associated with deep meditation and dream like consciousness. While in this state, the brain becomes more accepting to suggestions due to the low level of distraction presented with in the sensory deprivation tank.
This has a direct impact on the brains available level of data retention and processing, as well as improving memory due to the enhanced resources at the mind’s disposal.
Encourages synchronisation of left/right brain
The level of interaction between the brains right hemisphere, which is responsible for creative processes, and left hemisphere, which is associated with analytical processes, are improved whilst floating. This has a direct impact on the levels of brain performance and productivity which in turn improves competency and confidence levels.
Facilitates an increase in alpha, theta and even delta brain waves
During floatation, the brain is able to shed the huge amount of sensory information obtained through sight, smell, temperature and gravity. With these external stimuli removed, the body is able to free up an enormous amount of resources, allowing the brain enter into levels of consciousness normally reserved to areas of hypnosis, deep meditation and rest / recovery.
With the brain free from stimuli and able to access these brain wave patterns not normally obtained while conscious, it begins to synchronise itself entirely towards producing optimal mental performance.
Enhances self-hypnosis and deep meditation
Without regular sensory input, the brain quickly shifts towards a state very similar to that obtained during hypnosis and deep meditation.
The effects of this, known as the theta-state, produces profound relaxation, along with inducing an altered and positive state of consciousness, otherwise described as a positive change of thinking, feeling, and perception, which can last for weeks after the actual float session.
Alleviates mental and physical stress by reducing cortisol
Floatation produces a dramatic reduction in blood cortisol levels, along with a reduction in blood pressure and heart rate, allowing each muscle group the ability to completely relax while promoting recovery.
This also has an effect on mental performance, by the reductions in these stress signals, the brain produces endorphins, creating a lasting sense of inner peace and wellness, which is usually very difficult to obtain without the aid of a floatation tank.
Lowers blood pressure
Floatation tank users experience a significant reduction in blood pressure following each float. Lasting reductions can often be obtained by regularly partaking in floatation sessions.
Improves sleep patterns and assists with jetlag
Most people report improved sleep patterns after floatation therapy, an hour of floatation is equivalent to that of 4-8 hours of deep sleep, floatation also assists in resetting of the circadian rhythm (the method the body uses to detect time of day) which regulates our daily physiological processes.
Due to the effects which assist the body to detect and correct the circadian rhythm, floatation is also excellent for reducing the effects of jet lag.
Aids in healing conditions that include insomnia, depression, anxiety, phobias and addictions
One of the most dramatic areas of change from floatation is mental health, specifically in cases of insomnia, depression, anxiety, phobias and addictions. Floatation often provides lasting assistance in all the these conditions, along with promoting a sense of well-being.
Reduces symptoms of headache and fatigue
Floatation tanks use a mixture of 50% Epsom salt to 50% water. Epsom salt contains magnesium sulphate which is easily absorbed through the skin into the body.
A healthy level of magnesium sulphate in the body assists in liver detoxification and reduces symptoms of headache and fatigue due to the interference caused by magnesium on receptors which register pain.
Through the reduction in available cortisol and ACTH, along with the ability to assist regulation of blood pressure, floatation greatly improves circulation within the body.
Corrects magnesium deficiency
Floatation tanks contain a 50% solution of Epsom-salt, otherwise known as Magnesium Sulfate.
During a session within the floatation tank, the skin absorbs large amounts of magnesium which is delivered to the muscles and into the blood stream, greatly improving the amount of available magnesium within the body.
Benefits of available magnesium in the body includes muscle relaxation, muscle repair/recovery and improvements in mental functioning associated with low magnesium levels.