What is Flotation Therapy?
After my first session I honestly thought it was magic. It was astonishing how short a time it took for very wonderful things to begin happening in my life. Not only was my overall sense of wellbeing heightened immediately (continuing days after the float), but my migraines practically vanished, and sleep cycle effortlessly rebooted. I haven’t given up yoga or a healthy diet, but floating is now a part of my weekly routine for a balanced lifestyle. And for those of you that think floating is new-aged mumbo jumbo.. think again. Floating has been around for over 40 years, and has oodles of published research to back it up. No mumbo jumbo here.
Modern science has conclusively shown that health exists when balance is maintained within the various systems of the body. In the ideal state of homeostasis, we have a tremendous capacity to maintain health and function at optimum levels both physically and mentally. However, stress powerfully disrupts the systems that modulate the psycho-neuro-immunological responses of the body. When stress becomes chronic, it creates imbalances that lead to many serious diseases like cancer, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, mental illnesses, etc.
Floatation Therapy is a unique and powerful tool that is highly effective at combating chronic stress and its associated conditions. Floating is also highly enjoyable and creates profound experiences of relaxation and wellbeing. Floating combines the sensation of weightlessness with an experience known technically as Restricted Environment Stimulation Therapy (REST). Over 1,000 pounds of Epsom Salts are dissolved into a pool with water that is maintained at human skin temperature (93.5F). This super-saturated Epsom Salt solution creates a hyper buoyant environment where users naturally float on the surface without any effort.
The effortless floatation frees the user from the effects of gravity, facilitating a deep relaxation of the body and a state of meditative calm within the mind. From a health perspective, meditation has been shown to reduce blood pressure, calm the nervous system and increase alpha wave patterns in the brain. Recent studies suggest that it dramatically improves the immune system by reducing anxiety, worry and stress. Regular meditation produces an increased number of antibodies and improves brain function as well.
During flotation the brain is freed from the constant demands of orienting the body in space and processing external stimuli. Freed from these two major cerebral demands the brain can slip into profoundly deep and rejuvenating states of relaxation, which eventually leads to slower brainwave patterns. The experience of floating also aids the body in reaching a state of homeostasis where various bodily systems are able to reset themselves and recalibrate for optimum function. Two such systems are the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, responsible for the fight-or-flight response and the relaxation response. Modern research has thoroughly documented how chronic activation of the sympathetic nervous system by routine daily stressors is the hallmark of the modern stress epidemic.
Our stress response system was evolutionarily designed to keep us alive in the face of infrequent and transient physical threats, not persistent abstract worries. Over-activation of the stress response and the resulting flood of stress hormones creates the cascade of negative physical and mental effects commonly associated with stress disorders. When these negative factors persist over prolonged periods of time we end up with a whole host of chronic and degenerative disease conditions. Various studies have shown floatation sessions to be an immediately effective and practical tool to reduce elevated levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, as well as immediately lower blood pressure without any drug intervention.
The intentional activation of the relaxation response through floating not only eliminates the negative effects of stress by reducing elevated levels of stress hormones and relaxing the nervous system. It also positively effects our biochemistry by naturally increasing pleasing and beneficial dopamine and endorphin levels, the combined effects of which contribute to a whole host of benefits including: increased performance, longevity, intelligence, memory and wellbeing.