What is Floating?

In the modern world, the abundance of stimulations can confuse our brain and create stress. Sometimes listening to yourself can be very difficult: It’s like talking to someone in the middle of a loud crowd. This is why we often seek escapes, either by having some time alone by ourselves or a trip to some place where our concerns and worries can be left behind. Float Therapy is a powerful way to detach the mind from external stimuli.

Sensory deprivation is a new powerful relaxation therapy gaining popularity. Created by John Lilly, the sensory deprivation chamber creates an environment free of all distractions enabling the body to truly relax. In this deepened relaxed state the body’s natural abilities to heal, focus, and harness creativity are heightened. This makes floating a powerful learning tool for any student, artist, or person looking to get the most out of their profession. Some celebrities that have utilized floatation tanks are: John Lennon, Robin Williams, Jeff Bridges, Burgess Meredith, Carl Lewis, Kris Kristofferson, Susan Sarandon, William Hurt, Peter Gabriel, Kirk Douglas, Neil Young, and George Carlin.

Sensory deprivation can be understood as an assisted-meditation therapy where all external stimuli are removed, therefore enable floaters to enter the meditative state and be in it for longer without being disrupted. Reports of a heightened sense of introspection and out-of-body experiences by tank users mirror those of people with extensive experience in meditation, and both practices have been linked to decreased alpha waves and increased theta waves in the brain — patterns most typically found in sleeping and meditative states.

Everyone has floated in a sensory deprivation chamber. They just don’t know it.

The isolation chamber is said to resemble the perfect state which we last experienced in the womb. In this state of relaxation, there is heightened brain wave activity which allows the floater to look inward. This introspection can be very productive for the floater. Feelings of serenity, inspiration, and creativity are common when fully relaxed in the float tank. Also, once fully relaxed in the chamber, most people report a feeling of “floating in space” and “oneness with the universe”.

Is it necessary?

Yes. In a fast paced world it’s very easy to neglect our health. Our bodies are exposed to excessive stress forcing us to operate in “fight or flight” mode on a daily basis. However, when the stressful stimuli and sensory nutrients are removed from the environment, like in an isolation tank, cortisol stress hormone is reduced. The brain focuses on healing and higher consciousness. Floating gives back that well-needed time for recharging the body.

Do the effects of sensory deprivation changes with repeated use?

We recommend the 90 minute session for all clients, especially beginner floaters. For the first few sessions you might find it takes 30-45 minutes to just let go of your own body tension and mind chatter. As a result, you get more of the “good part” of the float by staying in longer. This settling in process shortens over time with multiple floats. Stilling the mind takes a lot of meditation practice! We highly recommend committing to the longer session and doing your best to push through the unpleasant thoughts and emotions because this will lead to more equanimity & calmness in daily life.

Words from John Lilly – Father of Sensory Deprivation

“By attenuating vision, hearing and the proprioceptive sense, and floating at the surface so that the gravitational field is reduced to the minimum, you can relax every single muscle. Even your ear muscles, your neck muscles, your hands, your arms, your back, and so on. You can find the areas where you are holding needlessly, and you can let go. Once you do this, and go through all this, and get the inputs to the brain down to the minimum possible, you suddenly realize that that is what has tied you to consensus reality, and now your free to go.”

“The first thing you get is physiological rest. You’re free of gravity; you don’t have any more of those gravity computations that you do all day long. Finding where gravity is, and in what direction, and computing how you can move and not fall takes up about 90% of your neural activity. As soon as you start floating you’re freed of all the gravity computations you’ve been doing all the time, so you find you have a vast piece of machinery that was being used for something else and you can now use it for your own purposes. For example, you can instantly feel that you are in a gravity-free field. It’s as if you are somewhere between the moon and the earth, floating, and there’s no pull on you. As soon as you move, of course, you know where you are, but if you don’t move, your environment disappears and, in fact, your body can disappear.”

(John Lilly, from Tanks for the Memories; Floatation Tank Talks, by Dr. John C. Lilly & E.J. Gold.)