Floatation therapy also knows as Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique (REST) is an area of integrative medicine that is gradually gaining a lot of popularity. It is a process in which a person floats weightless in a tank known as floatation located in a private room where the person is in a relaxed and calm state. A typical floatation therapy session lasts for one hour.
Floatation therapy is practiced more in Europe but is rapidly gaining popularity in the United States.
History Of The Floatation Therapy
The first floatation tank was designed in 1954 by John C. Lily, an American physician, and neuroscientist. He designed the tank to study the origin of consciousness by cutting off all external stimuli. In the 1960’s, his research took a controversial turn as he began experimenting with sensory deprivation while under the effect of an anesthetic LSD and Ketamine, a hallucinogenic and fast acting anesthetic that has the ability to sedate and create a trance-like state. From the 1970’s to date, more floatation has been created and studied and their health benefits have been proved.
What Is A Floatation Tank?
A floatation tank is a soundless and lightless tank filled with a solution of water and Epsom salt heated to outer skin temperature (approximately350c). The floatation tank is also referred to as an isolation tank, float tank, sensory deprivation tank, and REST (Restricted environmental stimulation therapy) tank. The tank reduces external stimuli such as sound, touch, and light.
The salt water is extremely buoyant making it easy for the user to float. Epsom salt has been proven to have a lot of benefits ranging from relieving stress to easing aches and pains and many other benefits. The salt is rich in magnesium which is the second most abundant element in the human body and is very vital to good health and general well being. During the floating process, the Epsom salt solution aids lymph drainage and increases the absorption of magnesium.
Research has shown that increasing magnesium in the body has the following benefits;
Relaxation: Raises chemicals in the brain that works to create a feeling of relaxation
Relieve stress: Stress and excess adrenaline are believed to drain magnesium which is a natural stress reliever for the body. Magnesium helps in binding serotonin, the happy hormone.
Detoxification: Magnesium flushes toxins and heavy metals from the body which in turn helps to ease muscle pain and eradicate harmful substances picked up from the outer environment.
Epsom salt also provides sulphate that is quite difficult to gain from food but is easily absorbed through the skin. Sulphate helps in the formation of brain tissues.
Are Floatation Tanks Safe?
Floatation tanks are suitable for healthy individuals from the age of 16 above. It is unsuitable for people who are less than 16 and people who have some certain medical conditions like ;
Low blood pressure
Any contagious disease including gastroenteritis and diarrhea
If you are pregnant or have the following condition; Asthma, heart conditions, psoriasis, eczema, psychosis, sensitivity to magnesium, chlorine, and bromine. See your health practitioner before using the floatation tank.
Benefits Of Floatation Therapy
Floatation therapy has helped a lot of patients who have been diagnosed with cancer deal with their experiences of anxiety, insomnia, fear, and pain.
The therapy stimulates the release of endorphins
Rejuvenates the mind and body
Creates calmness and Relaxation
Improves sleep and insomnia
Improves healing, creativity and visualization
Reduces mental and physical stress
Helps with fatigue
Improves mental clarity and deepens your mental state
Improves self-realization and discovery
Helps with anxiety and depression
Relives bones, joints and muscles
Decreases the perception of pain
Relieves migraines, arthritis and Rheumatism
Helps with pregnancy pain
Helps with fear and addiction
Improves blood circulation and lowers blood pressure
Relieves aches, strains and pains
Is Floatation Therapy Good For Athletes?
Floatation therapy has been beneficial to the athlete’s performance. It has helped them visualize their performance for success. Has proven to be effective in speeding up their recovery after strenuous physical training by decreasing the production of blood lactate, cortisol, and adrenaline.
Has also helped athletes master the inner game and has helped synchronize their mind, body, and emotions. It resets their body’s chemical and metabolic balance and reduces the risk of further injuries.
Are They Side Effects Associated With Floatation Therapy?
Some people have reported having hallucinations in a sensory deprivation tank.
Users will generally experience a heightened sense of sound, smell, and light after a session
First-timers may experience nausea
Epsom salts help to prevent wrinkles on your skin as it contains an emollient (softening and soothing) effect.
Points To Note:
To get the most out of your floatation session, its recommended you eat something 30 minutes before your session
It is also advisable you avoid caffeine 4- 5 hours before your session
Reschedule if you are currently having sunburns
Shaving or waxing is not recommended before the session as the salt can irritate the skin
Reschedule if you are currently on your menstrual flow.