The first question that you may have is what is a float pod?
A float pod is an egg looking pod that is filled with about 12 inches of water and is the home to 1000 pounds of epsom salt. There is a relaxing blue light in the pod to help you relax. You can float to your own music, meditate to your favorite mediation program, or float in complete silence. The amount of salt in the water allows you to float on top of the water giving you a sense of being completely weightless. There is a lid that is meant to be shut to help you shut out the world during your session and TOTALLY RELAX!
Why should you float?
Floating provides multiple benefits like stress reduction, enhanced creativity, help in sleeping, treatment of chronic pain, and muscle soreness. The saltwater solution is made from Epsom salts which are rich in magnesium, a mineral in which most people are deficient in. Floating gives your mind the quiet and space it needs to easily find answers to problems that have been causing stress.
The science behind floating.
Float tanks have also been called sensory deprivation tanks. Float tanks or float pods help create an environment for deep relaxation by reducing over-stimulation and inhibiting the body’s stress response. This activates the parasympathetic nervous system, reducing stress and activity in the sympathetic nervous system. This also lowers the stress hormone, cortisol, in the body. This then brings the immune and endocrine systems into balance.
Floating allows the body to rest without any of its pressure points being touched or disturbed. Floating has also been shown to increase the depth of meditation one can access so they can manifest all the benefits associated with deep meditation like lower blood pressure, brain preservation, improves concentration and focus, reduces anxiety, and can even help with addiction.
STUDIED BENEFITS OF FLOATING
Mindfulness and Reduced Stress
According to the American Medical Association, 60% of all human illnesses can be derived from stress. Justin Feinstein, Ph.D. is the director of the only float lab in the US, The Float Clinic and Research Center at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research. Through his studies, he is finding positive scientific data that floating does decrease stress and increase mindful meditation: “Our preliminary analyses are showing that the stress circuits of the brain are shutting off post-float.” The near-zero gravity state of the float tank allows the body to relax and because it reduces the outside minutia, people can look inward and practice mindful meditation. With the removal of outside stimuli, floaters focus on what is in the pod with them, most notably, their heartbeat and their breathe. Many people who have difficulty meditating find it much easier in a pod.
Reduced Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety affects about 40 million adults in the US and depression affects nearly 15 million adults each year. Often treated with medication and talk therapy, float therapy is a new methodology that is gaining ground. In a 2001 study conducted by the Journal of Canadian Pain Society, it was found that floatation sessions decreased anxiety and depression and increased optimism. In a 2014 study, 65 participants were randomized into a wait-list control group or a floatation tank treatment group who received twelve floatation session over seven weeks. The control group has a rise in depression; whereas the flotation group saw a nearly 50% decrease in depression. It was then concluded that floatation is successful in reducing stress and depression symptoms.
Improved Creativity and Productivity
Being able to shut your mind and body off from all external stimuli like with floating allows you to be more creative and productive. In a 1987 study conducted by the University of British Columbia, five psychology professors participated in six, one-hour float sessions and six, 90-minute sessions sitting alone in their office. After each session, professors would dictate research ideas into a tape recorder. Findings showed that the research ideas post-float session were more creative than the office sessions. It indicates that “These findings support the prediction that REST (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique), that you get with floating in a float pod, would facilitate high-level creative behavior and positive affect.” In another study of 40 university students, one hour of floating resulted in increased scores on a standardized test specifically used to measure creativity.
Reduction in Pain
The magnesium in the Epsom salt eases muscle, joint, and low back pain, as well as increase circulation and reduce blood pressure. In a 2006 study involving seventy patients, 54 of which who had stress-related pain, found that after twelve floatation-REST treatments pain, stress, anxiety, and depression decreased. Optimism or positive attitude, sleep quality, and prolactin increased and stayed increase for up to four months after treatment. It was determined that floatation-REST is an effective way to treat stress-related pain.
Fibromyalgia, a disease which is characterized by widespread pain and fatigue, has a new friend in floating. In his paper, “The Effects of Flotation REST on the symptoms of Fibromyalgia,” Dr. Borrie found that study participants diagnosed with fibromyalgia experienced, “Significant reductions in pain, muscle tension, stress, anxiety, and sadness, as well as significant increases in relaxation, feelings of well-being, energy, and ease of movement,” after only three sessions. These subjects also experienced better sleep quality.