A Brief History Of Floating
Floating has been around since the 1960s, originally developed by Dr. John C. Lilly. What began as an effort to study the effects of isolation on the human brain has since become one of the most effective therapies for overall wellness in the modern world. You may have heard of "floatation therapy," "sensory deprivation," "isolation tanks," and "R.E.S.T." among other terms—they all refer to the same thing—simply known as "floating" today. There are many benefits of floating regularly. Most commonly our guests and members float for stress relief, pain relief, and meditation.
WHAT IS FLOATING?
A float tank is essentially the perfect bath tub. They vary in size, but the typical tank size is 8′ long and 4.5′ wide. Air is allowed to freely flow in and out, and the door never locks or latches. While the various float tanks and pods that we have are different aesthetically, the inside environment and experience are always the same. Each tank contains a super-saturated solution of 10 inches of water and 1000 lbs of Epsom Salt. It's very shallow, but you'll be perfectly buoyant and suspended effortlessly on your back. Unless you've been in space, this is your first chance to get some relief from gravity!
Floating is an incredible tool for physical recovery. An hour in this environment does wonders for your body and your central nervous system, and the Epsom salt itself is also a natural anti-inflammatory. Without the persistent force of gravity pulling you down, chronic and acute pain is relieved, and your muscles get to fully rest. Unlike lying on a mattress, lying in water allows blood to flow freely all throughout your body, improving overall circulation. After an hour of weightlessness, your joints and muscles will thank you! While enjoying this well-deserved break, your body suddenly has loads of extra resources (usually spent supporting your weight, regulating temperature, and running from bears and tigers), which it gets to focus on things like healing and resting.
The other key aspect of the float environment is the vast reduction of external sensory input. Once you've gotten settled and closed the door, there's no light, no sound, and the water is heated to the same temperature as your skin at 93.5 degrees (the average resting skin temperature). Pure nothingness in the best way. We live in a world where we are bombarded by sensory input. This is a unique opportunity to take a break from it all! This is meditation made easy, with no distractions and an environment that is inherently warm, buoyant, and relaxing. A perfect introduction if you've never meditated or a big help if you find yourself getting frustrated or discouraged with a seated practice. And if you have any experience with meditation at all, you’ll find floating will help you to reach and maintain deeper states of awareness with ease. Research shows that by about 40 minutes into your float your brain stops producing its normal Alpha and Beta waves and starts going deeper into a Theta and even Delta state. After years of practice, people can enter this Theta state through deep meditation. Float tanks get you there effortlessly.
Getting rid of all sensory input allows the ‘constantly-make-sure-you’re-not-dying’ part of your brain to chill out for a bit, allowing the creative, relaxed prt to come out and play. Instead of fight-or-flight mode, floating helps you cultivate the rest-and-digest part of your nervous system. Without the constant pressure of analyzing the world around you, your body lowers its levels of cortisol, the main chemical component of stress. The reduced stimuli, the Epsom salt and the weightlessness create the perfect environment for you to release tension. Since you’re not glued to your phone, in a conversation, or trying to solve the world’s problems, you get a chance to reset and get back to baseline.
While we don’t like to set expectations too high, the potential for increased creativity, productivity, and flow is exemplified by countless floaters across the world. People have cut strokes off their golf game, developed complex scientific theories, and drafted whole portions of books while floating. With nothing to distract you, your level of concentration and knowledge absorption is astonishing. It’s also not uncommon for people to report gaining more patience, compassion, and acceptance for the people and circumstances around them as they cultivate the ability to stay calm and present.
Simply put, float regularly and the return on your investment will pay off. Your life will improve. We’ve seen first-hand how thousands of people have found more balance, joy, and inspiration from developing a practice around this amazing therapy.
There can be a bit of a learning curve, which is why we always recommend floating at least 3 times before deciding if floating is your thing. One float certainly has the potential to be transformative, but the effects are cumulative! Ask our staff, ask our members — they've all got inspiring personal float journeys to share.
So why are you here? Interested in meditation? Looking for a break from stress? Recovering from injury or training regimen? Want to learn more about yourself and discover your true potential?
Floating is your solution. We offer one-hour float sessions at both of our studios in Greenlake and downtown Bellevue. What are you waiting for?