Floatation, also known as floating, is a practice where you float effortlessly in a special pod of Epsom Salt water. Without the constant noise of analysing the world around you, your body lowers its levels of cortisol (which is the main chemical component of stress). Your brain releases elevated levels of dopamine and endorphins.
Your muscles, joints, and bones take a well-deserved break. Your mind becomes still and your body suddenly has loads of extra resources, which allows it to focus on things like healing and resting – the stress simply floats away. The spine lengthens an inch, chronic pain is relieved, and your muscles are allowed to fully recover. Unlike lying on a mattress, lying in water allows blood to flow freely all throughout your body.
About 40 minutes into your float at The Float Spa in Hove, your brain stops producing its normal Alpha waves and starts churning out Theta waves. The Theta state is typically associated with advanced meditative techniques and provides an immense clarity of thought and an experience of the pure essence of being. Floatation is a tool that makes this state easily accessible to anyone.
Even the magnesium-based Epsom Salts, we use at The Float Spa in Hove are good for you. They soften and replenish your skin, and help counteract the magnesium deficiency that most of us have due to depleted magnesium levels in our soil and food.
Floating has many benefits especially on the mind, body and on your overall being:
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Stimulates endorphins in the brain
Helps to reduce stress, anxiety and depression
Promotes skin and hair health
Improves athletic performance and eliminates fatigue
Aids weight loss and reduces bloating
Speeds rehabilitation from injury
Has a painkilling effect
Relaxes muscles and joints
Improves sleep and encourages deep rest
Changes ingrained behaviour, such as addictions, phobias and fears
Cardio - Vascular Conditions
Floatation at The Float Spa in Brighton & Hove has a natural beta-blocker effect, which is very effective for people with high blood pressure. It is also evident that Floatation therapy will help patients with heart problems, this occurs through the decrease in ventricular overload due to the reduction of systemic blood pressure and of oxygen consumption.
Muscular-skeletal and rheumatic conditions
The main benefits derived from floating in muscular-skeletal and rheumatic conditions are initially based on two factors.
The first is the reduction in the force of gravity that the body experiences inside the float tank. This allows a better blood flow that will improve the general conditions of affected joints. This is particularly affective for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, traumatic injuries, and also chronic degenerative problems like Osteo-Arthritis.
The second factor is the release of endorphins into the system. Endorphins are natural painkillers that block the transmission of pain at the synaptic level.
These decrease markedly the perception of pain, helping to break the vicious circle of chronic pain/depression that we often see in these cases.
• Myofascial pain release
• Restless Leg Syndrome
Those suffering with Fibromyalgia will know there are very few remedies, research has shown that Fibromyalgia patients found a significant decrease in pain both from the beginning to the end of a float and in-between float session to float session.
One significant cause of insomnia is stress, if you can reduce stress levels then this can be incredibly effective at helping people sleep at night. In addition to this, many people have trouble falling asleep because their brain has trouble downshifting from their Alpha waves into the Theta Waves that act as a gateway to sleep. Floating helps people’s brainwaves naturally drop into this Theta State, meaning their body can easily make the transition into the Delta waves required for sleep.
People with Autism generally have a lot of trouble filtering the sensory information around them, Floatation therapy can help to make an especially chaotic environment relaxing, with time this can aid daily routines.
The problem with smoking is not getting people to stop, but to get them to stay non smoking – this we call the maintenance effect. Floating has a very unique way of making a long lasting change in the mind and behaviour of people this combined with the initial willingness to stop smoking sees great success stories. At The Float Spa we will be teaming up with a Life Coach to help provide positive messaging in the floatation tanks, this will help to change the mindset of people into stopping smoking. For more information on these positive messaging, please speak to a member of the team.
This is very similar to smoking, getting someone to initially stop taking dugs is one thing, but getting them to stop for lasting periods of time is the main obstacle. Floating has a very unique way of making a long lasting change in the mind and behaviour of people, this combined with the initial willingness to stop taking drugs, sees great success stories. At The Float Spa we will be teaming up with a Life Coach to help provide positive messaging in the floatation tanks, this will help to change the mindset of people into stopping drug taking. For more information on these positive messaging, please speak to a member of the team.
Many modern researchers see the floatation pod as the optimal environment for enhancing an individual’s powers of visualisation and self-management. By combining deep physical relaxation with a highly receptive, visually vivid theta brain-state, the floatation tank helps an individual’s ability to generate and manipulate visual imagery, and use imagery to maximum effect.
In the floatation pod your mind is free from distractions and you are ready to devote yourself to learning and retaining knowledge.
There is both anecdotal and experimental evidence to support the enhanced creativity that the float tanks provide. University studies showing increased skill at Jazz improvisation, and other creatively taxing activities. Both technical skills, and overall depth and quality of creations rose in conjunction with floating.
Hemispheric Brain-wave Synchronicity
EEG readings taken in relation to sensory deprivation show an increased synchronicity of brainwave frequencies across our left and right hemispheres. This indicates a level of mental efficiency, health, and clarity. Both research and anecdotal evidence has shown enhanced problem solving and cognitive ability.
Skin and Hair Health
Despite most people’s immediate impression that soaking in a tub with that much Epsom salt would dehydrate or pickle you, Epsom Salt is wonderful for skin and hair. In fact, Epsom salt’s main use in the world right now is cosmetic.
The term “relaxation” is vague and subjective. It can be used to describe any activity that brings temporary release from the pressures of life – watching TV, pursuing a hobby, drinking alcohol, surfing the internet, soaking in a bath, dancing until dawn…
Floating is different, by turing off the outside world, allows your body to reach a state of pure relaxation which is unlike any other experience.
Stress is rampant throughout our culture, the havoc this can have on the human body is well documented. Floatation therapy is possibly the most relaxing environment we can put our bodies into. Relief from stress comes almost instantaneously whilst floating and lasts longer the more you float. Consistent floating may help alleviate all of the following:
• Apoplexy or stroke
• Coronary heart disease
• Migraine or tension headaches
• Rheumatoid Arthritis
• Burn out syndrome
• Fertility issues
• TMJ syndrome
Research has shown more and more ailments to be closely related to stress.
Strengthened Immune System
Floatation therapy allows the body to fully relax, and without external stimuli the body resources are freed up and energy can be reallocated towards building up our defences, giving us a nice boost of immunity during and after a float.
Overeating is very complex. A sensory deprivation session with weight-reduction messages is very effective. Studies show that people who underwent the therapy were able to lose an average over six kilograms over the following half a year compared to those who were equally determined to lose weight. The most striking aspect of the study is that the people who combined the sensory deprivation with messages continued to lose weight steadily, month after month, and were still losing weight after six months when the study was completed. In fact, in the last four months of the six-month study period, the sensory deprivation group lost about two kilograms while the other groups gained some weight. In addition, amazingly, this continuous and extended weight loss was the result of only one session of REST.
In succeeding clinical studies, the technique was modified by personalising the taped messages played to the subjects in the Floatation tank, and found that the results were even more impressive, with some of the subjects losing as much as 30 kilograms within two months.
Pain Relief and Injury Recovery
In addition to the constant pain, physical injuries keep many people from working effectively. Floatation therapy can help your body to heal injuries twice as fast whilst floating and people have seen the recovery process speed up significantly. This can bring sports players back onto the field faster, and is an ideal treatment to coincide with many forms of physical rehabilitation.
• Expediting healing in fractured bones and in sprained joints
• Relief from back and neck pains
• Spinal alignment
• Structural Alignment
Emotional Pain Relief
Floatation therapy is an ideal environment for working through traumatic or painful memories without the emotional charge they usually carry. The reduction of stress hormones prevents the body from triggering the same emotional stress cycles usually created when reliving painful memories, allowing us to reprogramme our brains to dissociate these traumatic memories from the stressful neurochemicals they usually release.
Floating maximises the benefits of fitness training, exercise, and workouts. Although exercise stimulates muscle growth, the growth occurs during relaxation, some 30-40 hours after exercise. The deep relaxation of floating improves blood circulation, and accelerates the growth and regeneration of muscle tissue.
In the London Olympics in 2012, some athletes used floatation therapy in order to improve their performance.
Parents and Mothers-to-be often hold in tension from changes happening in their lives and bodies. Floatation is a wonderful respite and great for a quick rejuvenation to help mothers-to-be prepare for their impending new arrival. In some cases women have noted a greater connection to the baby whilst in the floatation pod and some tell of babies becoming more active during this time.
Floating free from Habits & Addictions
Addiction is simply a compulsion to continue doing something. It’s not the initial giving up which is the issue, it’s the ongoing stopping which is the difficult part.
In the period immediately after quitting a habit, the floatation pod alleviates the pains of withdrawal and enables the user to feel some pleasure. Floating also reduces the level of such anxiety-related biochemical as norepinephrine, which is released in great quantities during withdrawal. A session in the float pod alleviates some of the depression and anxiety usually associated with “crashing” or cutting off consumption of the drug after a period of use.
Similarly successful results have been obtained in using the tank to help heavy drinkers reduce their alcohol intake, or stop drinking altogether.
The Floatation tank can be used as a self-assessment tool to devise programs:
• For the first time you can even work on coming up with solutions.
• What you want to say to yourself in the tank, which is in its self very therapeutic. • Then each session that follows becomes a kind of booster session, adding power
to the suggestions you have already incorporated into your life.
This way the behaviour modification programmes can have their greatest effect.
The BBC reports that 14,800 deaths a year, related to prescription drug abuse, more than Heroin and Cocaine combined. This number is rapidly growing. Float tanks have been an incredible tool for assisting in the process of breaking a pain killer addiction, see addiction tab.
Although your body enters a level of physical relaxation that is even deeper than sleep, in the float pod your mind remains awake and dreamily alert, just above the threshold of sleep. Large areas of the brain are suddenly liberated from their normal workload of processing signals from the nervous system and sense organs. There is a sharp drop in the level of electrical activity of the brain (measured on an EEG) from the usual 20-25 Hz down to 4-8 Hz. EEG readings show a slow, rhythmic wave pattern known as the theta state.
This is where your learning abilities are at their highest and powers of visualisation and autosuggestion are greatly enhanced. Measurements of the brain waves produced by experienced Zen meditators in deep satori show large amounts of theta activity across the cortex. For most people, however, the theta state is almost impossible to enter without falling asleep. In the float pod, you enter this elusive state effortlessly and enjoyably, and stay in it for most of the float session.
Overall Well Being
As subjective as this sounds, there is actually a psychological evaluation that attempts to quantify people’s general well being, which float tanks have been shown to dramatically improve.
Gravity Reduction Benefits
We use large portion of our mental and physical resources counteracting the force of gravity, the relief of this effort leaves our body with a surplus of energy and processing power at its disposal. The floatation pod is the only easily accessible place to counter the gravity, and allow your body to truly rest and recover.