Floatation is a great way to improve mental health, especially for stress and anxiety. A significant number of floatation studies have been conducted showing a positive mental state outcomes following floatation on almost all participants, including healthy subjects, and having floated myself personally a number of times, I can also vouch for this.
Floatation therapy involves floating inside a sound proof and light proof float pod, square shaped floatation tanks were popular for some time from the 1970’s until a few years ago, though now the more recent tanks tend to be a pod shape, looking similar to a shell, with the top opening up to allow for an easy entry and exit.
There are a few reasons why floatation therapy is beneficial, firstly it allows a chance to spend time in an environment completely free from external stimuli, a number of sensory deprivation studies show that even without floatation being involved, spending time in a environment of no light, no sound, and in a comfortable position, induced significant levels of relaxation and mental peace. By adding the extra method of floatation to this, the benefits of the sensory deprivation experience are greatly enhanced.
Floating in the tank allows you to become aware of your thought processes, and take control of them easily, choosing what to think about, or choosing not to think at all. Many people experiencing stress and anxiety do not realise why they are feeling the way they do, so float pods are an excellent way to really uncover your thought processes and begin to see from an outside perspective what is going through your mind, once people become aware of this, they can then choose to dismiss thoughts or develop different ways of thinking.
Switching the mind off completely however tends to produce the most profound feelings both during and after floatation therapy, even if you think switching off completely would be difficult to do, the great thing is this becomes extremely easy once you are inside the tank.
Once your thought processes stop completely, you have absolutely nothing to focus on, apart from simply being inside the tank, in total peace and quiet, with no stress on your body due to the floatation effect, and without the ability to sense the water due to the temperature being the same as the human body. This promotes the mind to slow down, process thoughts and feelings which it hasn’t had a chance to do previously, along with helping to train the mind to not seek the requirements of constant stimulation.
The experience from floatation is akin to a very deep state of meditation, the best thing (and reason why it has become so popular) is that this deep meditative state is often induced entirely by the experience itself. You don’t need any special training to get these benefits, and following the float and throughout the following weeks, the relaxation and calm within the mind continues.
Many people also find benefits in creative thinking, positive thinking, personal motivation and increased productivity following floatation sessions. For people with severe anxiety or persistent phobias affecting daily life, the meditative state induced by the floatation tanks can help enormously to counter these thought processes and begin to free the mind from the cycle of thought inducing the problems.
Even if you feel your mind is perfectly healthy and your day to day life is pretty much stress free, floatation tanks can still produce a boost in your mental state, this is especially noticeable following a float, the mind feels completely at ease, beyond what is normally possible, a strong feeling of contentment and peace of mind overcomes you, and the body feels completely free from tension. Many people report this after feeling as a ‘glow’ both physically and mentally.
Before taking part in a float session, it is important not to have any expectations on what the experience will be like, or the benefits you will receive afterwards, just enter the tank without expectation each time, and you will find positive benefits will come on their own.
It is very important not to consume any stimulants such as caffeine and tobacco for at least 2 hours prior, as these can take away from the experience.
If you have any skin conditions or cuts which are still healing, you can apply some petroleum jelly to the affected area before floating (this will be supplied by the floatation centre), as the Epsom salt solution inside the tank can cause a stinging feeling. If you prefer not to apply petroleum jelly however, the stinging often only lasts around 10 minutes before subsiding, and the extremely high level of Epsom salt in the water is very beneficial to the skin.
Floatation tank therapy pricing is often between $55 AUD ($40USD) and $90 AUD ($70) per hour session, for people who find they get a lot out of the experience and wish to complete sessions regularly, discounts are often available for bulk sessions, memberships are also regularly available to save you money over the long term.
For more information on floatation, please visit the Rest House Float Centre website.