Floatation Therapy: From experiment to a common modern usage.

 Floatation therapy is a practice commonly used in experimental sciences from the 1950's to the 1970's. It was inspired by visitors to the dead sea, the highest salinity water body in the world, this famous inland sea just outside of Israel contains so much salt concentrated in the water, that swimmers in this water do not sink, instead the water allows them to float effortlessly just by leaning backwards. A tourist attraction for hundreds of years before, it was commonly used as a place to visit and relax, today this is still the case.

 In the 1950's, with interest in experimental psychology gaining rapidly, it was wondered what would occur if the same situation was produced within isolation. Tanks were constructed which contained around half a tonne or more of salt depending on volume, until the point where one laying in the tank would float without effort, the addition of sound proofing of the “pod” and lowering the temperature of the water to exact body temperature, were added to remove as much outside stimulus as possible. The idea here was to get as close to cutting off the human bodies senses of the outside world as possible, and find out what the results would be.

This was done for a few decades, with varying levels of hourly or daily participation levels. It was found to induce extreme relaxation, removal of stress and chronic fatigue, along with removal of some pain elements in people experiencing localised chronic pain. On the mental side, it was found the lack of stimulus allowed most participants, even those with high previous stress levels, to relax and completely clear the mind of thought, extended participation in some people even cut the bodies stimulus off so much that the brain began to enter a sleep like state, even while the participant was awake.

This lead some to experience open eye visualisations of varying patterns, some were also known to enter a dream like state while fully conscious, but in a deep level of relaxation far beyond that people experience when sleeping regularly in a bed.

Following these tests, the popularity of what was then known as isolation tanks or sensory deprivation tanks, dropped off, and not much was ever continued, until a resurgence in popularity within the private sector began to grow throughout the 1990's. No longer the use of doctors and experimental scientists, but enthusiasts of the previous research began creating their own tanks at home, and some businesses even began to appear selling custom made tanks to the public.

The popularity comes from those who seek to expand their mind and mental state, beyond that which is normally possible in regular daily life, users and owners of such tanks regularly comment that the tank allows them to enter a sleep like state, clear of all outside thoughts, feelings and emotions, something which is not possible in any other way.

This has been said to expand their creativity in regular daily life, allow people to completely control their stress levels, live day to day much easier without the clutter of thought normally associated with regular life activities, and many also claim to have been almost completely cured of chronic pain such as lower back and neck / shoulder pain. Athletes also began purchasing float tanks for use as an after gym recovery method, enhancing their sleep and calming their mental state, while taking complete weight off the body, enhances the bodies natural ability to recover and re-join torn muscle tissues experienced following weight and heavy training sessions.

This resurgence has lead to the creation of businesses modelled on floatation tank sessions, where by people can rent out a tank, usually for 1 hour blocks or longer, depending on what level of relaxation they wish to enter. Private owners of tanks have been known to sleep in such tanks for hours on end, one such well known participant of this is comedian and commentator Joe Rogan, who if you search youtube, you will find endless videos of his experiences with the tank, and benefits he has perceived from using such a tank himself for over a decade.

People suffering from high stress, lack of ability to sleep, chronic pain or muscle stiffness, or just those who wish to experiment and see how they can improve their mental well-being, are strongly urged to book in a 1 or 2 hour floatation session, where by one can begin to test out this method of relaxation of body and mind, and see the benefits directly themselves. It is often best beforehand, to avoid any stimulants such as tobacco or coffee, and when floating, it is often to do so unclothed, as the salinity of the water tends to weigh down any clothing or swimwear to the point where it is a distraction.

We expect services like this will only grow in the future, as basically all customers to this service have had nothing but positive outcomes to share following their sessions. This is an area of science that is simple in it's approach, and can benefit many people. Although the complete science of this method wasn't implemented in the public health realm, with so many people benefiting from this kind of float tank usage in the public realm, we may see the day in the near future when this type of service becomes a common place method for a majority of people suffering from a variety of mental and general health issues for which this method provides continued relief and personal benefit.
An article by Roy Ellery
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