Floatation Therapy: Sensory Deprivation
July 10, 2017 –Jessica Luibrand and Amelia Leigh
“Floating” is described as relaxing in a weightless state in the silent warmth of a floatation tank free from gravity and all sensory stimulus which impacts our lives each day. People float in skin temperature water that is diluted with over 1,000lbs of Epsom Salt (magnesium sulfate). The idea for the Float Tank was dreamt up by visionary neuroscientist, John Lilly, M.D. His work included biophysics, neurophysiology, electronics and neuroanatomy; as well as interspecies communication with dolphins and exploration of the internal space of our mind. Floating has evolved since the tank’s inception in the 1950s. The tank still closes off all 5 senses from any external stimuli which brings about a unique awareness of your internal environment. This new insight into your inner state has been scientifically proven to benefit the body—both physically and emotionally. There are many benefits of Floating ranging from the physical to spiritual. People float to achieve deep relaxation and stress relief; pain management and to synchronize of the right and left hemispheres of the brain to enhance creativity and problem solving. Floating also allows an easy access to theta brain wave state and helps to greatly deepen a meditation practice.
Glenn Stokoe, the owner of Float North County in Solana Beach, decided to open his place after being a client of Floating for a number of years. He has done hundreds of Floats and recommends people try at least three to get the full experience. He invited me and Amelia to check it out. We were ecstatic of course, excited to not only experience what Floating was all about, yet also to perform a bit of research. We will tell you more about that in a future TLC Magazine issue. (Stay tuned!)
Glenn walked us through how to prep for our Float – showering off before hand and getting comfortable in the tank. He instructed us to first explore the space around us, how far we were away from the wall, how deep the water was, and then get settled in. For people with neck or ear issues - like us - there were noodles and ear plugs provided.
The temperature of the water is the same temperature as the human body, so it keeps you cozy and warm. One of the coolest things I noticed right away was not only can you hear your heart beat, but you can hear your muscles stretch! You hear yourself existing! At first, the silence is deafening. You realize how much noise there is in the outside world.
Being certified in yoga and biofeedback, I started playing with the voluntary and involuntary functions of my body – stretching and trying to speed and slow down my heart rate using the breath. Having all your senses blacked out really brings you up close to what is inside. You begin sinking deeper into your self, your body, your bones and then you blast out the other side into a blissful dimension.
It is amazing how good your body feels being totally suspended in weightlessness. The whole body just hangs in the balance of this dark inner yet outer space. Floating feels like you are held in a protected universal womb. The boundaries between you and the water begin to dissolve and you forget where you end and the outer world begins. It is an incredible way to shut-off all external stimulation to help the body achieve a natural restorative state (similar to meditation).
The Float tank was an extraordinary experience that we would highly recommend everyone try at least once (or 3 times as Glenn says!) The experience definitely evolves deeper every time you Float. For athletes, the spiritual crowd, meditators, psychonauts and the like, there is something special for everyone waiting for you at FLOAT North County. Mention this article for $10 off first float.