Floatation Therapy: Sensory deprivation or just a unique state of mind
With a passion for defying gravity and for creating a uniquely satisfying experience, Sydney Floatation Therapy Centre has opened it’s doors in Brookvale. Paul, the Founder, has always been passionate about floatation therapy, and this Mother’s Day he is on a quest to get all health-conscious mums floating.
What’s flotation therapy?
The floatation tank was first developed by John C. Lilly the 1950’s. He used it in order to test the effects of sensory deprivation during his training in psychoanalysis at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in Washington.
Quite quickly it became obvious of the remarkable benefits of the float tank, supported by endorsed studies at over 100 universities, hospitals, and sports training centres around the world.
Floatation therapy is now used for meditation, relaxation, stress reduction, pain relief, injury recovery, accelerated healing, performance enhancement, and even as a natural alternative to some medicines.
A tank is filled with around 800 pounds of Epsom salt dissolved in about 10 inches of water.
You open the tank and lay on your back in the water.
You can keep the lights on, and listen to soothing music or a guided meditation, however it is encouraged to float in complete silence and darkness.
The theory is that after about 40 minutes, your brain shifts into theta waves, bringing you to another plane of relaxation and clarity.
I was excited, and a little apprehensive about my Mother’s Day present – a float-tank adventure.
I booked an hour-long session and I arrived at the centre. I was impressed by the warm welcome from Paul who proceeded to give me a full run down.
He explained that the tank was filled with Epsom salt-saturated water heated to skin temperature. He gave me earplugs, showed me where the lights were, how to get in, etc.
And then he left.
I climbed in, closed the door and was engulfed by total darkness.
Almost immediately after settling in the warm, pitch-black tank, one of my senses disintegrated: my body orientation. Without the normal external cues, I felt like my body was spinning like arms on a clock face.
Fortunately within minutes of entering the tank, my muscles started to relax and I allowed myself to sink into the warm cocoon of water that supported every inch of my body.
My family booked this session because I suffer pain and fatigue from Fibromyalgia/Lyme’s Disease. I was thrilled to discover that the release of gravity’s impact helped me relieve a large amount of tension and pain.
I was defying gravity and little by little I started to release every, single, muscle. For the first time, in a very long while. And it was bliss.
The sensory deprivation tank also created the perfect environment to experience the deepest relaxation possible – a powerful pain-reliever in its own right.
Immersed in the tank, my muscles were able to fully relax, and I could literally feel the stress hormones relaxing with it.
At the end of the session my body was much less tense, and my mind was clearer, and in the afternoon I was able to focus on the tasks at hand.
"Dealing with stress is essential for good health and vitality, and that’s what makes floatation eternally fashionable – being de-stressed looks good on everyone!"
Whilst the “floating” was busy clearing away my stress hormones, another chemical release happened that was highly beneficial – the release of endorphins.
Endorphins are our “happy” chemicals and create an overall sense of wellbeing and peace.
When I met my husband at the other end I was very relaxed and happy. It was the perfect combination for some loving and romance.
Floating was also helpful for my sleep issues. When I was deeply relaxing my parasympathetic nervous system took over and I felt immense relief from muscle pain.
In fact I couldn’t feel it at all. The release of these feel-good chemicals made me feel awesome – and that night I slept like a baby!
As its popularity grows, floatation therapy has been the subject of increased scientific interest. New studies are showing floatation therapy has some surprising benefits.
A recent study shows that the resting brain, while floating, is particularly adept at synthesising information from a wide range of brain areas to solve tough problems.
It has also been found that floatation facilitates creativity. I certainly found after the float, that I was able to generate more “creative” ideas.
Although floatation is about isolation, just one session was able to anchor me in the centre of who I am, ready to be present with the things that matter most in my life, especially my loved ones.
With more membership floats to go, and counting, I am feeling loved, relaxed, calm and above all blessed this Mother’s Day.
For the "ultimate relaxation" this Mother’s Day give a float a try. Gift Vouchers available.