A Brief History
An isolation tank/pool is a lightless tank in which subjects float in salt water at skin temperature. They were first used by John C. Lilly in 1954 to test the effects of sensory deprivation. Scientists at the time assumed that the brain would stop functioning if the sensory input was removed. Lilly found that just the opposite was true!
He discovered that the brain has a prime opportunity to rest and recover when external stimuli are removed. This leads to increased creativity and reduced stress, all while producing a sense of well-being and euphoria! Such tanks are now also used for meditation and relaxation and in alternative medicine. The isolation tank/pool was originally called the sensory deprivation tank.
Today's Uses and Benefits
Short-term sessions of sensory deprivation are described as relaxing and conducive to meditation. People use relaxation techniques for the following reasons, among others:
- Immune System Support
- Anxiety Attacks
- Athletic Recovery
- Cardiac Health
- General Well-being
- High Blood Pressure
- Preparation for Hypnosis
- Anger Management
- Pain Management
- Stress Management
- Addiction Treatment
- Nightmare Disorder
There are thousands of Float Centers around the world that are helping people holistically. The US is on the verge of recognizing and valuing holistic remedies like countries such as Sweden, and Australia. The Swedish Floatation Association is working to “integrate floatation therapy into the national health care structure so that it is officially recognized as a therapeutic treatment by state authorities, medical communities, and national health insurance programs.”
What To Expect
A therapeutic session in Theta’s floatation pool can last from 60- to 90- minutes. The float often ends with a transition from beta or alpha brainwaves to “theta”. In a float pool, the theta state can last indefinitely without the subject losing consciousness. Many use the extended theta state as a tool for enhanced creativity and problem solving or for super learning. The more often the pool is used the longer the theta period becomes.
Floating can be passive or active, depending on the purpose. For relaxation, one simply floats and ‘clears the mind.’ Active floating has many different techniques. One may perform meditation, mantras, self-hypnosis, utilize educational programs, etc. The idea of active floating is that, when the body is relaxed, the mind becomes highly suggestible and any action taken during these states will enter the information into the sub-conscious. Floatation therapy may be used to complement other body work and healing methods.
- 1,400 Pounds of Epsom Salts
Our pool environment is humid. There are 12 inches of water in the pool with 1,400 lbs. of epsom salt dissolved in it. When you lie back you will float like a cork. Your ears will be under water. There are earplugs available if you would like them, and we recommend them for an optimal experience.
- Buoyant Body Positions
You can experiment with the best body position for you. For example, hands behind head, on your chest, along your sides. If you have tension in your neck you can relieve it by clasping your hands behind your head or using a head float.
- Keep the Salt Out of Your Eyes!
If you get any salt water in your eyes you will be uncomfortable for a few minutes. To avoid getting drips of salt water in your eyes, push your hair back on your forehead when you change from lying down to sitting up. Also keep your salty hands away from your eyes. If you do happen to get salt in your eyes, we provide a towel and fresh water where you can easily reach it, and use it to wipe your eyes.
- Be Aware of Cuts, Scrapes, and Recent Ink Work
If you have cuts or scrapes, have recently shaved/waxed, or have fresh ink work there may be stinging for several minutes. If you have any open cuts use liquid bandage to seal them. We also provide vaseline to conceal open wounds.
- Last Stop Before Boarding
Remove your metal jewelry and contact lenses. Shower, shampoo, rinse thoroughly and dry your face before you get in the pool. Conditioner is available for AFTER your float. Our products are organic, aloe vera based, and non scented. We ask that you use our products to eliminate scents in the room, which is reserved for restricting the senses.
- The End
Then get into the pool. After an hour passes the pumps will turn on to cue you that your float session is over and the filtration system will begin cleaning the tank. Some people don’t hear the signal and if you don’t hear it, you will feel the gently moving water as your signal to get out. Sit up, stand and dry the salt water from your feet before stepping onto the tile floor.
- After Your Float
Your body has salt water all over it. Be sure to shower after your float to remove access salt from your skin. There is a robe provided if you need more than 5-10 minutes to transition. The bathroom has the all amenities you need.
- Set Your Intention(s)
We recommend taking a moment prior to your float to reflect and set the intentions for your float. You may discover more about your body, mind, emotional body, and spirit while floating. If you need more support after your float please feel free to talk with your trained float facilitator.
Enjoy your float and check with your guide for any additional information.
A: The things you should know are:
a) If you shave or wax 2 or 3 hours before using the pool, the shaved skin will sting for a few minutes. If you can postpone your shaving, you will probably be more comfortable.
b) If you wear contact lenses, it would be a problem if any salt water got into your eyes. If you remove your contacts you don’t have to be concerned about it.
c) If you have caffeine before you float, it may interfere with your ability to relax.
d) If you have colored your hair within the past two weeks the salt may bind to your hair and pull the color out. We recommend waiting two weeks after your color treatment. If you have dyed your hair with henna ink or black hair dye we prefer you not to float. If your hair color tints our pool there is a fee to replace the water ranging from $500-$1000.
A: You can eat. If you eat a very heavy meal you may spend a lot of time listening to your digestive juices. And, on the other hand, if you get very hungry you may spend a lot of time listening to your digestive juices. Moderation works.
A: Not that we know of. People of all ages and walks of life seem to enjoy the experience equally. What seems typical is how good everyone looks when they come out of the pool.
A: We don’t recommend tank use for epileptics whose epilepsy is not under medical control; for people under the influence of alcohol, drugs, those with infectious diseases, open skin wounds, or those with suicidal tendencies.
A: Yes! We suggest that pregnant women inform their physicians or midwives and get their opinion prior to using the tank. The reports received from pregnant women have been enthusiastic. As their bodies get heavier, floating is a great relief from the pull of gravity. Floating has given many women a welcome rest. We highly recommend this blog post
A: Yes. So long as you can go 90-minutes without needing to exchange your tampon or Diva cup. Tampons can soak up the salt, so we recommend using a cup or waiting until your cycle is finished.
A: The Epsom salt solution seems to be beneficial to the skin. We have listened to some opinions that say epsom salt is very good for strengthening the hair. We know it’s good for roses, why not hair? You thoroughly rinse the salt from your hair and body when you leave the pool.
A: Yes, you can wear one, but it won’t keep your hair dry. It would be too tight around your head to keep you hair dry.
A: Since it is a private experience, most people don’t wear anything. Anything you wear will press against your body, becoming a distraction. In this regard imagine it as similar to getting into your bathtub.
A: Yes, some people fall asleep in the float pool, and some people use the float pool for sleeping.
A: All the ways are right. Each person should find whatever position is comfortable for them. Some people float with their hands at their sides, some with their hands folded across their chest or abdomen, or behind their heads. You can keep your head at either end or sit up if you like. Float the way it is comfortable for you and explore what is best for you.
A: No. Not unless they lay face down in it, and are capable of tolerating the sting of the salt on the eyes, nose and mouth.
A: People who say that they are afraid to use the float pool because they are claustrophobic probably assume that they will be confined to an enclosed space. However, the float pool experience is in an open room without a closed overhead compartment. You are in control of the situation and can get in and out when ever you want. You should use it in the way it’s comfortable for you. The float pool is such an excellent place to go through claustrophobia that if you want to get rid of yours, it is probably the best place to do it.
A: No, It is safe to sleep in the float pool. The reason people think it may be dangerous is probably the fear of rolling over. Even those people who say they never sleep on their backs in bed, sleep on their backs in the float pool. It is very difficult to roll over in the tank because of the density of the solution, and if any of the salt solution gets in your eyes, mouth or nose, it is an immediate signal that something must be done.You would wake up immediately.
A: Yes! Both of our pools are large enough for two people to float at the same time. We recommend this if you are nervous about being alone, or if you would like to share this experience for someone. Most people wind up preferring to float on their own after floating with a friend or a spouse.
A: We don’t know what it will be like for you since it is such an individual experience. The most common reports are profound peace and relaxation, deep concentration and creativity.
We like to avoid saying too much before people use the float pool, so that they aren’t influenced by what someone else says. Not only will it be different for you than it is for anyone else, it will be different each time.
A: Yes, if you want to make use of the potential. For us floating is not a finite experience. It touches the infinite. Most people, but not all, get a sense of what floating will be like after they float 3 to 5 times.Those who see the potential the first time, want to return again and again.
A: No. This is a matter of individual preference. Some people prefer morning, some prefer night. The best way to find out is to experiment by using the tank at different times of the day.
A: Yes. And it may be good to arrange your time so you don’t have to rush. Many people enjoy savoring the peace and quiet before jumping into something hectic.
A: Yes. There seems to be a cumulative effect with consistent use of the float pool. This is not documented by research, it is the floaters who know it is true. Relaxation is a learned art that needs practice.
A: The term “sensory deprivation” describes areas of scientific research that consider the effects of reduced environmental stimulation. The words are an unfortunate choice for those of us who are presenting the floating experience as something pleasant, attractive and relaxing. We notice that people run away from us when they hear the possibility of any form of deprivation. As a result we are careful to point out that the senses are fully operational and in fact, the senses are very pleased to be relieved from the prevalent atmosphere of sensory overload. Stimulus reduction is an accurate description of the tank environment.
A: Yes! Floating is beneficial for everyone, including pregnant women. However, we highly recommend those suffering from any medical conditions consult their physician prior to floating.
A: We recommend that you not be too full or hungry before you float, and caffeine and alcohol should be avoided immediately prior to a session in order to maximize relaxation.
A. Our float pools are spacious (8 feet long, 5 feet wide and 2 feet high) allowing one to put their arms over their head, out to the sides, and sit up in the pool if necessary. Although many choose to float in complete darkness, inside lighting is available.
A: Yes! Salt is a natural anti-microbial and antiseptic, especially at the high concentration present in the floatation pools. The water in our pools is completely filtered through our high-tech filtration system between each float.
A: The floatation cabin is filled with only 10-12 inches of water and has such a high density of Epsom salt that any individual, big or small, will float like a cork atop the water.
A: Epsom salt, or magnesium sulfate, is a chemical compound containing magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen. Combined with water, it raises the water’s specific gravity, resulting in a dense solution in which a body can float effortlessly. Epsom salt has been proven to be highly absorb-able by the skin resulting in countless benefits to the body including detoxification, strengthening of the immune system, heightened endorphin release, and relief from physical, mental, and emotional stress and fatigue.
A: Floating allows the brain to produce a greater amount of theta waves, generally resulting in an increase in mental clarity, creativity and memory function. It is said to increase the release of the endorphins, which leads to elevated mood states and alleviation of anxiety, depression, and negative mental habits.
A: Most people prefer not to wear anything at all. However, women are welcome to float in a bathing suit or sports bra and/or underwear. Men may float in tights, a bathing suit or underwear. We ask that you not wear anything cotton as it gives off excess lint and fuzz in the water, which then builds up over time in the filter. Rest assured that our float rooms are completely private.
A: Yes! Floating is ideal for pregnant women as it alleviates pressure on the skeletal system and joints and assists in relieving muscle tension. We do recommend that pregnant women consult their physician prior to floating, especially during the first trimester.
A: The benefits of floating can be felt immediately after one session. New floatation research regularly reveals more remarkable benefits from repeatedly using float tanks. The more often you float, the better it is for you!
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