When it comes to relaxation and taking time out of your busy schedule, many of us choose to read, take a quick nap, go for a walk or make a quick visit to the gym and sauna to take our mind off things.
Maintaining a daily or even monthly routine to clear your mind is essential in today’s world, and if you’re seeking new alternatives to relax your body and mind while enhancing your day-to-day focus to increase your chances for the next promotion or handle the busy schedule of your family, there is one trend on the rise and it may be more accessible than you think.
Float tanks, also known as deprivation tanks, are spreading quickly and being installed in spas across the globe. But why are people from all walks of life going crazy about floating in the dark? If you’re on the search for a beneficial practice to clear your thoughts, or you’re seeking a spiritual reset, here’s how float meditation will enhance your mental health while also leaving you with a focused mind.
What is Float Meditation?
Sensory deprivation has been studied by neuroscientists and psychologists since the mid-1950’s, and ever since, spa and rehab centers have adopted the float tank for body and mind therapy.
More people swear by the benefits a float session provides and even by word of mouth it is the new hip and healthy thing to do.
A popular topic in yoga circles, sports teams, and the family dinner table, float therapy has also received airtime on popular podcasts, radio shows, and cable television.
More people today are seeking a calm and quiet refuge for even just an hour out of their week, and many are turning to once-a-month or weekly float plans to enhance their mental stability and increase focus.
If you’re wary or creeped out by the fact of floating in complete darkness for an hour, you may reconsider after learning more about this helpful way of decluttering your busy mind.
Depending on your location, floatation tanks are fairly easy to find, and prices vary depending on the hourly rates at your local spa or rehab center.
Essentially, a float tank is a large tub filled with an average of 200 gallons of water mixed with 800-1200 lbs of medical grade Epsom salt (Magnesium Sulfate.) If you passed fifth-grade science, you know this means your body will have the buoyancy of a boat! The water is shallow, usually, six inches to a foot deep so if you can’t swim, don’t worry because you can’t and will not sink.
Many modern float tanks now offer meditative music through underwater speaker systems and colorful mood lighting if you do not wish to start off your session in total darkness.
There is a large hatch-type door above the tub which opens with a compression hinge, so don’t panic about being locked inside. These tubs are easy to access, even for disabled floaters, and are filtered routinely so the salt doesn’t settle. But why are businessmen and women, along with stay-at-home moms, college students, Athletes, and recovering drug addicts seeking this new form of therapy?
The Benefits of Float Therapy and Sensory Deprivation
As humans, we are always in motion, and every day we feel, smell, see, hear, and speak. When you find yourself lying down in your first deprivation tank, you may feel odd.
Some won’t necessarily enjoy resting in complete silence and darkness, and that’s okay. However, if you truly want to escape from your busy lifestyle, going dark and silent does wonders for the mind and produces long-term clarity and focus.
For first-time floaters, you may only want to start off with a one-hour session and work your way up. Sometimes an hour is enough, and sometimes an hour feels like you just started.
But one-hour is plenty of time to notice results in your mood, attitude, and focus. If you’re a seeker of spirituality or just feel like calming your mind and body down from the fast-paced stimuli of life, some benefits of floating are:
- A decrease in Sleep Insomnia
- Lower Blood Pressure
- Allows Muscles to Relax and Recover After A Work Out
- Enhances Clarity and Focus
- Sparks Creativity
- Reduces Cravings and Withdrawal Symptoms
- Reduces Bodily Distress Syndrome
- Calms Nervous System
- Balances Immune and Hormonal Systems
You’re Floating, Now What?
If you’re considering floatation therapy, here are some quick tips to keep in mind when taking a dip. Before your float therapy visit, practice lying motionless in your bed before going to sleep.
Practice deep breathing meditation to clear away the day’s problems and tomorrows woes. It takes time to reach altered states of relaxation while floating and if you wish to benefit your everyday concentration and interactions with others around you, practicing deep breathing techniques assist in anger issues, awareness, and your general well-being.
Before you leave your house or at the spa, it is wise to take a shower before entering the deprivation tank to rinse any hair or skin products off your body before entering.
Wear earplugs if you wish to keep the salt water out of your ears. Some spas offer a floating pillow, but they are not entirely necessary.
Whatever you do throughout your float session, avoid touching your eyes and face or dunking your head beneath the water.
Your local float center or spa should provide a spray bottle of fresh water or a damp fresh towel. The salt water will irritate your eyes and could throw off your meditation or resting period. If salt water does seep into your eyes, don’t worry and wipe them off calmly then proceed with your floating restoration.
Once you’re horizontal and floating, remain as still as possible. Practice deep breathing in the darkness and get comfortable by letting go of everything. Don’t swim or move around. Just be.
You will notice that there is no sound, no light, and with the water temperature set at our average blood temperature of 98-degrees, you will begin to feel like you are floating in nothingness.
You are deprived of all senses whether your eyes are closed or open, you cannot tell the difference. The float tank is a complete disconnect from the outside world, and if you practice meditation regularly, you’ll find it easy to fall into a clear awareness and a steady focus.
Meditation with the void of all senses eliminates the ego and allows you to focus on future goals, relationships, your desires, or simply don’t focus at all. Just breathe your problems away into nothing. Either way, you wish to float, you can control your thoughts and ponder your destiny or rest the mind for a soothing and easy recharge.
If you don’t feel successful after your first attempt at floating, try a second or third visit, and you’ll have it down to a science. There are long-lasting and noticeable mental changes when choosing the float tank method, and if you wish to see life more clearly, find a nearby float center and experience the benefits yourself.