Floatation Tanks: The Holy Grail for Mindfullness and Wellness

Inside an enclosed floatation tank
Instagram @resthousefloat : Used with permission

In recent years there has been great interest from the medical community over the latest findings associated with enclosed floatation tanks based on the consistent positive outcomes of floatation therapy, which started off as a mood enhancing activity in the 70s to what floatation has come to be today.

Current findings indicate that floatation tank therapy has a profound impact on the human body that elevates dopamine and endorphin levels significantly and the positive attributes of floatation therapy does not just stop there, in fact various researchers conducting experiments on individuals with sensory deprivation tanks have come to collectively agree on the amazing ability of floatation tanks to not only lower blood pressure, but also ease symptoms that are commonly related to anxiety and depression apart from helping individuals with sport injuries to heal faster.

Image Source: Taken by AuthorOther more current findings based on clinical trials show that during floatation therapy, the amygdale which is the sector of the brain responsible for the ‘fight or flight’ response is ‘turned off’ or rather left in a ‘dormant or inactive’ state, this revelation has stirred the medical community to look into other prospects of floatation therapy due to the fact that  the ‘flight or flight response state’ that chronic pain sufferers are constantly contending with intensifies pain and based on the fact that floatation therapy is able to deactivate the amygdale the fight or flight response becomes absent and this in turn helps individuals suffering from chronic pain to manage their painful symptoms in a much better way without the help of narcotics.

This particular finding has renewed interest on the half a century old scientific phenomenon introduced to the world by Dr. John Cunningham Lilly around circa 1964 when the world was heading towards an era which we now call ‘the psychedelic era’ which was actually appropriate for such a device to be constructed and accepted due to the openness of that era to anything that seemed ‘out of space’.

Dr John C. Lilly first studied floatation during the late 1950's, to understand what occurs within the human brain during total sensory deprivation, his early tanks required participants to wear a fully enclosed face mask, and to submerge themselves totally within a tank of water, curling their body over to enable a natural floatation where by only the back of the subject was exposed to external air, with the remainder of the body totally submerged. Following his initial floatation studies, he persured other areas of study, one such area noted for its eccentricity was the development of communication between humans and dolphins, before returning once more in the late 1960's in a partnership to develop a modern floatation tank which would be commercially viable.

During this time, he developed the idea of total saturation of the water with Epsom Salt, which caused complete buoyancy of the human body, and allowed the floatation participant to float on the surface of the water on their back, with the tank being enclosed to enable the removal of external light and sound, and the water heated to exactly 35.5 degrees Celcius, the exact temperature of the human body, to remove the ability for the skin to sense the water being present. This method is still the same as is used today, and provides a superior experience to the tanks Dr. Lilly initially developed during the '50's.

According to the medical community, the only other way for an individual to achieve the altered state of mind that can be induced within minutes within a floatation pod is via deep meditation, which not many people are able to do as deep meditation takes years of practicing and perfecting the art of meditation. The concept is that when an individual reaches this point or state of mind either via meditation or floatation therapy, their brain frees up resources within their brain and which allows the brain to automatically focus on other areas of their body that is commonly neglected by the brain due to its constant preoccupation with external stimuli such as gravity, sound, temperature etcetera.

Therefore, it does seem that the scientific community has stumbled upon the holy grail of medical science which has been sound for more than half a century and has only now gained attention, partly also due to the fact that what can be measured now by science could not be measured back in the 60s, 70, 80, or even 90s for that matter. Most of these findings are quite recent due to advancements in other areas of technology that allows researchers to probe deeper and more accurately on any concept, theory or procedures.


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