7 Ways Floating Lowers Blood Pressure

Blog Post by Cayla Zahn, A Better Me Spa, July 18, 2016

High Blood Pressure affects over 70 million adults in the U.S. In Wisconsin, high blood pressure affects over 33% of the population (a little more than 1,895,662 people).  Although it causes no symptoms, high blood pressure boosts the risks of leading killers such as heart attack and stroke, as well as aneurysms, cognitive decline, and kidney failure.

While medication can lower blood pressure, it may cause side effects such as leg cramps, dizziness, and insomnia. Fortunately, floatation therapy has been found to reliably reduce blood pressure to healthy levels without the use of medicines or invasive medical treatments.

Here’s 7 ways that floating lowers blood pressure naturally:

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1. Unlike laying on a bed, when you float your entire body is relieved of all contact pressure. With nothing pressing against your body, this allows your blood vessels to fully dilate (vasodilation), instantly reducing blood pressure and maximizing blood flow, oxygen, and red blood cells to your entire body.

2. Each float room is filled with 1,000 pounds of Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulfate). The Epsom Salts helps to relax your muscles and detox your body – getting you into the deepest relaxation of your life.  The lowered muscular tension ensures better blood flow.  When you float, the Epsom Salts are absorbed through your skin and encourage increased dopamine production. Dopamine is the “feel good” reward hormone naturally produced in our brains. Blood pressure drops when we feel good, so naturally stimulating increased dopamine production is a great way to manage high blood pressure. Magnesium also eliminates the stress hormone ACTH and helps produce Serotonin, which helps you relax and get a better night’s sleep.

3. When you float, you reach a state of equilibrium.  It is marked by deep stillness, and at times you may find yourself barely breathing.  Not only are you physically not doing anything, but there’s no sensory input to process either, so you enter into a state of minimal energy output.  Your body uses less oxygen, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard, and your blood pressure is lowered.

4. Be aware of your breathing. Slow and controlled breathing not only keeps the mind and body functioning at their best, it also is a huge contributor in lowering your blood pressure, promoting feelings of calm/relaxation and helping us de-stress. The idea in breath awareness is to distract the mind from thoughts, words and/or images by focusing all of your attention to the natural rhythms of the body. To practice breath awareness in the float room, simply breathe in as deep as possible through the nose, pause a few seconds (not holding the breath but allowing it to flow through the body before exhaling) and then fully exhale all the while focusing your attention on the process. When thoughts inevitably arise, don’t resist them. Simply let them pass like a cloud moving through the sky and gently return your awareness to your breathing.

5. The conditions of the float room, combined with your relaxed internal state, enforce the feeling that the float room is a very safe and comfortable environment.  There is no external stimuli to process, which alone can cause stress, anxiety, and activate your sympathetic nervous system. The usually dominant left hemisphere of the brain is slowed down and the right hemisphere enters a state of increased activity. This allows both hemispheres to synchronize and achieve a state of harmony and balance.

6. The right tunes can also help you get low blood pressure. Stepping into the float room, you first hear the soft relaxation music that helps you enter a state of calm. 

“In a study reported at the 2008 meeting of the American Society of Hypertension, researchers at the University of Florence in Italy discovered that patients with high blood pressure who listened to music for 30 minutes a day — specifically, classical, Celtic or Indian music — experienced a decrease in blood pressure.”

7. Floating is also great for making internal changes that can help in lowering blood pressure, including weight loss and smoking cessation. Check this video with Dr. Peter Suedfield on how Floating helps create long term changes in behavior.  

CONCLUSION

Hundreds of studies with floating have shown dramatic decreases in stress, heart rate, blood pressure, including hormonal and biochemical changes, and increases in physical health and mental wellbeing.  One of the more prominent studies found that

“Results indicate that the flotation condition significantly reduced blood pressure and increased subjective relaxation…the patients systolic and diastolic blood pressure decreased significantly more than subjects who only did guided relaxation tapes…It is suggested that floating may be used to treat essential hypertension.”       (Jacobs, Heilbronner, Stanley, 1984)

If you or someone you know is having trouble balancing their blood pressure, floatation therapy is a great way to do so! The benefits of floating last for months once you start regular sessions and it gives your body the chance to become accustomed to regular periods of deep relaxation.

Breath Techniques for Float Sessions

There are a few techniques I use during all of my float sessions:

1) Normal Breath - This may seem straight forward, but too often we get hung up on the idea that we need special breath techniques.

Normal breath is simply the observation of your breath as it passes in and out of your nostrils. This technique strengthens the connection between your body and mind. When your mind starts to wander, draw all your attention to the skin of the nostrils and philtrum (the space below the nostrils above the lip).  Your breath may be slow, fast, shallow, deep, hot, dry, moist, truncated, peaceful, noisy, etc. whatever is happening don't stress about it. OBSERVE your breath as it is and do not wish to change it. Every time your mind wanders (and trust me it will!) do not get upset or frustrated. Smile, acknowledge what has happened and start again.

By honing your attention to this small area you will begin to sharpen your mind and improve your focus. If you wish to go deeper into this technique continue reading here.

Liliya Drubetskaya, FloatOn Artist Project

Liliya Drubetskaya, FloatOn Artist Project

2) Ujayii Breath (pronounced ooh-JAH-yee) - This breath is often used in Ashtanga and Vinyasa style yoga classes to raise breath awareness and naturally build heat inside the body.  

If you want to practice your Ujayii,  constrict the whisper muscles at the back of your throat, seal your lips and exhale through your nose. If you are doing it properly you will create the sound of ocean waves. This sound is soothing and is effective at centering you at the start of your float session. 

The added bonus of Ujayii is that it warms the body from the inside. If I ever find myself feeling a chill during a float session, I will start to practice this breath. After 5 to 10 breaths heat immediately begins to build in my body.  For a more in-depth explanation of Ujayii click here. 

3) Tongue Sipping (Sitali) - This is breath is also used to raise breath awareness. It is used to cool the body during the warm summer months.

To practice sitali curl your tongue and stick it out of your mouth. Inhale deeply through your tongue as if you are sipping through a straw. You should immediately feel a cooling sensation on your tongue and in to your throat. Bring your tongue back into your mouth and exhale through your nostrils. 

If you are unable to curl your tongue, there is a similar technique called sitkari. Gently let your upper and lower teeth touch. Open your lips as wide as you can comfortably and inhale through the gaps in your teeth. Close your mouth and exhale through your nose.

If you are ever feeling warm during a float session practice 5 to 10 breaths of tongue sipping to gradually cool the body. For more information on tongue sipping click here

Every float session is unique. Our bodies are a little different each day. Our body temperatures fluctuate based on the hormonal changes, circadian rhythms, exercise and disease. The next time you are floating try out these 3 breath techniques. Experiment and gauge the impact of these techniques on your focus and comfort during your sessions. Happy Floating! 

By Lindsay Reinhardt, September 25, 2016

 

Lindsay is the Co-owner/Operator of Anicca Float Club with her husband Paul Feyer.  When she is not floating she can be found running around the Float Club, laughing like a hyena, riding her bicycle, eating scrumptious vegetarian food and striking random yoga poses. 

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After a Two Week Hiatus I Get Back in the Float Tank

Sometimes life gets away from us, we get too busy, or too distracted or something unexpected happens that shakes up our usual routines. Recently, I inadvertently took two weeks off of floating and I was eager to get back in the tank.  I had been meditating daily outside the tank, but my body was achy and looking forward to physical benefits that go along with floating. Here is my float story... 

I stepped into the float room and did my initial float tank limbo to keep my chest and belly from submerging. I leaned back and as always the water perfectly embraced my body. I slowly swayed back and forth for a few minutes occasionally tapping the walls with a finger or a toe as the waves from my entry dissipated. I drew my attention to my breath and strength of my heartbeat. I felt my heart reverberating in my chest cavity generating tiny waves of water around my rib cage with each thump.

I stayed with my breath and gradually sensations arose all over my body. I mentally scanned from the crown of my head through my toes. I noted sharp shooting pains from my right shoulder, deep rumblings from my intestines and powerful vibrations from all 10 toes. I am grateful for my Vipassana meditation practice, it has trained me to observe all these sensations, but to remain as equanimous as possible.  These strong sensations gradually give way to more subtle ones. Eventually, my breath slowed and I drifted away. I feel like I have left my human avatar for the universe of vibration and energy. Ah... I feel at home.

Photo Credit: Leslie Hero, FloatOn Artist Program

Photo Credit: Leslie Hero, FloatOn Artist Program

Some unknown length of time passed in this in-between state when suddenly fear jolted through my entire body. My heart raced and I began breathing quite heavily. I felt as if I was a bunny being chased by a pack of ravenous wolves.There are jarring flashes of light vivid that I began to question whether or not I was still alone in the float tank. I managed to settle back, thinking of the advice we often give to floaters when anxiety surfaces. 

BE WITH IT. OBSERVE IT.  STUDY HOW IT RISES AND OBSERVE HOW IT WILL PASS AWAY. 

I was restless and struggled to return to my peaceful state. Eventually, the anxious sensations dissipated, my breath slowed and returned to a deep state of peace from being with my own nothingness, then... beep, Beep, BEEP!

My meditation session had ended and it was time to me to reenter the world little lighter, calmer and wiser than before.  For me, every float is an opportunity to learn and grow, to release some baggage, to appreciate the impermanent nature of the universe and the impermanent nature of ourselves. One only needs to be quiet and still enough to observe it.

-Lindsay Reinhardt, Anicca Float Club, Inc. 2016 ©

 

Lindsay is the Co-owner/Operator of Anicca Float Club with her husband Paul Feyer.  When she is not floating she can be found running around the Float Club, laughing like a hyena, riding her bicycle, eating scrumptious vegetarian food and striking random yoga poses. 

What do we call it: Sensory Deprivation Tank, Isolation Tank, Floatation Tank?

This is an amazing post from the Samadhi Tank Company. If you are curious about the history of Floatation Therapy it is definitely worth reading. Enjoy!

 

Original Art Work by Tia Davis courtesy of FloatOn

Is the term Sensory Deprivation Tank a misnomer?

We find it to be more of a Sensory Enhancement Tank. Listening to your heart beat, muscles pop, eyelids blink, and taking, the time and space to actually feel your breathing rise and fall ­ in all these ways and more a Floatation Tank actually enhances the senses.

But the terms Sensory Deprivation Tank and even the solemn sounding Sensory Deprivation Chamber are already ensconced in the collective conscious, and we have spent years reflecting on all of the terms used to describe this place where nothing happens.

Concern that sensory deprivation tank increases some people's fears We have always avoided using the phrase Sensory Deprivation Tank. For over 40 years we have worked to allay peoples' fears about floating. Darkness and drowning were reason enough for people to avoid the tank, let alone an idea as heavy as sensory deprivation!

Is sensory overload a problem?

But we've realized that in today's world sensory overstimulation is a very real problem, and the younger generations are actively seeking ways to turn off the constant stream of information coming at them from every direction during most waking moments. Today, people are drawn to the potential of darkness and silence.

And yet, the float experience is truly not a sensory deprivation experience. In this article, we explain the history of all the terms used for the tank over the years­ their origins, their meanings, and how they got intertwined and misappropriated.

A History of Sensory Deprivation

In the early 1950s scientists at McGill University, under the direction of D.O. Hebb and funded by the Canadian Defense Research Board, began a series of experiments on what they labeled sensory deprivation. The rationale given for the program at the time was to study hallucinatory perceptual phenomena experienced by people with monotonous jobs ­ radar observers, radio monitors, and truck drivers who commonly experienced sensory distortions.

Original purpose of sensory deprivation research

In 1957 Scientific American wrote: "The aim of this project was to obtain basic information about how humans would react in situations where nothing was happening. The purpose was not to cut individuals off from any sensory stimulation whatever, but to remove all patterned or perceptual stimulation, so far as we could arrange it." 

The covert reason for the research

However, it was later revealed that beneath the desire to study the phenomena stated above was another motivation, which the original researchers kept secret. Hebb revealed this in the introduction he wrote to the 1961 book Sensory Deprivation, writing: "The work we have done at McGill University began, actually, with the problem of 'brainwashing'. We were not permitted to say so in the first publishing. What we did say, however, was true ­ that we were interested in the problem of the effects of monotony on the man with a watch­keeping job or other tasks of that sort. The chief impetus, of course, was the dismay at the kind of 'confessions' being produced at the Russian Communist trials. 'Brainwashing' was a term that came a little later, applied to Chinese procedures. We did not know what the Russian procedures were, but it seemed that they were producing some peculiar changes in attitude. How? One possible factor was perceptual isolation and we concentrated on that."

Research method of sensory deprivation

This was done by placing an adult male subject in a room (or "chamber") reclining on a bed where he would wear a translucent plastic visor which let in only diffuse light, cotton gloves and cardboard cuffs to prevent the hands from feeling anything, and a foam rubber pillow around his head plus the low white noise of an air unit to block any external sound. Time outs were allowed only for meals and bathroom breaks.

Researcher disagrees with the term

However, as Jack Vernon, a researcher who continued the sensory deprivation studies at Princeton and author of Inside the Black Room: Studies of Sensory Deprivation, points out, even in this extreme environment the term sensory deprivation is a misnomer: "Now obviously we did not, and could not, take entirely away the action of all the senses. It is possible to deprive the visual sense totally extinguishing light, but it is not possible to do a similar thing with hearing. Even if a man is placed in a completely soundproof chamber, where no external sounds will reach him, he will still experience auditory sensations. He will hear blood coursing through those blood vessels that are near the ear. He will hear his breathing movements as well as occasional rumblings from the stomach, and the like. It is easily possible to prevent sensations of odor and taste by merely removing stimuli, but man must eat and food, of course, serves to stimulate both of these senses. In addition to these, the mind also receives sensory stimulation that informs it of bodily movements, body positions, movements of muscles, changes in temperature, feelings of thirst and hunger, etc. Thus it can be easily appreciated that to deprive a man totally of sensory stimulation would be a very difficult, if not impossible, task (emphasis ours)."

How it became popular

So if the term sensory deprivation isn't even accurate when describing these early chamber experiments, how did it come to be associated with floatation tanks, which hadn't even been invented when this research was first taking place? We think that films such as The Manchurian Candidate (1962), The Mind Benders (1963), and Altered States (1980) contributed to the use of this misnomer in the popular culture. In addition to that it started being used in beginning college psychology text books. 

Let's turn now to the most famous figure on the history of floating, John C. Lilly, to learn how he invented the floatation tank and why he preferred using another term altogether.

John Lilly & the Isolation Tank

John Lilly did not do sensory deprivation research. There is a common misperception in the float community that John Lilly developed the tank as a part of the sensory deprivation experiments described above. He clarified this misunderstanding in a 1956 paper that was reprinted as Chapter 9 of his book The Deep Self:

"The longest exposure to isolation on the largest group of subjects has been carried out in Dr. Donald Hebb's Department of Psychology at McGill University by a group of graduate students. We started a similar project independently with different techniques at the National Institute of Mental Health. In the Canadian experiments, the aim is to reduce the patterning of stimuli to the lowest level; in ours, the objective is to reduce the absolute intensity of all physical stimuli to the lowest possible level." 

What Dr Lilly was doing

Lilly developed the idea of a tank filled with water with which to accomplish that reduction of the intensity of physical stimuli. This was in response to the prevailing idea in science at the time that consciousness was not primary but was a result of interaction with the material world ­ that if there were no sensory stimuli coming at a person the brain would cease to function. Lilly, who had been fascinated with the subjects of reality and consciousness since childhood, wished to scientifically explore this idea and find the truth.

The tank was born.

Lilly soon realized the enormous potential of what he had created, and started spending many hours in the tank as its benefits became more and more apparent. He started to call it an Isolation Tank in appreciation of the fact that it isolated the person from external distraction and allowed for a spacious inner solitude. He writes in the prologue to The Deep Self:

"In 1954 when I was floating in the silence, darkness, wetness, alone, after the 1st ten hours, I called it Isolation-Solitude-­Confinement-­Happiness-­Freedom-Domain. I realized that no one at that time would believe me if I used that name: they were still caught in belief systems in which what I was doing was to be feared and avoided because one was in Sensory Deprivation. I knew nothing of Sensory Deprivation. I found the tank was and is a vast and rich source of new experience or "inperience" as Franklin Merrell­Wolff calls it. One is not deprived, one is rewarded" (emphasis ours).

His research expands

Lilly became interested in the subject of isolation in general after experiencing the benefits of his time in solitude, isolated from the constant demands of other people, sensory stimuli, and the effects of gravity. This line of inquiry led him to undertake a systematic study of the literature of the effects of extended periods of time spent alone, due to extreme and unusual situations such as shipwreck or accidents in extreme conditions in remote parts of the world. After reading numerous accounts of this kind he came to the common sense conclusion that "physical dangers combined with solitude are very stressful."

Difference between Isolation Tank and other situations

However, solitude without danger are stressful. This confusion between factors responsible has been perpetuated in the 'sensory deprivation' literature... If one eliminates external sources of low­level pain and sources of danger, the inner experience can be anything that one can allow oneself to experience." (The Deep Self, Chapter Three, Peace in Physical Isolation Vs. Sensory Deprivation) In other words, isolation is a totally different experience for a person in a safe, relaxed environment than it is for someone in a stressful, dangerous environment (which many participants in the original, non­water sensory deprivation chamber experiments felt they were in). 

As Lilly points out, and this idea would be a driving force in his life, isolation in a safe space allows ones consciousness to expand and explore anything the person can allow themselves to imagine. This is a powerful idea that has been corroborated by countless people since Lilly's time. The safety, isolation, and peace offered by the tank allow the mind the freedom to expand to unfathomable reaches of the conscious universe.

"This does not say that physical isolation and Today, physicists have proven what ancient wisdom traditions have always said through their stories and mythology­ that consciousness is the primary force in the universe. John Lilly's isolation tank experiments confirmed this as well. Rather than the absence of external stimuli causing the inner awareness to go dormant, it allows for a vast opening of latent possibilities within each individual's consciousness. In the tank, isolation gives way to a boundless inner spaciousness. 

How It Became a Floatation Tank

In the early 70s Glenn Perry, a taciturn computer programmer working at Xerox, took a workshop for five days near Big Bear, California with John Lilly and got to try out a makeshift Isolation Tank. His first experience changed his life and, with John's blessing and mentorship, he became the first designer and manufacturer of tanks for the public.

Glenn took what Lilly had learned over the years and developed a tank design that would allow for commercial production so that others could have access to this experience. He says: 

"John first tried an 8'x8'x8' tank of fresh water in which the person was submerged wearing a breathing apparatus. He quickly realized he could use a shorter tank, get rid of the equipment, and keep his face above water in order to breathe. During John's first 18 years of research, he laid on his back in 20" of water and bent his legs at the knees with his feet standing on the bottom, so he would not sink below the surface. After breathing out, he needed to quickly breathe in so his head would not slip under the surface.

John switched from fresh water to using ocean water going through a tank when he moved to the Virgin Islands to study dolphins. So when he was giving me information about first designing the tank, he mentioned I could add 3% sodium chloride to help me be more buoyant. I am not very buoyant so instead I added 10% salt and when he tried it, he suggested we go up to saturation with the density. Since it was a little abrasive to the skin, he then suggested we switch to magnesium sulfate, epsom salt, which turned out to be better. This allowed the Isolation experience to be enhanced into a Float experience. My partner Lee and I then rechristened them Floatation Tanks as that was less threatening than isolation tanks. Neither John nor we ever would consider calling them sensory deprivation tanks.

Today, of course, they are known most widely under the Floatation Tank name. It's the Float Tank, the Float Industry, the Float Conference, the Float Community. But many people still refer to them as Sensory Deprivation Tanks and, less commonly, Isolation Tanks. 

Want your senses to be deprived?

Even though many who seek a Float experience desire relief from sensory overload, no one will ever experience sensory deprivation in a float tank. Nor did anyone experience sensory deprivation in the chambers designed in the 1950s. If your senses are registering zero input then you, dear soul, have transcended your body and passed on. The best that those of us who are still embodied can do is to seek spaces where our senses can rest, our mental chatter can subside, and we can allow our inner vastness to emerge.

The floatation tank is a place to minimize the information coming into the sensory processing channels of the body, to be isolated from the stressors that await in the outside world, and to let our limitless consciousness float in the peaceful womb of earthbound zero gravity.

The following was written by The Samadhi Tank Co. Inc. © Copyright, 1997, 2014. All Rights Reserved. 

Images Courtesy of FloatOn. Original artwork by Tia Davis.

How Much Time Should You Leave Between Float Sessions?

One issue that often gets overlooked when opening a float center is what needs to happen during your transitions (the time between the floats). Of course you need to leave enough time to make sure the salt solution has enough time to be adequately filtered, but beyond that how much time is necessary? 

 
 

There are several factors that come into play:

1) How many tanks, pods, rooms do you have to reset?

When you get into a rhythym with what it takes to reset rooms, it will take 5 to 7 minutes per float suite. Unless of course something particularly messy happens, which case it could definitely take MORE time.

2) How long is the actual float?  Is your 60 minute float actually 60 minutes or is it 40 minutes because you are buffering shower time? Is your 90 minute float 90 minutes of 70 minutes? There are only so many hours, minutes and seconds in each day, so you have to account for shower time. Most clients take 10 to 15 minutes to exit the float suite after a session, but occasionally people have taken 30 to 60 minutes to shower and return to the lobby! If you only leave 30 minutes between floats it will be IMPOSSIBLE to stay on schedule and provide the best service possible to your floaters.

3) Your reset standards:  Do you clean the whole suite between each float or do you just swap the towels and float supply goodies? If you don't clean the showers between clients you will save time, but your float suite start to look like a gym locker room at the end of the day.  

4) Your set up: How you set up your float suites can make or break you in terms of clean up times. How many salty steps do your clients take to get to the shower? What do they have to touch along the way? Each additional drop of salt water or salty handle adds precious seconds to your reset protocol. Over the course of a month just ONE extra minute per transition adds up quickly: 6 transitions/day X 4 Float Rooms X 26 days in a month is 624 minutes! What else could you do with those 624 minutes?!

5) The amount of interaction you would like to have with your Float Family. During transitions, you will have critical interaction time with your floaters, since almost everyone is new to floating many people have questions and are curious to learn more.  You may also need to process payments, explain packages, assist scheduling future appointments, greet new customers and the list goes on. You want to make sure you have time to help people and build relationships.

There is no one size fits all schedule solution for every float center. We have 4 float rooms running on the same schedule and we have a full hour in between floats.  That may sound like a lot of time, but to reset each float suite to our standards, interact with our amazing floaters and give ourselves some wiggle room for any unexpected surprises we rarely have more than 10 "extra" minutes during our transitions. If we do have any extra time it is definitely devoted to discussing interesting books, talks, podcasts and new ideas that have captivated us! It is the interactions that we get to have in those "extra minutes" that are the best part of our days. Our float family is awesome and we couldn't imagine trying to run our center any other way. 

Image courtesy of jesadaphorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

-Lindsay Reinhardt, Anicca Float Club, Inc. 2016 ©

Be Silent. Be Still. The Most Important Thing to Go Deeper During Your Floatation Therapy Sessions.

SHHH..... Floats in progress!

Sensory enhancement (as floatation pioneer Glen Perry rightfully called it) is a powerful tool to help you achieve deeper states of meditation, explore your consciousness, work through anxieties and traumas or just relax and take an amazing power nap.

The Float center and the float equipment set the stage for you to delve into your inner verse! But and this is a big BUT... Float Room, Tank or Pod DO NOT do the work for you. The tank is simply the space that enables you to do the work on yourself.

In a time when we are pushing the limits of the human body to accomplish feats that were once considered impossible, it is easy to feel like doing NOTHING might not be necessary. But it is actually the MOST necessary thing to achieve ANYTHING. 

Coming from a background in Vipassana meditation our first experience in the float tank made us realize the power of the float tank for mediation.  Vipassana focuses on the interconnection of the mind and the body.  In the Float Room all outside stimulation is removed.  It is the PERFECT place to OBSERVE the body and mind and how one influences the other.

During 10 Day Vipassana Courses, there is something called "sitting with a strong determination". During these hour long meditation sessions one sits as still as possible regardless of the pleasant or unpleasant sensations that one may be feeling. By observing one's breath, being still and remaining equanimous (neutral) one begins a self-exploratory journey to the common root of the body and the mind. 

Feeling Lost?  To put it simply: WHEN THE BODY IS STILL THE MIND WILL FOLLOW. Stillness at the physical body is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING in meditation and in floating! This is the key to getting the most out of your time in the Float tank.  Every movement you make in the tank gives your brain something to process that is OUTSIDE your body. 

Tingling sensations? OBSERVE THEM.

Itchy sensations?  OBSERVE THEM.

Warm sensations? OBSERVE THEM.

Anxieties surface? OBSERVE THEM. 

Monkey Brain?  OBSERVE IT!

When you realize you have the power to observe the things that happen at the physical OR mental level without reacting to them you will start to feel like you have super powers, because we ALL have this super power.  You will discover new levels of self control and discipline. You will find new levels into your consciousness. You will be happier, calmer and more peaceful. 

So what are you waiting for? Now you know that you have the power...

BE SILENT, BE STILL AND YOU WILL GO DEEPER.

-Lindsay Reinhardt, Anicca Float Club, Inc. 2016 ©

WHO FLOATS?

There is no one size fits all description of our awesome Float Family. This list attempt to compile the variety of people who float at our Float Club on a regular basis.

marathon runners
  • Athletes: Whether you use the float room to help you recover or to visualize your next game, race or event floating is powerful tool for any athlete.  Have you been watching ESPN lately? Floating has been making headlines in the Sports World as the Golden State Warriors, the Ohio State Buckeyes and the New England Patriots all have been using Floatation Therapy to recover.  

The good news is you don't have to be an "elite athlete" to reap the benefits of floatation therapy. Weekend warriors, daily gym rats, road runners and cross fitters all get tremendous benefits by adding regular float sessions to their recovery routine.


Stephen Curry and Harrison Barnes use Floatation Therapy 

 
 

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  • Baristas, Doctors, Nurses,  Paramedics, Police Officers, Teachers Waitresses: Spend all day on your feet? Floating is great way for you to get away from all the stresses of the outside world and gravity.

 
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  • Chronic Pain Sufferers: We had no idea how many people suffer with chronic pain until we opened Anicca Float Club.  Floating has a way of attenuating pain in the body.  The combination of the magnesium the body absorbs and the deeply meditative state you are able to achieve while floating offer our float family tremendous relief.  Here is a great article from Psychology Today on how mindfulness meditation is proven to reduce pain at a neurobiological level.

  • Pregnant Women: Ok - so there are no pregnant men!  Pregnancy is a great time to float.  The water is the temperature of your skin so it is safe for you and baby during the 2nd and 3rd trimester and can help with the inflammation and aches associated with being pregnant. Here is a nice blog post from The Float Center on Floating during pregnancy.

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  • "Roganites":  Anicca Float Club would not be here if it were not for Joe Rogan as we learned about floating from the Joe Rogan Podcast. Rogan has used a float tank for years to help him develop his mind, heal his body and explore his own consciousness. 

ANYONE WITH STRESS! : So this is the general catch all for most people who use Floatation Therapy. Who doesn't have stress?!  Work, family, bills, traffic the list of things that cause stress is endless. The list of effective healthy ways to manage stress is different for everyone, but floating is universally effective! Why?! Because all or our brains need quiet meditation time to be truly healthy!

 In the clip below Lauretta Young discusses the "Healthy Mind Platter" where "Down- Time" and "Time -In" are critical to our brain health.  Start watching at 19:33 for this explanation.

 
 

Finally, sensory deprivation tanks lower the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is public health enemy number one. Scientists have known for years that elevated cortisol levels interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, increase weight gain, blood pressure, heart disease and the list goes on and on.  

    The world around us never stops, there is constant barrage of stress hitting us at all times.  Sensory deprivation or as it should be called SENSORY ENHANCEMENT,  gives you a brief but powerful respite from it all. It is highly efficient relaxation for the busy world in which we live. It is a reminder that we can just be present with our breath and our thoughts and that is ENOUGH.  


Images courtesy of Everydayplus, Serge Bertasius Photography, stock images, Sura Nualpradid from freedigitalphotos.net

-Lindsay Reinhardt, Anicca Float Club, Inc., 2016 ©

Float Your Pain Away

Blog Post by Naperville PT, September 8, 2015

 

     At FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers – Naperville, we have a fantastic group that meets the second Saturday of every month to learn about new tools and techniques that may help with battling chronic pain.  I am always investigating new research based treatments that may benefit my patients and looking for practitioners outside of my practice to speak at our Chronic Pain Forum.  That is what lead me to the Anicca (pronounced a-nee-cha) Float Club in May of this year.

     The day I walked into the center was the day after the owners, Lindsay and Paul, signed on to be a part of a research study dealing with Fibromyalgia patients and floating.  Since a large percentage of my physical therapy patients have Fibromyalgia, I was excited to hear what they had to say.  I was so impressed with the tour that I signed up for a float the following week.  I was not planning on entering the baths loaded with 1,000 lbs of Epsom salt, however, I realized that it would be hard to convince my patients to try a new treatment, which by some may be considered “alternative”, if I had not tried it myself.

     I made the appointment for the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, after a long, exhausting week of working on patients.  I use an array of manual therapy techniques and although I don’t have any musculoskeletal disorders, I do feel some muscle tightness and fatigue by the end of the week.  So, I was quite interested to see if I would feel any different following an hour of sensory deprivation.

     After signing off on the necessary paperwork and receiving a thorough orientation from the delightful Lindsay, I stepped into my own private wave room to begin my hour vacation, as it’s described on their website (www.floatnaperville.com).  I molded the provided plugs snugly into my ears, took a tepid shower and stepped into the large (6ft x 5ft x 8ft) private pool with about a foot of 94 degree water loaded with the therapeutic magnesium salts.  Immediately, I was so surprised how easy it was to float without any effort.  In less than a minute the lights went out and I closed my eyes tightly, a little embarrassed to admit now, but I was scared for a few seconds.  I missed the part of her instructions that told of the underwater switch which would provide a soft blue light should I not appreciate the total darkness.

     I tried to settle my over active brain and relax.  However, I couldn’t.  My mind kept wandering and I told myself I had to stop doing crazy things like this for my patients.  After a few minutes, I really wanted to get out, “What time is it?”, “How much longer do I have to be in here”, “Is that water I feel in my ears”, “Why can’t I hear my heartbeat like I read I may”.   All of these crazy thoughts kept invading my mind and I thought “I will never do this again”.  Well, I was wrong.  Somewhere within that last half hour, I slipped into some type of meditative state.  I know I wasn’t sleeping, but I am not really sure where my brain was, maybe the “theta state” the brain gets to when you are able to get into a deep meditation.  The soft lights began to turn on and I stepped back into the warm shower to remove all of the salt.  I felt surprisingly relaxed.  All of the muscle tension had melted away and I re-entered the lobby to enjoy a cup of tea and share my experience with Lindsay.

     She said everyone’s experience is completely different.  Some have visions, some sleep and some have incredible creative thoughts solving difficult personal struggles in the process.  Although mine started out uncomfortable, I felt good enough to buy a new floater 3 pack and give it another try.

     Soon, I was back with my husband, Gary.  For over 20 years he has been a guinea pig for many of my new techniques.  This time I baited him with the promise of a naked date night.  Unfortunately for him, we were naked in separate rooms.  Sidebar – disposable swimsuits are available for purchase on-line if you choose not to use your birthday suit.  Gary had none of the reservations I had prior to my float, as he grew up around the water and floating was nothing new to him.  He felt the most important tip was to find a comfortable place for your arms.  Four positions were offered and when he finally raised his arms above his head and arched his back, he was out.  The next thing he remembered was the lights were going on.  The pain he felt in his neck and shoulders was gone and he slept better than usual that night.  That may have been from all of the Magnesium in the water.

     My second float was easier to settle into with the help of a small pool noodle that I used under my neck although I didn’t get to the same “theta” state I had on my first float.  This time my mind was concentrating on ways to get the word out to the community on floating and promote their business.  Gary later playfully reprimanded me that I should be thinking about ways to promote our business!!

     I then began bringing groups of patients and friends to float.  One patient with significant soft tissue restrictions from a double mastectomy and plantar fasciitis enjoyed her first float so much she brought her 13 year old son back the next trip.  I had no idea she had a deathly fear of water and claustrophobia, as she told me afterwards.  She didn’t want her fears to interrupt the healing plan I had for her.  I was shocked that she was able to do it with those extreme fears and truly found benefits from floating.

     One word of caution would be for those that may have difficulty rising from a low position without help.  I did have one 68 year old Fibromyalgia patient who had a total hip replacement several years prior who found it extremely difficult to get up after floating.  I should have had her practice turning on all fours and try pushing up from there with the help of the grab bar.  She is back in the clinic now working on her core and leg strength.

     In summary, I am a fan of floating.  I would do it every week if I had the time.  I feel just as good as I do after an hour massage and the benefits for me last longer, plus it is not as expensive as a massage.  I do sleep better, according to my Fitbit, on nights that I float.  Lindsay gave me a great tip prior to my last float when she said, “When you try a new sport or activity you are not good at it right away, it takes practice, so don’t try so hard.” I gave myself permission to be bad at meditating the last time and it worked, I had the most enjoyable float yet.

     If you are interested in finding out more about how floating can help reduce pain, please plan on attending our next Chronic Pain Forum at Anicca Float Club on Saturday, September 12th at 10:00 AM.  Register by calling 630-369-1015 or by emailing mrachford@fyzical.com.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Floatation Therapy: The Ultimate Relief During Pregnancy

Kriss Brooks, September 25th, 2013 - Posted by Northwest Float Center

 
 

As pregnant women come closer and closer to full-term, their entire body is put to the test as the weight of the baby causes stress on their joints and muscles.

Many women find that it is virtually impossible to get comfortable during this time. Floatation therapy is becoming increasingly popular with pregnant women because it offers intense pain relief that they can’t receive anywhere else.

The main reason that floating is beneficial during pregnancy is the fact that pregnant women are able to escape the pressure of the added weight of the baby when they float. By entering a weightless environment, all of the weight and strain is lifted from the body. Floating is especially useful for providing relief to the spine and pelvis during pregnancy.


The Mirror Effect

One interesting aspect of floating while pregnant is the concept of the “mirror effect.” When your body is suspended in the float tank, it is experiencing a similar sensation that the baby is experiencing in the womb. By mirroring the baby’s experience, many women find that floating allows them to deepen their connection with the child, both emotionally and physically.

While floating, the normal aches and pains of pregnancy are reduced as the woman gains a sense of calm and comfort. The pressure of the baby on the mother’s organs is reduced, allowing the mother to truly rest and even sleep. During your third term, floating may be the only chance you have to experience intense rest.

Experts recommend that pregnant women float prone in order to achieve the greatest benefits for themselves and their baby. By lying on your stomach, you can fully immerse your stomach in order to receive maximum relief. Rest your elbows on the floor of the tank so that your hands can support your chin. However, if floating prone makes you uncomfortable, floating on your back is still highly beneficial.

Health Benefits

Floating offers many physical and mental health benefits to pregnant women. Mentally, pregnant women often have many things to worry about, but floating offers them a chance to detach themselves from the rest of the world and simply focus on bonding with their child.

Since sleep is often an issue, especially towards the end of the pregnancy, floating is a wonderful way to gain significant rest. Floating has been shown to help with insomnia and provide deep sleep at night for days after a float session. In addition, floating reportedly offers many other health benefits, such as lowered blood pressure and higher levels of endorphins.

Have you tried floatation therapy during pregnancy? What benefits did you experience?

What's Up "Down There" : Floating & Vaginas

You are not mistaken, I said it... FLOATING AND VAGINAS! For anyone who has seen the "Vagina Monologues", you know that we Ladies LOVE TO TALK about about our Vaginas.  I am here to shed some light on what you need to know about floating and your Va-jay-jay.

After, "Do I need to bring a swim suit?", "How are the float tanks cleaned?" and "Can I drown if I fall asleep?"  The next question I get asked most often is, "Is my vagina going to sting in the float tank?" While I was dutifully observing my own Lady Bits sting during a float session I decided it was time to write a post about it. 

Ladies, there are only a few things that cause vaginal stinging while you are in the float room. Fortunately, I have tried all of them and am here to give you my best tricks and tips to make sure you are a Happy Clam during your float sessions. 

 
  1. Wait 48 hours after your Brazilian Wax: We recommend not shaving or waxing the morning of a float. When it comes to getting a Brazilian I recommend giving yourself a full 48 hours to recover. If the skin of your Honey Pot is still pink, puffy or irritated DO NOT FLOAT!  Wait until it is fully healed, trust me. 
  2. Insert your Tampon Properly or use a Feminine Cup: If you end up floating when your Aunt Flow is visiting make sure you fully insert your tampon.  This is not the time to be lazy as the salty solution can wick its way inside of you and cause some discomfort. You can also purchase an insertable cup such as the Diva Cup that will not allow salt to wick its way inside.
  3. Float BEFORE You F -F- F Fornicate: Sure sex is amazing, but sex can also create micro tears in the skin of your Vag that will sting while floating.  Make sure you have enough lubricant or simply avoid sexual intercourse the day you float just like shaving. 
  4. Post-Natal: Allow aproximately 3 months to make sure you are fully healed.  If it is less than 3 months please check with your doctor, physician or midwife. If you have been cleared for the activities in #3 you should be in the clear for floating.
  5. Your Va-Jay-Jay is Already Irritated or Unhappy: If things are already grumpy in your southern hemisphere floating is not going to improve the situation. Let any irritation or burning from infections clear before floating.  

If you make one of these Who-Ha faux pas before getting in the float tank, you can always apply some vitamin A&D ointment to project your skin.  It may be challenging, but you CAN breathe through it. The initial shock is always the worst, but it does subside. As I say all the time, nothing lasts forever, everything is ANICCA! :)

Finally, if your Feminine Flower has ever burned in the float tank and one of these 5 reasons was not the cause, then please shoot me an email. I will gladly update this post and learn something new!

 

A few thoughts that came up after I wrote this post:

1) I have only floated in tanks, pods and rooms where hydrogen peroxide was being used as the primary sanitizer/oxidizer.

2) I have sensitive skin and thick hair.  Ladies who do not have such thick hair or sensitive skin, might not require 48 hours after waxing.

3)  Vaginal dryness/Menopause - Since the most common age group (so far) to comment on vaginal discomfort in the float tank is from the 50 an older crowd, I suspect dryness could be fueling the problem, but this is just a theory. 

4) Hormonal changes - As women our hormones are constantly in a state of flux. Seasonality, menstrual cycles, illness. Notice where you are in your menstrual cycle when you experienced the discomfort.  If you want to give floating another try shoot for a different time in your cycle to see if that has any effect on the experience. 

Lindsay Reinhardt, Anicca Float Club, 2015

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Why I Float

I float to let go.

I float to discover.

I float to meditate.

I float to observe.

I float to be weightless.

I float to be quiet.

I float to be still.

I float to be ME.

I float to just BE.

 
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There are just a few days left to submit your entries to the #whywefloat contest!  This is is why I float! Now it's YOUR TURN to share...

 



Temperature Calibration and Floater Comfort

My float equipment (room, tank, pod) has been installed...Now what? When you are selling floatation therapy you should do your best to sell the best float possible! 

Huh? What do we mean by "Best Float"?  A great float is one that is in a clean float suite with a clean float tank that is at the right temperature, pH and specific gravity. These are the things that will be immediately obvious to your clients. 

Once you install your equipment, the fun begins! Unless your float tank manufacturer set up your equipment, filled it with water, mimicked the conditions of your float center, calibrated everything, drained it and put it on the truck to come out to you, then we recommend spending a few weeks taking detailed measurements. Even if you aren't in a state where the health department requires strict maintenance logs, we would still encourage you to keep up with what is going on in your float equipment!

When we first got our rooms we had a $5 dollar thermometer, a La Motte hydrogen peroxide titration kit and some pH strips (we all have to start some where). We started taking measurements but we quickly discovered that everything but the La Motte testing kit was useless.  The $5 thermometer told us our float tanks were ALWAYS at 35C/95F  and those pH test strips... don't even get me started on how inaccurate they are!  Get yourself a good thermometer and a pH meter so you can collect accurate data.  The Float Tank Association makes a few recommendations. We are currently using the Cooper Atkins TM99A-032 and the Milwaukee pH / ORP / Temp Waterproof Tester pH58

In our humble opinion, the biggest issue when it comes to floater comfort is TEMPERATURE.  Your client is not going to know if the peroxide is 50 ppm or 100 ppm, they will not know the difference between a pH of 7.2 and 7.8 but they will definitely feel hot or cold! Whether you have an inline heater or water bed heaters, you need to see how well your equipment maintains the temperature you are setting at the main console.  

 
Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

VS

 
Image courtesy of jscreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of jscreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

We have 4 float rooms and we originally set all the temps to 94.1 F.  We quickly discovered that just because we set the temp to 94.1 F, didn't mean the water temperature was actually 94.1 F! If you are using the Float Helm Software starting tracking. If not, make yourself an excel spread sheet, if that is too complicated, grab a lined note book and make a few tables. Add each of your rooms and the time you plan to measure the temperature during the day.

Always start first thing in the morning when you walk into your center when you need to check all of your rooms and prepare them for the days floats.   That is the time when your float rooms are likely to be the coolest if they have not been used for 8 hours or more. Inline heaters have settings where they will kick in when the water temperature drops 1.0 to 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit.  That is great, unfortunately we all know that 1.0 degree in the float industry can make a HUGE difference when it comes to floater comfort.

So what does that really mean?   A tank set at 93.5 will not kick in to reheat the water until it is at 92.5 and if you happen to put a client in at 92.5 for 60 minutes or longer they will likely be chilly. 

Once you have your "first thing in the morning" temperature, run your rooms on a 60 or 90 minute float cycle.  If you are curious... measure the temperature right after the float session to see how much heat your device loses or gains during the session, without waterbed heaters you may loose 0.5 degree F during a float.   When the pumps start to recirculate the water give yourself another 15 to 20 minutes to see how the temperature rebounds. Once you have given your equipment time to properly reheat and filter the water (just like it would between float sessions) and then start another float session.  

It may sound a little neurotic, but after you take measurements every 60 to 90 minutes for a week, you will start to see patterns in your tanks!  Once you identify those patterns you can calibrate your systems.  Maybe the 94.1 temperature setting is actually 95.0 in one room, but 93.5 in another.  It doesn't mean your equipment is bad, but if you get yourself a highly accurate thermometer, it is going to be a better gauge of your actual water temperature water than whatever number your float device is reading! Once you know the temperature setting where your float device keeps the temperature you can manually adjust the settings on the console. Check with your manufacturer, because you should be able to dial in the exact temperature.

You definitely can't make everyone perfectly happy, but if your tanks are well calibrated at least you will know the true temperature where your floaters are content and where they are hot or cold.  The beauty of running all of the same equipment is that you can intentionally hedge your bets and run slightly different temperatures in each room. So far we have noticed that most of our clients prefer to float at 94.3 to 95.8. We have even been asked to make our rooms warmer on occasion.  We have a few floaters who run warm and prefer the 93.5 to 94.0 range, but this is truly the minority.  With modern booking software it is so easy to take notes so you know which clients run warm and which clients run cool. You can send out post float surveys or ask your clients directly how they felt during their float.  Some may not want to tell you face to face, but many will happily offer feedback which you can use to improve their future float experiences. 

For more information definitely visit the Float Tank Association's Website.  HAPPY CALIBRATING!

BLANK

Blank may seem useless
Blank may seem a void
Blank may seem to be nothingness

Yet a blank space
is essential in written words,
essential between notes in music.

How healing, nurturing and self-loving
to receive a blank
in the midst of my day, my life.

I cherish the gap between my breath
and the silent darkness
as in the womb. . . 
floating, loved and carefree.

Listen to Karen M. Carlson read her poem below! 

© 2015 Karen M Carlson

 

 

A Story of Depression, Anxiety and PTSD

Original Blog post from Colin of Float Boston, September 14th, 2014

“I remained happy, and carried with me the positive feeling into the next two days. It was almost a ‘celebratory’ feeling. One that has not been produced by any other medications, therapies, or methods of dealing with the individual diagnoses I live with. I didn’t feel the need for the anti-anxiety medications for nearly two days. Which, in my current state, almost never happens.” —Andrew

“Andrew” is a real person, though that’s not his real name.  Over the last two years he’s been clinically diagnosed with Treatment-Resistant Major Depressive Disorder, PTSD, and Anxiety Disorder.  He has worked with trauma therapists and all the resources in the Boston area, including MGH and McLean hospital. He’s even gone so far as to participate in clinical studies at MGH for current drug trials that are being studied for his particular diagnosis. To date, nothing has significantly improved his quality of life, and is left with very few options short of electroconvulsive therapy.

 

He contacted us, wanting to know if he could try floating before committing to anything so drastic as ECT.   Sara and I gave it a little thought and said, you know what, helping someone like this is exactly why we want to open FLOAT.   We offered a series of three floats over three weeks, if he would write up his experiences before and after so that we could share them here.

[After my third float] I felt calm and happy, an experience I can’t remember having in a long time. So much so that I was unfamiliar with it, and didn’t know what to do with the positive happy feeling. I know how to take care of myself in the dark troubling times, but over the last few years, have lost the innate knowledge of how to feel happy, and what to do with that time.

This is an anecdote – one person’s experience, and no kind of clinically controlled trial.  Please interpret with caution.  Still we were thrilled with the results, and are excited to share them here.

Andrew summarized his own benefits this way:

  • Deep relaxation, a loss of the immediate sense of anxiety while in the tank.
  • A loss of sense of time, which in turn removes the immediate sense of depression. There are no outside influences to “worry” about while in the tank.
  • A feeling of well being following the float, similar to the relaxation effects of anti-anxiety medications.  All three floats produced this effect with varying duration between a few hours and two days.
  • Reduction of “hyper-vigilance” associated with PTSD. There is a period of acceptance and lack of paranoia, a “regular” approach to outside stimuli.  Again, the duration of this effect varied float-to-float.
  • Consistent better and easier, more restful sleep. All three floats had the effect of removing nightmares associated with his symptoms. This was a great relief for those evenings, almost a “reset” of the emotional chatter while resting or sleeping, and produced better rest than any drugs he had tried. This was the primary and greatest relief of all three sessions.  Two of the floats (1st and 3rd) produced instances as long as two days of removed or reduced nightmares.

He floated one 90-minute session per week for three weeks. For each session he did not take his standard pre-emptive anxiety medication; this was with the approval of his regular treaters, as a healthy experiment. There were no concerns over foregoing the medication on these three days.

Floatation therapy helps people achieve total peace. Floating effortlessly calms the nervous system.

Floatation therapy helps people achieve total peace. Floating effortlessly calms the nervous system.

I approached the first float with a heightened sense of anxiety, as I did not know what to expect, or how the process would affect me. Also, I had a heightened anxiety at being out of my “comfort zone” not having a sense of the area, or the individuals associated with the float (Sara and Colin). While I was provided with excellent instructions from Sara prior to the experience, it may be beneficial to individuals with similar diagnoses to speak to the heightened concerns of the first experience.

His experiences in the tank were not unusual:

Not knowing what to expect, the initial warmth, darkness, and buoyancy created an initial concern over “doing it right”. Once I got used to the experience of relaxation, I was able to “let go”. It did however nearly hurt to let go the tense tight hold on my joints, specifically in the pelvic, lower back, shoulders and neck area.

This resistance to letting go – he described it as being like “fear” or “pain” – significantly lessened during the next two floats, as it became more familiar. Once he recognized the experience, it became easier to accept the “pain” associated with relaxation.

My body slowly letting go allowed my internal “chatter” to slow down. Focused on the body, and its experience, there was no internal focus on the anxiety or depression.

As his internal dialog slowed, he became increasingly aware of physical sensations like the slight difference in temperature between the areas of his body covered or not covered by water.  His internal dialog crept louder again, as the “wonder of the relaxation” became “odd and important”, but faded again fairly quickly.  It is not unusual in the tank for feelings of self-awareness to ebb and flow in waves.

During this period, my eyes were closed and colors appeared, along with an internal sense of “movement”.  This experience felt very similar to deep meditation, and after a while (the loss of time being a consequence of the float) everything slowed, and the relaxation, the internal chatter, and all the familiar fears and concerns disappeared. I remained in this state until the music began, and I [became] aware that the 90 minutes had passed. I don’t know how long the persistence of awareness was absent, as the loss of time was prominent, but it did feel lengthy.

After showering, Andrew reported an awareness of a sense of connection between his “higher” and “lower” brain, producing a feeling of calm and well-being.

One challenge I experienced after the first float, which happened with each float, was the feeling of being “thrust” right back into the daily grind, the noise, the annoyances, and the solidity of everything. However, I was able to “watch” my reaction to the real world, and maintained the feeling of “connection to the higher and lower brain”. The ability to “watch” rather than “react” was a great relief (and very similar to deep meditation, only informed by the body, rather than the mind). The relief continued for some time afterward, lasting nearly the rest of the day.

Andrew described one of the symptoms of his PTSD being hyper-vigilance, a feeling of need to be aware of everything in his environment as a constant possible threat.  He described this period of relief following floats, with durations between a few hours (after his second float) and two days (after his third) as a time when he could notice things like a new car parked down the street without feeling the need to keep track of it.

The evening after the first float, it felt as though I was able to “conjure” the connection of higher and lower brain, and relax into sleep. That night, I did not experience any nightmares, and woke feeling rested, and calm.

Andrew described the improved sleep as the most important effect, for him, of the float sessions.  Nightmares are a constant experience for him, and few other things have helped his sleep.  Drugs, notably, are able to suppress the nightmares only by rendering him unconscious without leaving any feeling of restfulness. Floating gave him that feeling, and without side effects.

By midday on the day after, the familiar anxiety, hyper-vigilance, and depression returned, but carried the knowledge that the reduction in severity was possible.  This acted as a reminder of the sense of relief, rather than “falling” deeper into the depression. This reminder did accompany my symptoms for a few days after.

His sense of wellbeing and “near happiness” consistently lasted nearly a full day, and sometimes into the next. The duration was not predictable, but it seemed to be connected to how quickly his relaxation occurred while in the tank, and how long the “letting go” experience lasted.  His second float took the longest time to relax and “let go”, as anticipation of the experience was “higher” – this is a common occurrence, having the second float experience be markedly different from the first. His third float was easy and deeper, similar to his first float, and resulted in some symptoms being totally absent afterward.

A few more resources:

Nearly 20 percent of veterans who have returned from Afghanistan and Iraq have post-traumatic stress disorder. Some have found help with an alternative treatment called "floatation therapy."

 

Justin Feinstein from the Laureate Institute for Brain Research (LIBR) talks about the ability of float tanks to help people combat anxiety at the 2013 Float Conference.

Hello, Self. It is I – Me.

The experience of floating at Anicca so far: Hello, I. It’s Me. Hello, Me. It is I. Here I am. 44 years old – at least as measure in human-defined time – and meeting myself in all raw nakedness [again] – literally, physically - and mentally, emotionally, spiritually, as well. No outside distractions. No exterior pretensions. No eyes of judgment. No persona or image to uphold. Just I and me… and some water – my non-judgmental, elemental friend holding me ever so gently, floating effortlessly in blissful defiance of the weight of the world as my other friend I know so well – gravity - is removed from the equation.

The first time I met myself in this same raw nakedness was many years ago in my mother’s womb, when my consciousness first inhabited this physical congregation of molecules, atoms, cells, organs, nerves, vessels, tissues, bones – an arrangement we call a human being. I have always been me – since the first spark of life was ignited from two cells creating a third – but, I have not always known me. The authentic self has been compromised along the way. Influenced and programmed by others. Imprisoned by the self. And as Don Miguel Ruiz and Toltec Wisdom teaches, “Domesticated.” The me who is me all along has been forgotten, awaiting patiently the highly anticipated moment to be reunited with true love. To re-discover the me, that is I.

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And here I am – again. Today. Floating. Wild and Free. Free from any constraints - meeting the self - as in birth [of my consciousness] – for the very, first time. This time flying truly solo – without the need for my mother for life and separated safe and sound within a womb. Somewhere, within my memory is the memory of knowing this true self – even though I have no concrete memories of those first moments of life, or even the 9-months duration and into my early years. Perhaps some people have concrete memories of thoughts from this time, but I do not. I have participated in a re-birthing process some time ago in my early twenties, and while powerful and perhaps glimpses of cellular memories were accessed through feelings, notions and micro flashes of images and thoughts – who is to say for certainty - this process offered a renewed birth just as every float experience I believe creates a new birth with the opportunity to meet your Self for the very first time… again.

“Hello, Self. It is I – Me. So nice to meet you, once more. How lovely you are. How lovely this life truly is. This one breath. This one heartbeat. It is all that I have – all that I am. And, it is really so lovely.” And, as I go out into the world, I meet all others – I meet life – for the very first time… again. Every experience, wilder and freer – from the constraints of influences, programming, domestication. From the chains of self that imprison. Free to be me. Free to love this Self, for this Self loves. Floating allows us to remember who we are. And who we are, is Pure Love.

© 2015, William Bennett

William Bennett is a father, an avid floater, massage therapist/bodyworker, Qigong and yoga practitioner, creator of the heart-baked and handmade Uncle Will-E's Crack-a-lackin' Lip Smacking' Kick A$$in' Gluten Free Granola. He is also a writer and co-creator of Creative Compassionate Consciousness and a lover of the continual exploration of the being in human being, and of the space in-between.

 

Stop the Analysis Paralysis

Why do we get analysis paralysis? It's simply insane... Think about it....You can talk yourself out of ANYTHING!

It took us 5 months to build Anicca Float Club from the day we signed our lease and it took us another 5 months to get our prices displayed up at the front desk! Had we waited for perfection before we opened our doors we would not have floated so many awesome people in the last 5 months!

We as humans, have this tendency to only want to share our gifts with the world when we think they are perfect. We think that everyone else has it all figured out and is producing perfection already (MYTH!!) What we don't realize is what we have created in its raw essence is already beautiful and unique to the rest of the world. So why are we all too afraid to release our beautiful visions into the world? 

Let it go.  Just do it.  Forget about perfection. The new you starts HERE. GO UNLEASH IT INTO THE WORLD NOW! 

We finally have float pricing signage at Float Club!

We finally have float pricing signage at Float Club!

Why You Should Float More Than Once

Do you remember the first time you rode a bicycle? How about your first yoga class? The first time you attempted to bake something from scratch or even learn to tie your own shoelaces? Do you remember those moments where you felt awkward or overwhelmed as your brain tried to comprehend exactly what was happening and how it should process it rather than just go with it?!  

Well... your first float may be a lot like that.  The float room environment is unique.  The 1,000 pounds of epsom salts dissolved in the water create an environment that eliminates nearly all the effects of gravity on the body.  The float room is quiet, dark and free of all external stimuli. This is foreign to our modern day brains which are commonly cruising on a super highway of stimulation.  Most of us actually need to learn how to relax in the float tank!  

I have had floats were I quickly drift into that "in between state", but I have had many floats where my mind wants to run since it has nothing else to analyze. The default of the human mind is to RUN.  We all face the same challenge of "quieting the mind". We all must learn how to observe our monkey minds without reaction. So don't stress if your mental monkey would rather play hopscotch than meditate during your first float. The mind works a lot like our biceps. The more you deliberately practice mindfulness the better you will get!

The other challenge new floaters face in the float room is convincing your brain that it is impossible to sink (because you CAN'T!) I will never forget spending hours in swim lessons as a kid just learning how to float;  front floats, back floats, rescue breathing floats. No matter how relaxed you are in fresh water, you still need to expend some energy to keep your body from sinking. However, while floating the less you move and the more you relax, the better it gets! 

Image courtesy of thephotoholic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of thephotoholic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Finally, be patient. Our society has come to a place where we are stimulated from the moment we wake up until the second we go to bed.  We must consciously make decisions to find our own peace or it is really easy to get swept away in whatever stimulating current is rushing past.  Please do not feel discouraged if you do not experience meditative bliss your first float.  The float room takes you out of the rat race so you can give yourself some YOU TIME.  Give floating a few chances and with a little practice you will succeed to LET GO of your words, thoughts and your body for a delightfully peaceful hour of NOTHING.  HAPPY FLOATING!

Get NAKED!

Yes, I said it... JUST GET NAKED! :)

One of the questions we get asked almost daily at Anicca Float Club is,  "Do I have to wear a bathing suit in the float room?"  We realize that most news stories (with the exception of the Getting Tanked: One Writer's  60 minutes in Sensory Deprivation Vogue Story) depict floaters in a bathing suits. Even we are guilty of having pictures of people in swimsuits on our website so the nudity police don't slap us on the wrists.

However, when asked about wearing a swimsuit in the float room, our resounding response, "The only suit you need at AFC is your birthday suit!" You have your own private shower and your own private float room, no one will see you or bother you during your float session.  

When you are trying to deeply relax anything that creates any sensations on the body has the potential to distract from the experience.

  • Your swim suit will create pressure points on the body that will give your brain something to analyze during your float.  
  • Your bathing suit will definitely be a salty mess when you get out (something you don't want to have to fiddle with when you want to enjoy your post flow glow.)
  • Your suit has the potential to bring in dirt and bacteria from the outside world.

If you are really uncomfortable with the idea of floating in the nude you can always pick up a swim suit that you only use in the float tank or for a more economic option try Swimeeze. They make disposable tyvek swimsuits. If this is the route you prefer, definitely size up so that the suit is not tight or constricting on your body in anyway.

In a society where nudity is taboo and where people constantly feel shamed for just being in their own skin, the float room is the antidote. The float room is a judgement free zone. The float room is a safe space where one can let all that go and just BE. So go ahead, cultivate a little self love and relax in the skin the beautiful skin that you were given. GET NAKED and let's get floating already! 

LET IT GO!

I hear these 3 little words everywhere from song lyrics, to yoga classes, books and blogs.  So I am jumping on the band wagon....LET IT GO!  These 3 little words truly apply to every single aspect of our lives.

For anyone who has followed this blog from the very beginning you know that I have been  riding two horses with one ass for a very long time!  Finally, I found the courage, to just let go!  After 10 years of working for the Federal Government as a Soil Scientist, I decided it was time to make life change, to truly hurl myself into something completely new, completely scary and completely worth it.

If there ever comes a time in your life when you find yourself climbing a ladder that you are no longer interested in climbing then it's time to take a long hard look at why you are still clinging on to that ladder! We often cling to things that we believe are safe. Things that will steady us because they are not changing, when in reality everything is always changing all of the time. The hard part is realizing that we mentally trick ourselves into thinking that we are wrapped little security blankets capable of controlling the word around us. When in reality we have no control over anything that happens around us. We can only control how we react or don't react to the things that happen.   

When we finally let of of negative emotions and attachments we find ourselves in a happier place with endless possibilities. Hello, the buffet of life!! But, if you get yourself trapped in an attachment cycle,  the more you cling, the more misery to yourself you will bring! 

So what do we need to let go?!  

The job that no longer fulfills us.

The relationships that no longer serve us.

The negative emotions that ensnare us in cyclical depression.

The possessions that become anchors around our necks.

The ideologies that stop us from moving forward in our thinking.

The expectations that stop anything from being a pleasant surprise. 

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It does not matter what situation you are going through, by simply taking a step back and realizing there is something that you are clinging to that needs to be released you are on the right path. Letting go may seem painful at first (like the instant when you tear off a bandaid), but then everything has an opportunity to get better. 

If you aren't quite ready to have that mental, emotional, physical PURGE PARTY come float!  There is nothing to help you prepare from letting go of something HUGE in your life by learning how to let your body let go in the Float Tank.  It takes baby steps, but as you let go of the little things it becomes a lot easier to tackle the major ones.

So who is ready to LET GO? Who is ready to cast aside the proverbial anchor? Who is ready to start a new adventure?!

Image courtesy of arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Floatation and Fibromyalgia a Winning Combination?

More people are turning to floatation therapy to help with everything from every day stress and to muscle aches, insomnia and chronic pain. Most clients do not divulge their personal stories over the phone, but after 60 minutes in the float tank many new floaters like to chat for a few minutes. Some are curious about the "magic" that happens in the tank, but others want to share personal stories or their reason for seeking floatation.  

Lately, we have started to see more people with an interest in floating for chronic pain as well as auto immune diseases (such as lupus and multiple sclerosis). Floatation can improve the lives of people with chronic pain specifically fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is the most common musculoskeletal condition in the US after osteoarthritis. There are currently 12 million people in the US with fibromyalgia, yet it is not well understood and often misdiagnosed. People who have fibromyalgia experience: depression, decreased, pain threshold, chronic pain and incapacitating fatigue. 

 Image courtesy of Ambro at Freedigitalphotos.net

 Image courtesy of Ambro at Freedigitalphotos.net

Since floating boosts:

      Endorphins- our bodies natural pain killers
      Dopamine - associated with feelings of motivation
      Serotonin- contributes to feelings of overall wellbeing and happiness 

It is a wonderful, safe natural way to ameliorate the long term effects of chronic disease.

Floating also lowers:

     Adrenaline - "the fight or flight" hormone
     Cortisol - a steroid hormone released in response to stress
     Norepinephrine - a marker of nervous system stress

We all benefit when we find natural ways to manage our stress better!  Our immune system gets a boost and we feel invigorated and revitalized overall.

There is a worldwide effort among float centers to track how floatation therapy affects individuals with fibromyalgia. This study is called the Fibromyalgia Floatation Project by Float On, Anicca Float Club is participating in this study because we want people with fibromyalgia to experience the benefits of regular floatation therapy.

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at Freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at Freedigitalphotos.net

Our first client to join the Fibromyalgia Floatation Project at Anicca Float Club, wrote:

 "I floated for 60 minutes and after a time, I started realizing I was not in any pain. I decided that if I was just pain free for the 60 minutes that I was floating that would be a relief and worth it. When I got out, I was pain free.  I was upbeat which is odd since I have the depression that comes to all of us who suffer with chronic illnesses. I was pain free for almost 3 days and I was cheerful.  I went shopping with my daughter something I had not been able to do for awhile. At the end of the 3 days my pain returned....

I will be trying to go at least once a week. I felt a bit like my old self again and I really liked that! Of course, like anything else, this may not work for all of us, but I hope that there are some of you like me, who can get relief from constant pain."

Do you want to learn more?  Do you want to participate in the Fibromyalgia Floatation project at Anicca Float Club?  Please contact us at gofloat@floatnaperville.com and look at the additional resources we have posted below.  

Additional Sources:

Beyond Rest Float Center, Floatation for Fibromyalgia  Australia, Floatation for Fibromyalgia

Mayo Clinic Staff, Fibromyalgia


Roderick Borrie,  Fibromyalgia and Float Tanks, Float Confernce 2012 Presentation

 

Floatation tank helps women deal with fibromyalgia pain