What is Floatation Therapy?

Floatation therapy is a holistic practice that involves sensory deprivation while immersed in a tank filled with saline water, to relieve psychological stress and physical discomfort. Although new to many people, this complementary therapy has been around for close to 70 years.

Invented by the late American neuroscientist and physician John C. Lilly in 1954, the first floatation tank was used to study the effects of floating on the human brain. These days, the therapy is gaining popularity among fans of both complementary and conventional medicine because of its numerous health benefits.

What is floatation therapy?

How Does Floatation Therapy Work?

During a therapy session, the client submerges in a large, round tub filled with room temperature water and about a thousand pounds of Epsom salt mixed into it. They lie in the tub for about an hour or two, getting into a meditative state in the process. Besides the soothing effects of the water, most wellness centres that offer this kind of therapy equip their floatation rooms with relaxing music and colour-changing lights to enhance the person's healing experience.

The absence of gravity in a floatation tub is therapeutic for the mind and for the body. It allows you to float effortlessly in a relaxing environment that is devoid of any form of distraction. The buoyancy of water supports your body like a waterbed, except that you're completely submerged in water. The comfort it gives transcends your physical needs; it reaches your mind so that you emerge from the tub with feelings of inexplicable wellness.

What are the Benefits of Floatation Therapy?

Scientific data shows that undergoing floatation therapy has far-reaching benefits, especially on people who suffer from chronic anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders. Researchers involved in the study of floatation therapy found that patients who have been suffering from anxiety for many years were relieved of its symptoms after a two-hour float. Besides relieving anxiety and stress, this therapy provides many other benefits including:

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Relieves back pain
  • Resolves chronic pain
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Alleviates fibromyalgia
  • Softens skin
  • Relieves pain due to arthritis
  • Brings about feelings of calm and bliss

What Can You Expect From Floatation Therapy?

A floatation therapy session lasts from 60 to 90 minutes. It is best to avoid drinking coffee or any stimulants before it to keep your body relaxed. It's also not advisable to shave before floating because the high concentration of salt in the water can cause irritation and discomfort on the skin.

Before and after the session, you need to take a quick shower. Floating nude is suggested to fully reap the benefits of the therapy, but you may choose to wear a bathing suit in lightweight fabric, such as nylon or spandex, if you don't want to completely undress.

The floating tank is devoid of any external noises, allowing you to instantly get into a relaxed state. You can get in any position in the water so long as you're comfortable with it. Because of the absence of gravity in the tank, lying in there for an hour is not only relaxing but also good for aligning your posture. 

Although you can float every day if you want to, wellness and spa centres that offer floatation therapy would recommend twice-weekly sessions, as the effects of floating continue to work on the body even days after the previous session. 

Is Floatation Therapy Safe?

Floatation tanks are safe and beneficial to children and adults. The former, however, should come with a guardian. People with certain medical conditions must consult their doctor before dipping into a floatation tank to avoid any possible contraindications.