From those intrusive thoughts constantly invading our minds to the aesthetics and ambiance of our surroundings affecting our mood and productivity, we are constantly bombarded by our environment. Notions of what happened in the past or what’s going to happen in the future consume our thoughts. Are these infinite train of thoughts and busy surroundings making you feel engulfed? Enter floating sensory deprivation tanks to save the day!
Lights, sounds, smells, temperature, and even gravity can be overwhelming to the brain and body. As an experiment, try thinking about nothing for a moment. Absolutely nothing.
Seems simple, but our thoughts easily stray. The calendar in the corner catches your eye, you recall an errand that you need to run, or the last song you hear plays in your mind. But how do you float out of that?
WHAT IS FLOATING?
At its core, floating is the sensory isolation. The concept is to eliminate as many external stimuli as possible to benefit the physical, mental, and emotional being. Floating is done in a tank or chamber where water is heated to average skin temperature (94.5 degrees) with the salinity and buoyancy of the Dead Sea. That, combined with audio and visual deprivation, allows one to reach a truly relaxed state. This triggers a parasympathetic response which has many positive effects, including increased relaxation as well as boosted creativity.
It is no wonder that Floating has been gaining popularity among the millennials lately, but it’s also not a modern day invention. Sensory deprivation tanks have actually been around since the 1950’s and even the Simpsons used them to embark upon spiritual journeys in the 1999 episode “Make Room for Lisa.”
BENEFITS OF FLOATING
Over the course of 60 years, many empirical studies have been conducted to test the benefits of sensory deprivation. It has shown to strengthen the immune system as well as release endorphins. These endorphins are beneficial to those with muscular pains, anxiety, trouble concentrating, depression, trouble sleeping, burnout, addictions, and fatigue.
Even sports franchises are now using floating to help the body process lactic acid a to improve recovery time, which improves athletic performance. It also improves hand-eye coordination and reduces inflammation. While the overall benefits of floating depend on the individual, they can increase with usage.
THE SCIENCE BEHIND FLOATING
The sweet spot for the benefits of floating lie between four and seven Hz, known as Theta Waves. This is the area between deep sleep and heightened perception, which we often associate with deep meditation, dreams, light sleep, and REM sleep. In Theta, we are conscious of our surroundings, but the body is in deep relaxation.
While some might prefer an all-inclusive trip to Tahiti, the benefits of sensory deprivation are hard to ignore. Thoughts of tropical drinks aside, floating on the Dead Sea with zero care in the world may be the key to decluttering our overly stimulated minds.