The world we live in today is overwhelming with sensory stimulation. Not only are we bombarded with fast moving vehicles, loud noises, and computer screens that constantly feed us new and changing information, we are also often faced with new situations, new events, and external pressures. Our brain interprets these routine daily stressors as danger, and responds by activating the sympathetic nervous system, or stress response. Chronic activation of the stress response is the hallmark of the modern stress epidemic and creates imbalances that lead to many serious diseases like cancer, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and mental illnesses.
During floating, the brain is freed from the constant demands of orienting the body in space and processing external stimuli. Freed from these two major cerebral demands, the brain can slip into profoundly deep and rejuvenating states of relaxation that eventually leads to the slower alpha or theta brainwave patterns normally associated with meditation. Meditation has been shown to reduce blood pressure, calm the nervous system, and recent studies suggest that it dramatically improves the immune system by reducing anxiety, worry, and stress. Regular meditation also produces an increased number of antibodies and improves brain function.
Various studies have shown flotation therapy to be an immediately effective and practical tool to reduce elevated levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, as well as immediately lower blood pressure without any drug intervention, special techniques, or training.
The intentional activation of the relaxation response through floating not only eliminates the negative effects of stress by reducing elevated levels of stress hormones and relaxing the nervous system. It also positively effects our biochemistry by naturally increasing pleasing and beneficial dopamine and endorphin levels, the combined effects of which contribute to a whole host of benefits including: increased performance, longevity, intelligence, memory, and well being.
The human brain is split into two hemispheres or lobes, which operate independently and quite different from one another. The left-brain is responsible for analytical, sequential, and logical thinking, while the right brain deals with non-verbal, simultaneous, intuitive, nonlinear, timeless, imaginative behavior. During much of our day-to-day activities, our left-brain dominates as we make decisions based on reason and logic. The right-brain is often neglected due to the overwhelming amount of the verbal/analytical information being transmitted by the left-brain.
When we float, we’re removing many of the tasks processed by the left-brain. The lack of sensory stimulation gives our right-brain a chance to thrive. This simple phenomenon is why so many floaters report increased creativity during a float session. Research has shown that there is more unity between the right and left sides of the brain during and after a float. This synchronization may indeed be one of the biggest benefits of flotation therapy, and explains reports of “an increase in productivity, performance, efficiency, and generalized feelings of competence, confidence, and wholeness.”
The benefits we receive from putting our bodies into a place of sensory relief are profound, and the following list is hardly exhaustive:
- Stress Relief
- Emotional Pain Relief – Improvement in post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), personal breakthroughs, emotional growth
- Calming for Autistic Individuals
- Insomnia Relief
- Jet Lag Recovery
- Addiction Recovery – Pain killers, smoking, alcohol, narcotics
- Enhanced Creativity
- Hemispheric Brainwave Synchronicity – Enhanced problem solving and cognitive ability
- Super-learning – Improved skill acquisition, language acquisition, and memorization
- Susceptibility to Hypnosis and Increased Suggestibility
- Weight Loss
- Overall Well Being
Because of the high density of the Epsom salt water, approximately 89% of gravity is no longer affecting your body when you float. Although you are not aware of it, you are continuously using a large portion of your mental and physical resources to counteract the force of gravity. The relief of this effort leaves your body with a surplus of energy and processing power at its disposal.
When left with this abundance of energy, your body spends its efforts on resting, recuperating, and healing anything that needs attention. In addition, the gravity-reduced environment allows your body to decompress, especially throughout the joints and the spinal column. It is the combination of these elements that creates the following benefits:
- Pain Relief – Reduced back and neck pain, relief from arthritis, scoliosis, and fibromyalgia pain
- Injury Recovery – Reduced recovery time from broken bones and sprained joints, spinal adjustment, structural alignment, physical rehabilitation
- Improved Athletic Performance – Enhanced visualization, lactic acid reduction, improved reaction time, reduced physical recovery time
- Relief from Pregnancy Discomfort
- Strengthened Immune System