Before you ever slip into that chamber of warm water, you should give some serious thought to what benefits of floating you especially want to experience.
Our brains are super-busy. More than we'll ever know.
I'm not just talking about our thinking and our normal 5 senses--seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, and tasting. There's another 6th sense, called proprioception.
You don't hear about it much. For many of us, proprioception is just a blank.
So, what is proprioception? Proprioception is how we sense our body's position, its movement, and its acceleration.
Now, just think about that for a minute. How much of that sensing does our brain do for us without any conscious participation? From moment to moment, our brain is mapping where all of our body parts are in relation to each other and then coordinating all those body parts together in order to move and negotiate gravity.
There's this crazy busyness always going on. Your brain has to do all this body-mapping all the time.
And this is where 7 insane--but wonderful--things happen to you in float therapy.
1. Zero Gravity
Float tanks do a big number in shutting down this 6th sense.
Just imagine, you slip into your float chamber, and this hyper-buoyant water keeps you afloat. Stretched out in the warm silky water, the Epsom Salt keeps your body floating of its own accord.
You've just relieved your body from gravitational pressure on your joints, tendons, ligaments, bones, and muscles. That's a lot of work your brain no longer has to negotiate.
Now, your brain is being denied so much of the work that it normally has to do. No gravity to worry about, no proprioceptive work.
2. Pay Attention to the details!
Relieved of its normal duties, your brain latches onto smaller, more minute sensations.
You're on your back, and there's this wonderful counter-gravity pressure completely supporting your feet, legs, hands, arms, and spine. Your brain no longer has to help your bones and muscles strain against gravity.
What a relief for both your brain and your body!
So, your brain zeroes in on much smaller sensations throughout your body, intensifying what you can sense: your fluttering eyelids, residual knots of tension at distinct spots in your body. There's lots going on in your body that you never felt before.
You're noticing muscle tensions you didn't know existed.
3. You Just Relax
Soon enough, those knots and muscle tensions can start to melt.
As the water underneath you buoys you up, you can feel your spine stretch in ways it can't when you are standing up and walking around, constantly defying gravity.
Your brain and your floating body can work in tandem now. Together, they are conspiring to make you relax in ways that cause many to feel rubbery when they step out of their float chamber.
If fact, some of you will relax so much that after your float, you will need some time in the lounge to adjust to normal sitting and standing.
From there on, the rest of the fallout from floating's zero-gravity is like dominoes. Believe it or not, here are the remaining four of those seven things that float therapy does for you:
4. With the relaxation, your heart can operate more efficiently and more effortlessly;
5. With the counter-pressure of the water upholding you and stretching you out on its surface, your blood circulates more freely;
6. Your blood pressure drops; and
7. Your pulse rate slows.
Show me the Guarantee!
When you slide into your float chamber, you are guaranteed to float. 850 llbs of Epsom Salt dissolved in 200 gallons of water is bound to do that.
And your proprioceptive sense is guaranteed to shut down more than anywhere else on this earth.
Also, it's a guarantee that some people just don't seem to experience as many benefits from floating therapy's zero-gravity as others do.
But there are just far too many testimonials and research accounts from those who have found relief from chronic pain by floating. Whether it's people with bursitis, arthritis, tendonitis, or muscle strain, float therapy's zero gravity has truly benefited them.
So, go find a float centre, and give your brain and body a rest. Surrender to the zero-gravity of your float chamber and experience first-hand what happens when your brain and body finally take a rest from proprioception.
How does the thought of floating make you feel? Jittery? Excited? Maybe you're both nervous and feeling an adrenaline rush at the same time.
Well, if you've never floated before, or even if you've floated once or twice, here are some simple ways to enhance your time floating and to make each floating experience better than the last.
Hear Ye, Hear Ye
Before you float, someone will walk you through your floating preparation. Listen to the orientation that your float centre provides.
Listen carefully, because your float centre host will cover quite a few points in a short time. They will probably cover these 3 topics: 1) how to prepare yourself just before you float; 2) how to get into and lie down in your float chamber; and 3) what do to right after you get out of your float chamber.
That's a lot to remember. So, I'll let you cheat. Here's a rundown on what to do immediately before and after you float.
And here are some pointers on what to do and NOT to do once you're inside your float chamber.
Pull Out Your Map
Before we take a road trip, we usually plan a route. If nothing else, we take the GPS or Google Maps with us, so we know just where we're going and how we're going to get there.
It's the same with floating. Before you float, you should acquaint yourself with some of the major benefits of floating. That way, you know what you will want to happen inside your float chamber.
For example, did you know that float chambers are one of the best places ever to visualize and see something in your mind's eye? That's why lots of elite athletes float to visualize a new move or skill. Or students float to practice seeing the answers to their exam questions. Or business professionals visualize themselves giving a major presentation.
Visualizing is just one of at least a dozen things that floating can really do for you. So, doesn't it make sense to pull out a map of all the major benefits to floating and to figure out which benefits you want to explore?
Plan Your Floating Experiment
Was there one benefit of floating that especially captured your attention? Did you see a way floating might help you improve some part of your life?
Maybe you're really stressed at work and/or at home. Acknowledge it.
Maybe you've got some pain that won't go away, or a nagging injury. Acknowledge it.
Maybe you're need to inject some creativity into your current work project or your latest art project. Acknowledge it.
It helps to drive or ride to your float centre with an idea of what floating might do for you. Be bold. Tell yourself you are going to conduct a floating experiment. Tell yourself it's part of your self-development program.
Go With the Flow
To everything there is a time and a season. There's a time to remember what you've read about floating and what you've heard your float center host say in your orientation.
And there's a time to forget.
Once you step into your float chamber and close the door and start your float, it's time to forget. You're floating in a comfortable quiet position. So, forget about everything else now.
Just go with the flow. Let the float happen. Put away the words. Let the experience unfold.
There is nothing more to do than just pay attention from moment to moment to moment.
Enjoy the After-Glow
Once the music comes through the water, signalling the end of your 90-minute float, a surprise awaits you.
You'll step out of your float chamber, and no matter what else has happened to you in the last 90-minutes, you will most likely notice 3 things in your few steps from the tank to the shower:
- You are really, really relaxed. The last thing you want is to rush.
- Every part of you is in slow-mode.
- You will open your eyes to an intensely vivid world that delights your senses. You see and hear in a newly vibrant way.
Both you and the world feel new.
That's why float centres have post-float lounges. You are not ready to rush out into that big, loud jarring world yet. So, seat yourself and savour not only your tea or water but your post-float glow, too.
Do Your Homework
Remember your mother reminding you to do your homework after school?
Well, somewhere between 2 and 14 days after your float, your post-float glow is going to wear off. As it subsides, there's one simple piece of homework to do.
Ask yourself, "What benefits did I get from my last float?" In other words, "Did my floating experiment work?"
For example maybe you wanted to see if floating helped you with that really painful fall you had. And maybe you've noticed an improvement.
Maybe you unintentionally plunged into a meditative state that went deeper than anything that happened to you in all your years of meditative striving. Now, you want to explore that meditative state further.
Maybe it's the deep relaxation that especially surprised you, and you find yourself able to think more clearly about a problem that used to tie you up in knots.
If you've noticed any such improvement(s), be sure to note that improvement. You might even want to go so far as to note that improvement in a personal log or a journal.
After that, you're ready to assign yourself a new floating experiment for your next float.
There's a reason most float centres offer multi-float packages.
So many of us have issues that are a little more chronic than we realize. It only makes sense that it takes more than one float session to learn to really let go.
You cannot experience the full potential of floating in one float. Not nearly.
So, to get the most out of floating, get back into that chamber, and remember these 7 ways to make floating the best it can be.
Your first float is just the beginning of an incredible new way to develop yourself, expand your potential and discover new dimensions to your wellness.