You may have heard of floatation tanks after watching an episode of the Simpsons, where Homer and Lisa give it a go to do some father-daughter bonding. Although taken humorously in that particular episode, floatation tanks are real and their benefits are countless. Holistic Benefits explains that
Floatation therapy simulates zero gravity by dissolving 800-1000 lbs of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) into approximately 200 gallons of water in a small shallow pool.
You then lie down in the pool and the tank is closed, allowing you to enjoy the fantastic benefits it brings. These benefits include being in an anti-gravity environment, releasing endorphins and achieving a completely relaxed, meditative state. As floatation therapy has become increasingly popular, new benefits have also surfaced.
Floatation Therapy to Reduce Pain and Inflammation
Many people who experience pain or inflammation of any part of their body would turn to pharmaceutical remedies to alleviate these symptoms. However, it now seems that floatation therapy can also be a great benefit to relieving pain, using your own body to heal itself. As explained by FloatAway
Our bodies have natural pain killers which are just as effective, in fact often much more effective than drugs. They are called endorphins.
As soon as we submerge our bodies in warm water, we start to release endorphins. This relaxes both our bodies and our minds. In being relaxed, we no longer tense, strain or avoid areas where we experience pain, allowing these parts of our bodies to heal.
Floatation in Sports Science
Because of all these benefits, athletes around the world have started to use floatation therapy. Athletes push their bodies to the very limits of human capabilities and this leads to significant and serious injuries. They are often in better physical condition than non-athletes, leaving them less susceptible to common infections, but when they do have an injury, it is often far more severe. However, you may have noticed that athletes also have very short recovery periods. Someone with a torn ligament, sprained ankle or even broken bone can be seen back on the field in a time so short that it leaves ordinary people baffled. Although this is also due to their fantastic physical condition and the fact that they have access to the best medical care in the world, it is also because they use floatation therapy. Jade Johnson, a long jumper for the 2012 Olympic’s Team GB tried it out.
Shortly after Jade had been using our floatation tanks she was able to put a personal best jump of 6.81m, an Olympic qualifying distance, achieved in June at the 2008 European Cup in France.
Floatation Tanks for Meditation
Floatation tanks have been used in spiritual communities for some time now. They are often referred to as “sensory deprivation tanks”, although many now believe this is not an accurate name. Indeed, it removes sound, smell and sight from our environment, but we can still feel the water around us. Be that as it may, many people who have used the tanks for meditation purposes have reported amazing experiences that have allowed them to meditate deeper than ever before. The Chicago Stress Relief Center now offers floatation therapy as well.
First developed in 1972, John Lilly used the tank for meditation, visualization, rejuvenation, self observation, creativity, time travel, prayer, solitude, rest and relaxation.
Since this was the tank’s original purpose, it stands to reason that it has been highly effective in achieving that. Stress is best remedied by extreme relaxation, which is exactly what these tanks offer. Furthermore, it means that the negative physical effects of stress are also removed.