Float therapyhas been around for a while, since the 1950s in fact. But float therapy is much different than it was in the past — and much better understood.Scientists have investigated the treatment effects from everything from anxiety, to fibromyalgia to creativity, and even meditative insight.
While early research was highly questionable in its methodology, more recently the scientific community has taken a serious look at the benefits. In fact, plenty of brain-imaging research has shown floating creates significant changes in brain activity, especially with those areas associated with attention and the stress response.The bottom line: floating is found to lower blood pressure, symptoms of insomnia, anxiety, depression and more.
How it works: during float therapy you are suspended in warm water saturated in Epsom salt. Christian Mackenzie, owner of Halsa in Vancouver, tells us “the extreme amounts of salt are saltier than the Dead Sea.”The result is that “you can totally relax into the experience as the effects of gravity are reduced.”During float therapy, brain waves shift to a theta state, associated with dream sleep, increased creativity and levels of meditation rivalled by master yogis. Cortisol levels decline, catecholamines (essential for learning and memory) increase and the fight or flight response associated with stress shuts off. The overall effect is a powerful sense of well being.
Why float? People are attracted to floating for all kind of reasons, but the biggest draw hands down is stress reduction.According to Mackenzie, most guests view time in the tank as “a chance to unplug from the stresses of life, quit doing and simply be.” Just how relaxing is it? Research shows that floating tamps down the anxiety response in ways that rival potent prescription drugs.Mackenzie adds: “On the physical level, the high levels of Epsom salt are great for muscle recovery and the relaxing environment allows the body’s self-healing mechanisms to engage, repairing tissues and flushing metabolic by-products from the system.”
Cost of floating? A 90-minute float session will set you back anywhere from $40 to $70 depending on where you go. Devotees say it’s well worth it though, with most avid floaters building in a regular routine to enjoy compounding effects. Or FREE in the Caribbean Sea.