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The Seven Theories of Floating

By Michael Hutchinson, author of “The Book of Floating”

There’s no doubt that floating works – as a therapeutic, educational and entertainment tool it has powerful effects on a number of levels, including the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. But why is the flotation environment so effective? What can be so actively beneficial in an essentially passive device? This is a question that has intrigued scientists, and today there is flotation research going on in laboratories around the world. The evidence accumulated so far falls into a number of distinct, though interrelated explanations. Among the most important are as follows:

​1.0 The Anti-gravity Explanation

The buoyancy afforded by the dense Epsom salt solution eliminates the body’s specific gravity, bringing the floater close to an experience of total weightlessness. Gravity, which has been estimated to occupy 90 percent of all central nervous system activity, is probably the single largest cause of human health problems – the bad backs, sagging abdomens, aching feet, painful joints, and muscular tension that result from our unique but unnatural upright posture. This theory asserts that, by freeing our brain and skeletal system from gravity, floating liberates vast amounts of energies and large areas of the brain to deal with matter of mind, spirit, and enhanced awareness of internal states.

2.0 The Brain Wave Explanation

More interesting than the well-known alpha waves generated by the brain in moments of relaxation, are the slower theta waves, which are accompanied by vivid memories, free association, sudden insights, creative inspiration, feeling of serenity and oneness with the universe. It is a mysterious, elusive state, potentially highly productive and enlightening; but experimenters have had a difficult time studying it, and it is hard to maintain, since people tend to fall asleep once they begin generate theta waves. One way of learning to produce theta waves is to perfect the art of meditation. A study of Zen monks conducted by Akira Kazamatsu and Tomio Hirai, in which the monks’ brain-waves were charted as they entered the meditative states, indicated that the four meditative plateau’s (from alpha to the more sublime theta) “were parallel to the disciples’ mental states, and their years spent in Zen training.” Those monks with over twenty years of meditative experience generated the greatest amount of theta, the monks were not asleep but mentally alert. However, since many of us are unwilling to spend twenty years of mediation to learn to generate theta waves, it’s helpful to know that several recent studies (at Texas A&M and the University at Colorado) have shown that floating increases production of theta waves. Floaters quickly enter the theta state while remaining awake, consciously aware of all the vivid imagery and creative thoughts that pass through their minds, and after getting out of the floatation environment, floaters continue to generate larger amounts of creativity-promoting theta waves for up to three weeks.

Can I drown?

Not a chance. The solution is only 10 inches deep and is so dense that everyone floats effortlessly!  You can safely sleep in the tank.  We provide a neck pillow for those who like the additional support.

Do I wear a bathing suit? 

We highly recommend floating in the buff.  The feeling of a suit against your skin can be a distraction. 

Will I water get in my ears?
Will I water get in my ears?

You may choose to use silicone earplugs, which we supply.  We provide a solution of vinegar and water to clean the salt water from the ears after your float if needed.  The salt water is not harmful.  

You may choose to use silicone earplugs, which we supply.  We provide a solution of vinegar and water to clean the salt water from the ears after your float if needed.  The salt water is not harmful.  

How long should I float?

You are in control of the length of your session.  We offer 60-minute sessions, but you may end the session whenever you want by getting out of the tank.  Many people report that it takes about 30 minutes for their bodies to settle down and for their brains to enter "theta state".  Experienced floaters sometimes prefer longer sessions.  Some have floated for several hours at a time!

What if I am sick the day of my float?

Please give us a call and we will reschedule your session for when you are feeling better. 

Are there any health restrictions for floating?

We don't recommend floating for epileptics whose epilepsy is not under medical control; for people under the influence of alcohol, drugs, those with infectious diseases, open skin wounds, or those with suicidal tendencies. People with extreme low blood pressure, as floating tends to lower blood pressure.

If you have any health concerns please consult with your doctor before scheduling your session.

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