Whether you are preparing for the start of a new year, or you are simply giving yourself a reboot when it works best for you, it’s a common practice to “reset” your life. From New Year’s Resolutions to bucket lists, humans are fascinated by the idea of setting goals and achieving them. There are many ways that you can tap into your potential when you set out on a new goal journey, and floating is a great tool to have.

Your Brain on Floating

Floating is a complete sensory deprivation experience, meaning you will be left totally alone with your own thoughts. There is no physical, aural, visual, or other sensory information that your brain has to process while floating; even the sensation of gravity is all gone! This means that your mind can turn inward and explore itself. Brain function tends to enter a very creative state when you are floating. Many people report finding unique solutions to lifelong problems, or to experiencing epiphanies related to their art.

For those trying to set out on a new journey, this could be a great way to examine some of the potential challenges you may face along the way, and to come up with some out-of-the-box solutions to help yourself succeed.

Productivity and Floating

Believe it or not, science shows that turning off the brain, whether through meditation or floating, can vastly improve both productivity and willpower. With a period of total relaxation, far more than just your regular sleep schedule can offer, the brain gets a restorative boost. When you leave, you’ll be energized, and ready to tackle things that have previously daunted you.

For those getting started with a new goal or a long-term plan, this early mental boost can be exactly what you need to overcome initial challenges. As creatures of inertia, we hate change – and by giving yourself a leg up over that resistance to change, you are more likely to succeed.

Anxiety and Floating

One thing that many experience when they set out to achieve a new goal is anxiety. We don’t know what will happen or if we will fail, and that can be scary. But floating offers a physical relief from anxiety, thanks to the magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt) solution that fills the tank. This solution actually helps to lower blood pressure, regulate heart rhythm, and can help you feel less anxious and more relaxed.

This solution has also been shown to relieve tension and pain – that’s why Epsom salt is so often used in foot baths and other spa practices. What better way to start off a new journey than with a body that is pain-free, relaxed, and energized?

Don’t Fail Before You Begin

The worst thing you can do for yourself when starting a new journey is to beat yourself up for failures that haven’t even happened yet. When you choose to prioritize your goals by giving yourself a boost with floating, you will have the confidence you need to tackle your journey with more creativity, less anxiety, and more energy.

Why Doing Nothing Is So Important

One of the biggest concerns we hear from people interested in floating is that they don’t have the time to “waste doing nothing”. It seems that many believe that laying around in a pool of water for a length of time is the equivalent of staring at paint drying while your to-do list crumbles around you. This way of thinking is a little bit right and a little bit wrong. There are many benefits of floating that make this activity far more than doing nothing; but we also know that science tells us that doing nothing is a very important task indeed!

Gaining Control Through Nothing

While some may think that they will lose control of their to-do lists when doing “nothing”, the science shows that taking this time to rest the brain actually gives greater control over thought patterns, behavior, and health concerns. Floatation therapy is one way to force yourself to give “nothing” a try; once you’re in the tank, you won’t be able to be distracted from your meditative state.

Floating = Nothing?

We believe that the perception of floating as “nothing” stems from the fact that floating involves zero sensory input. In today’s world, where we have constant access to consumables, and where collaboration is a highly respected method of working, it is hard to imagine being completely without any sort of stimuli, and being completely dependent on your own brainpower and creativity, to meet your goals.

However, we know based on many studies, that floating in a sensory deprived state can unlock a great amount of creativity and problem solving. The ability to get away from the normal mode of working enables us to realize solutions that we may never have seen otherwise. So we don’t believe that floating is truly “doing nothing”.

However, it is true that you can consider part of floating to be a state of nothingness. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing!

Why Do Nothing?

Today’s workers are some of the most burnt out individuals that this planet has ever seen. Across the board, anxiety and fatigue are higher than they have historically ever been. Taking a total rest, and sinking into a “nothing” state, has been shown to not only improve health, but also to improve productivity and efficiency.

These studies have largely taken place with the act of meditation, but floatation therapy is gaining recognition as another method of total relaxation. The science shows that this conscious “reset” for the brain is vital for more than just improving your work-related skills. They can also improve patience, decrease feelings of rage or frustration, and have a marked impact on the amount of stress a person shoulders every day.

Doctors have even gone so far as to begin prescribing periods of doing nothing as a treatment for stress-related illnesses. These prescriptions specify removing yourself from all stimuli, including others’ company, and being totally free to explore your brain without anything to consume. That defines floating to a T.

5 Mistakes Floaters Make, and How to Avoid Them

When you first hear about floating, there are a few common reactions that you’ll probably experience. You’ll either think that it sounds frightening, too “new agey”, or you’ll be worried about the sanitation. These are some very common initial thoughts that take a bit of reading and research to get past. The truth is that floating is a safe, scientifically-backed, sanitary method of relieving stress and even treating pain. Once you’ve come to realize these things, you’re ready to become a first-time floater.

Every person who comes to love floatation spas is unique, and their experience floating will be unique as well. But we have noticed a few common mistakes made by rookie floaters, which can put some people off from ever coming back. It takes time to get “good” at floating; to really settle in and benefit from the therapy, it’s best to come back more than once. In order to help you feel comfortable coming back again, we’ve compiled a few tips to help you avoid the five most common mistakes we see first-timers make:

Touching the Eyes

Our floatation tanks are filled with a solution of water and 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt. This allows anyone to float, even a person who has never been able to float in water before. It’s simply impossible for the human body to be denser than this solution. As you lie back into the water, it will rise to the level of your temples. Your eyes, nose, and mouth will be completely above the water.

However, one of the big mistakes we see that causes floaters to not come back is getting the water in their eyes. With so much Epsom salt present, this can seriously irritate the eyes. It isn’t dangerous, but it’s also not comfortable. It’s important to get any hair away from your face, and to keep your hands away from your eyes while floating. If you must raise your arm up – to reach for the door, or to reposition – be sure you close your eyes so that no water can drip into them.

Keeping Tension in the Neck

It’s harder for first-time floaters to truly relax in the water. Our brains are naturally inclined to keep our heads out of water (to save us from drowning), so it’s common for the neck and shoulders to be tensed during the first float experience. Despite knowing that your head is more buoyant than the water, it’s hard to convince instincts to give in.

There are a few ways that this problem can be alleviated. The first is to use a small, inflatable pillow to prop the head up out of the water a little higher. This can ease your mind enough that your body will be able to relax more. Another thing you can do is to raise your arms over your head while floating. This position doesn’t allow for the neck and shoulders to stay tensed. Finally, just giving it some time can help. After about 20 minutes of floating, your body should relax naturally.

To Eat or Not to Eat

One of the biggest questions that first-time floaters ask is whether or not they should eat before they float. No matter how often we advise to eat a light meal at least an hour before the float spa appointment, it’s still common for rookie floaters to complain that either they couldn’t relax because their stomach was growling; or they felt too full and uncomfortable from a large meal right before the appointment.

Your stomach needs to be in a totally neutral state to fully enjoy floating. A growling stomach can disrupt your sound-free, relaxed experience. A stuffed stomach can make you feel uncomfortable (and cause inevitable interruptions for the restroom). Eat a light meal, at least an hour before arriving, and be sure to use the facilities before you begin. Avoid caffeine if you can help it, because it disrupts your ability to fully relax.

Expecting Too Much – or Anything at All

It’s hard to predict exactly what your float experience will be like. Some clients report an almost spiritual experience, where they felt connected to the world, connected to themselves, and connected to some idea of a higher consciousness or power. Others simply feel as though they are pampering themselves – similar to receiving a massage or a pedicure.

Because floating experiences can differ so greatly, it’s important not to expect too much, or anything at all really, for your first time. By entering the float tank with no expectations and an open mind, you’ll be able to enjoy whatever happens, regardless of how grand the experience turns out to be.

Not Having a Purpose

As you go on with your float practice, and begin coming in more often to float again, you may want to develop the habit of giving each float session a purpose. There’s nothing worse than getting into the tank, settling into your comfortable space, closing your eyes, and then spending half an hour or more trying to decide if you want to just relax your mind, or if you want to try to tap into some creative thinking.

Instead, ask yourself before you enter the tank what your goal is. It’s okay to not have a goal at all; you can simply want to settle into the tank and let your mind wander. But by taking a moment to identify a purpose, you can take advantage of your entire float session.

These five mistakes can be major stumbling blocks to achieving a truly beneficial floating practice. By knowing what to look for, and avoiding them, not only will your first float be better, but you’ll be more likely to come back for a second float. As your body gets used to the physical sensation of floating, and your mind gets used to the longer stretch of sensory deprivation, you’ll begin to experience the deep benefits of floating.

The First Floaters: A Brief History of Floating

The Beginning

What would happen if the brain stopped receiving sensory information? Would it enter a state without activity or would it continue to act, relying on past information? John C. Lilly was looking for the answer to this question in 1954. The resulting invention was the float tank.

Lilly built a large flotation chamber. He filled it with water and placed his participants in large diving suits with the facemask painted black to keep any light source from penetrating it. He was excited to learn that all of his participants remained conscious and aware but yet incredibly relaxed. Some even experienced epiphanies that led them to understanding more about themselves in a deeper way than they ever imagined. After more research, it was concluded that this is possible with the elimination of external stimuli. A person’s energy is used to promote relaxation instead of focusing on the outer world.

Lily continued his research for the next twenty years. The tank went through a series of physical changes. It wasn’t until the early 1970s that the tanks began to resemble something that you would recognize by today’s standards. They become more welcoming and less scientific in appearance.

Getting Tanks Out of the Lab

Lilly knew early on that he wanted to bring his tanks to the public so that they could experience floating. He entered into a partnership with Glen and Lee Perry, who were contracted to design the perfect float tank. The tank was to be called “Samadhi”, which is a Sanskrit word for “profound state of meditation”.

The new tanks were designed to be used without a diving suit, which appealed to more people. The enclosure was light-proof on its own. They wanted to make floatation as easy as possible for people so they began to add salt to the water. They began with table salt but quickly learned that this could be uncomfortable for the user. They then turned to Epsom salt, which has its own long list of health benefits.

All of the salt in the water made floating in the chamber effortless and automatic. The user wouldn’t feel a sense of gravity. When this is combined with a tank that eliminates all sound and light sources, sensory deprivation therapy begins.

In 1973, the first float tank center opened in California. There was an initial swarm of consumers and interest continued to grow in the therapy. Unfortunately, the interest began to decline in the mid-1980s. It is speculated that this was due to the rise in awareness of AIDS. Many people shied away from pools and spas because of the misconception that the disease could be spread this way. As a result, many float spas closed.

Learning to Float Again

In the early 2000s, the public began to embrace the concept of float tanks once again. Slowly but surely, the tanks began to pop up and more people became aware of the treatment. By 2010, there were floatation conferences, the first of their kind. This helped to continuously spread the idea of float tanks among small businesses and consumers.

With such an increase in interest during a time of effortless communication, more researchers and professionals were able to come together and improve floating through brainstorming sessions and new ideas. The concept of float tanks exploded into what it has become today. There are float spas in nearly every major city and growth shows no signs of slowing down.

Whether you float on a regular basis or are new to the concept, be sure to BOOK A SESSION in order to experience this therapy and appreciate its fascinating history.