Relaxation is about reducing the stress, bustle and noise of daily living, to let yourself just be.
Imagine then if you could remove all external stimuli: sight, sound, smell, movement, even touch.
Leaving just the inner you.
Scientists have been researching this for more than 50 years, the term they use mostly is “sensory deprivation” – Google it to get all the science.
Basically what happens is that when the brain is deprived of sensory stimulation, after a while it creates its own. The thoughts that flow are not random or anything like dreams; they are more akin to deep meditation. Afterwards, most people feel not just more relaxed but more focused, with a clearer vision of themselves and their lives, renewed energy and a more creative approach.
The technique now being used world-wide to achieve this state safely and reliably is flotation. You float in body-temperature water saturated with Epsom salts, to make it highly bouyant, inside a large pod which blocks all light and external sound. After a few minutes your heart and breathing slow and awareness of even your own body slips away. Then you can release your true, calm and creative self.
The tanks are large fibreglass pods. At The Floating Forest each pod is in its own room. You lock the door, take a shower and step into the pod. Most people prefer to be naked but this is up to you. When you’re ready, lower the lid (it’s on hydraulics and takes no effort).
You’ll hear a few minutes of relaxation music that gently slows your heart and breathing until you are fully relaxed. Then, time seems to slip into another dimension. The music will start again, softly, as you approach the end of your one hour session.
When you’re finished, take another shower, pull on a robe and go to the relaxation room, where you’ll be served a pot of herbal tea of your choice. Take your time. Consider what you’ve experienced.
Floating is used by sports people who want total focus in a major event. It’s used by business people to sharpen themselves for major negotiations. It’s used by writers to release their creative processes. It’s use by people with high stress lives, who want to reset to a more relaxed level. Some people have found it helps with stress-triggered allergies, like asthma. It can also help with chronic pain, acting as natural pain relief.
Instead of stepping outside your comfort zone, take a step deeper inside it – and try floating at The Floating Forest.
You can ask questions about flotation by sending us a message or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
See prices for floating.
A good review article, citing over 80 studies in various scientific publications, is Health and Therapeutic Applications ofChamber and Flotation RestrictedEnvironmental Stimulation Therapy by Peter Suedfeld (a psychologist at the Universituy of British Colombia) and Roderick Borrie (of South Oaks Hospital in New York) published in Psychology and Health, 1999, vol 14, pp545 – 566 and available online at http://floatforhealth.net/suedfeld.pdf.
They conclude, “Studies applying these findings in medical, psychotherapeutic and behavioural contexts have shown reductions in stress and inappropriate behaviour among patients suffering from drug-induce mania, agitation, autism and Alzheimer’s syndrome; reduced phobic symptoms, significantly lower relapse in habit modification intervention s (eg, smoking, alcohol intake and weight loss); improved stress management and the amelioration of tension headaches, insomnia and other stress related symptoms; reduction of chronic pain; and better muscle control among cerebral palsy patients and others.”
The water in flotation tanks at The Floating Forest is super-saturated with food grade Magnesium Sulphate (Epsom Salt)
This dramatically increases the buoyancy of the water making it impossible for a person to sink below the surface.
Epsom Salt has benefits beyond buoyancy. Epsom Salt is comprised of magnesium and sulfate (natural anti-inflammatories).
Magnesium is a co-factor in over 300 functions of the body; low magnesium can increase the risk of a wide range of illnesses (see Magnesium deficiency is common in western societies: in the US one major study reported 57% of people were deficient. This was the Community Nutrition Mapping Project, 2009-07-29, titled Nutrient Intakes Percent of population 2 years old and over with adequate intakes based on average requirement. Click here to read it online.
The US-based Universal Health Institute reports that raising your magnesium levels can improve your circulation, improve your body’s ability to use insulin, ease muscle pain, regulate electrolytes, and relieve stress: you can read their report online.
Magnesium also helps balance blood sugar and lower insulin, which helps with weight loss, according to a study by Adela Hruby and others, titled Higher Magnesium Intake Is Associated with Lower Fasting Glucose and Insulin, with No Evidence of Interaction with Select Genetic Loci, in a Meta-Analysis of 15 CHARGE Consortium Studies, published in The Journal of Nutrition, 143:3 (2013) which you can read online here.
Another good reference is the Magnesium Fact Sheet for Health Professionals published by the US National Institutes of Health. This lists more than 60 professional references.