Imagine floating. Not in the ocean, but in a pool. The water is the same temperature as your skin and there are no bright lights to disturb or distract you. There’s no noise, just you floating in a calm, dark space.
It sounds strange, but some people find solace in flotation therapy. The popularity of floating is growing and is not limited to the East or West coasts as float centres are popping up in many small towns in recreational & training facilities as well. While float therapy sounds the perfect environment for meditation, it is also great for physical recovery due to the anti-inflammation benefits from absorption of high-grade magnesium hepta sulphate.
So how did this unusual relaxation method come to be and why does its popularity continue to grow? Are float spas regulated and is there evidence to back up its beneficial claims?
Let’s dive in and learn more.
What is flotation therapy?
Invented in the 1950s, flotation therapy aims to reduce the distractions of sight, sound and touch. This is why float therapy is sometimes called deprivation or isolation therapy. To create a perfect float environment, float pods or isolation tanks are used. Some believe floating relaxes the mind and body and reduces feelings of stress, anxiety and muscle tension. There isn’t a large amount evidence to support other claims like improved creativity, improved athletic performance and improved learning abilities.
How does flotation therapy work?
Float pods contain a small pool of water that can comfortably fit an adult. The water in these tanks is kept at skin surface temperature. This temperature melds with the surface of your skin and creates a slightly odd, touchless sensation.
Large amounts of Epsom salt are added to the water, allowing you to float effortlessly. Since the water is so dense, it takes a lot of effort to flip your body over, which makes it easy to stay on your back.
Experts recommend you float without light or sound for the full experience. Float pods can close out light completely and create a silent atmosphere within the pool. The goal is to reduce outside interruption or stimuli. If that’s too intense for the floater, most pods can be lit and allow sound in.
What does float therapy feel like?
Floaters typically float without clothing or a bathing suit and are required to shower and wash their hair before stepping into a float pod. Ear plugs are recommended. In the dark and without distraction, floaters let their minds fall into a quiet, meditative state.
What fans of the practice like is that floating makes them feel relaxed and calm. Some report it feels like a dream-like state, while others like the way it makes them feel “unplugged” for an hour or so. Some have mentioned they don’t like being in the complete dark and prefer to float with lights or an open ceiling.
How are float spas regulated?
The Health Department of Western Australia is responsible for regulating floatation centres. Some states have laws that require regulation from the Department of Health Services, while others have no laws regulating spas.
Use your best judgment, consult reviews and check out the location of a float spa before you book an appointment. If you have any questions about a location in your area, it’s always a good idea to call your local Department of Health Services.
Before you decide to try flotation therapy, consult with your primary care doctor and even a licensed therapist to see if it’s a good choice for you.
You might find that flotation therapy is a good fit for you, or maybe you’re not yet ready to step into the water. Either way, this trend shows many people are searching for and prioritizing relaxation methods that work for them.
For more information on floatation therapy in Perth, visit www.saltfloatstudio.com.au or call our studio on (08) 6277 0060.