May 27, 2022
Connect with your Consciousness
Your Brain on Water: How Floating Connects You to Your Consciousness
Float tank therapy was born from a quest to study the origins of consciousness. In 1954, John C. Lilly innovated sensory deprivation tanks to simulate an environment where the senses receive no external input – leaving just the mind.
Fast-forward to 2022, and our modern lifestyles are bombarding our minds with more external sensory input than ever before – screens, sounds, lights, people, work – the pace of life seems to be in hyperdrive.
Running parallel to this busyness is a continued wellness movement, one that encourages us to slow down, take time for self-care and connect with our inner world – that place where peace and tranquility reside.
This is where we come full circle, back to the origins of float tank therapy, connecting with our consciousness.
What is Consciousness?
It’s a question as old as humankind. Who am I?
Consciousness is the awareness of an internal existence, separate to the external world.
Connecting with consciousness starts with an awareness of our current mental state, which impacts our experience of life as it forms the undercurrent of our day-to-day.
Much like a ship on the seas; if we imagine our consciousness as the ocean, the ship as our vessel through life – sailing on turbulent seas will make for an uncomfortable ride. Smoothing the ocean will smooth the journey of life.
Inside a sensory deprivation float pod, you’re left with is nothing other than your mental state, with a clear view of that ocean’s condition.
During float tank therapy, our senses are presented with a total equilibrium – a temperature matches body temperature, earplugs remove sound, a lack of visual distraction, and water supporting body weight. It’s a place where the physical body can rest and switch off.
This brings mindfulness into focus, without the influence of the outside world, for one hour, you are in your mind.
What mental pictures, thoughts, patterns, or worries do you think this would bring up for you if any?
How Does Floating Connect to Consciousness?
In 2021, one study delved deep into this question, using the latest medical technology to reveal how float tanks affect brain activity.
Detailed in Psychology Today, a team of researchers from the Laureate Institute for Brain Research in Oklahoma used neuroimaging to measure resting brain scans before and after three weekly sessions of sensory reduction and found:
- Sensory reduction decreases functional connectivity, responsible for mind-wandering and bodily representation.
- The brain’s DMN (default mode network), involved in mind-wandering or self-referential processes* greatly reduced after floating.
* the process relating information, often from the external world, to the self.
The study’s author said floating induced a homeostasis within the mind’s representation of the body.
Our brain function focused on the external world switches off, leaving us space to connect with the internal, consciousness.
What Does This Mean for Well-Being?
Many decades of study, in combination, have found float tank therapy can:
- – ease mental health pressures
- – successfully help manage stress
- – significantly relieve depression and anxiety, including PTSD and anxiety disorder
- – boost energy levels
- – improve happiness and outlook on life
Floatation has been shown to open a gateway to the Zen-like mode of a Theta state where creativity, learning, and intuition reign. This state is the goal of meditation, changing the brain frequency so peace, tranquillity, and altered states become possible.
Float tank therapy also lowers cortisol (stress hormone) and increases melatonin (sleep triggering hormone), improving neurological pathways and enhancing brain healing, adaptation, and learning.
The high levels of magnesium in the water absorbed through the skin increase concentration, focus, memory, and cognitive function.
Like meditation, floating is a practice. At first, it may seem like that peace and tranquillity are lost at sea! But with continued practice, changes evolve, allowing you to calm the turbulent seas of the mind and connect to your consciousness.