March 28, 2019

The Ultimate Guide to Floating

A couple enjoying the benefits of floating
Happiness is the highest form of health. - Dalai Lama

What is Floating?

Floatation Therapy is the use of a sensory deprivation tank for relaxation, stress management and pain relief focus and creativity. A sensory deprivation tank, sometimes called an isolation tank or floatation tank. These tanks should be housed in a controlled environment or float room specially design to calibrate light, sound and temperature 500kg’s of epsom salt Magnesium Sulphate this therapeutic solution enables you to float effortlessly. The combined effect is R.E.S.T Reduced-Environmental-Stimulation-Therapy this induces meditation relaxing the body and mind allowing for natural healing and recovery to take place.


Float Tank Benefits?

Float tanks reduce stress, chronic pain, depression and increase wellness. Evidence proves the boost creativity and productivity. The high concentration of magnesium sulphate in the Epsom salt float solution provides total buoyancy you will float in complete comfort in a cradle of silky-smooth therapeutic water. In a well calibrated float room sensory stimulation of sound, smell, light, touch sensations disappear you can escape the pressures of life in your own private space. The meditative effect of floating helps decreases stress levels, reduce muscle tension, and clears your mind. After a floating session you will feel a sense of wellbeing, relaxation, focus, energy, ease of movement and calm.


Float Tank Tips

Float tanks are unique environments like nothing on Earth. Take the time to familiarise yourself with the environment settle your mind and find a comfortable position, relax, breathe let it be. The first 10 -15 minutes for a first-time floater can be challenging as the body and mind adjusts to the reduced stimulation of the floatation room. To help quieten your mind, we suggest using similar techniques as in yoga and meditation. Once you’re settled in the pod, start by releasing tension in every part of your body. Then, take some deep breaths, focusing on filling your lungs with air and exhaling completely. As you begin to feel your body relaxing, let your mind wander and try to observe your thoughts rather than becoming absorbed and overwhelmed by them.

Remember a float session is typically 1 hour. There are systems in place to notify you when time is up, so lay back relax and enjoy the solitude. If you think how long have, I been in here? Everyone does, stick with it the best is yet to come, about now it’s common to drift off so don’t be surprised to be woken by yourself snoring, twitching or the sound of music signalling the end of your first float session, you will wonder where the time went! Float therapy works best when you do nothing it will take you on a ride you don’t expect.

To kick of your floating journey, we recommend at least 3 sessions are needed. Floating is an experience like no other so float 1 can often be about familiarisation, knowing a little more about what to expect floats 2 & 3 are about getting down to business you need to give yourself a chance doing it this way makes sense and you won’t regret it floating will improve your physical and mental health so why not take the plunge and invest some valuable time in yourself.
Float Lab offers one hour float session for $79 and a monthly membership for only $69, making float therapy accessible and affordable. We also offer bulk packs so ask our Float Experts in Store or online.


First time in a float tank

A floatation tank is a round pod filled with approximately 900l of water heated to your body temperature and mixed 500kgs of Epsom salt for buoyancy. The lid of the pod opens providing easy access into the water. At float Lab we recommend floating with the lid open for a more comfortable float experience. You are in control of your float so are welcome to close it should you wish. A float lab staff member will talk you through the whole process and then leave you in complete privacy. In fact, to fully enjoy the experience of floating and get the full benefits from sensory deprivation (tactile sensation) we recommend floating nude.

The first time you try a float at Float Lab you will be immediately struck by the silence and comfort of our well calibrated float rooms. The density of salt water in the pod creates the effect of zero gravity allowing all your muscles to entirely relax. With no pressure on your body, it helps to alleviate back pain, muscle tension and elongate your spine. You may experience some restlessness in the early part of your first session, this is perfectly normal as your mind and body adjust to the sensory reduced environment. This phase will quickly pass, leaving you in a relaxed meditative state.


Are float tanks claustrophobic

Claustrophobia is generally due to feeling like you are in danger and have no control over the situation. However, in a floatation tank you are always completely in control. The float pods are safe, well ventilated spaces that are easy to get in and out of. Float pods have a lid that is easily opened and closed by the user. At Float Lab we highly recommend you leave it open as it provides a more comfortable, enjoyable float. Our pods have an interior light that is in your control and can be turned on or off at any time. We also have light motion sensors in our pod rooms for additional comfort and peace of mind this is activate upon your movement.

Thanks to the Epsom salt, there is no danger of sinking in the tank regardless of your size and/or height.

The feeling of being in a float pod is more like being in a warm, comfortable bed than in a confined space. However, if you’re worried about feeling claustrophobic, our highly trained staff have introduced hundreds of new floaters and a thorough introducing will put you at ease in no time. Floating is an extremely safe and enjoyable experience. You are always in total control so whilst we recommend what is considered a purist Reduced Environmental Stimulation Therapy float, we are happy to also taylor a float that suits your needs so whatever floats your boat we are here to help!


Are floatation tanks clean?

A common question about sensory deprivation tanks. In fact, floatation tanks are incredibly sanitary. Thanks to technological advancements in water-filtration methods, float pods are now fitted with high-quality UV disinfection equipment and commercial water-filtration system. The high-tech filter removes particles 15 times smaller than a typical filter.

Our Pod rooms are conveniently fitted with private shower facilities we also provide the highest quality body wash shampoos and conditioners we even supply fresh linen towels with every float. Clients shower prior to their float to ensure the highest hygiene standards and again post float to wash of residual Epsom salt. You will also be invited to enjoy a complimentary herbal tea and snack in our post float chill room.


What are the benefits of sensory deprivation tank?

Sensory deprivation removes the distractions and sensations that otherwise crowd your brain and stress your body. By allowing your body to float effortlessly in the float pod, sensory deprivation enables your brain to reach a trance like state and your muscles to release tension. Research has shown that sensory isolation can produce profound relaxation that helps to improve wellbeing, focus and memory. Incredibly floatation therapy reduces blood pressure, heart rate and releases endorphins and increases heart rate variability (HRV) in doing so restores balance to the parasympathetic nervous system by reducing stress.
The absence of sound, smell, and touch in the float room means that you may feel restless at first. It may take a while to calm your mind and relax your body. This is completely normal! With some time and practice, you will quickly feel the incredible sense of pleasure and relaxation that comes with sensory deprivation and floating. As we recommend above, try slowly releasing tension throughout your body and focusing on your breathing. By giving in to relaxation you will find that your brain feels clearer, your body lighter and you will be better able to make decisions and solve problems with ease.


Health benefits of floating

The health benefits of floating are incredible. Not only does floating provide you with essential time to disconnect from your busy life, from social media and from your anxieties, it also allows your physical body to reset – recover – recharge.
The advantage of float therapy is that the health benefits are both physical and mental. After just one session, you will feel more focused, more mindful and optimistic. Your body will feel released from tension and daily pains, as well as rested and energised.

With regular floating, these benefits will last longer, well beyond the first few days of ‘post float glow’. As well as a feeling of wellbeing, you will see significant improvements to your mood, anxiety, sleep, physical pain and health of your skin and hair. You may also notice that your immune system is stronger and that you get ill less often thanks to the immune boosting effects of floating.

The range of health benefits is so impressive that floating is often used as a complementary therapy to help with depression, ADD, addiction and PTSD. It also used by many professional athletes, both to help their physical recovery and to support their mental health.

For more details on specific health benefits and uses, please read through answers below. If you have more questions, you can always email us or give us a call! We’re always happy to help with advice.


The science of floatation therapy?

Float therapy is designed to place the body into a fully relaxed state. Firstly, you must provide a safe, comfortable environment which removes all outside noises and distractions. This is achieved by placing the patient is a sensory deprived and well calibrated float room. A float tank or pod is necessary to hold and treat the Epsom salt solution for the floater to lay in.

A well calibrated float environment should guarantee complete darkness whilst the room temperature and external noise levels should be appropriately controlled to ensure the float room is at is optimum performance, add the pleasurable physical sensation of zero gravity with water adjusted to your body temperature. And there you have it a recipe for ultimate relaxation. As a result of this unique environment your brain is able to reach a meditative state similar to deep sleep and that has extensive physical and mental benefits. There is extensive and compelling research into the benefits that float therapy offers including positive effects on depression, anxiety, autism, ADD, PTSD, addiction, burnout and physical recovery. Read through the articles below to get more information about various benefits.


Floatation therapy to treat anxiety?

Floating in an isolation tank has been shown to have positive effects on anxiety and depression. There is an abundance of academic research that demonstrates the positive mental and physical effects of REST (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy) in floatation tanks:

A 2018 research study conducted by the U.S. National Institute for Mental Health found that regular floating sessions substantially reduced anxiety and led to significant improvements in stress levels, muscle pain and depression.

A 2013 study reported that regular floating sessions can have remarkably beneficial effects on mood for people suffering from ADD, autism, PTSD, anxiety and depression.

Furthermore, a 2014 study observed that participants who used sensory deprivation tanks regularly saw an increase in mindfulness in their daily life. They also noticed a significant decrease stress, depression and problems sleeping.


Does floating relieve pain?

When you are floating, there are absolutely no pressure points on your body. This means that your muscles will release tension, relax and your spine will elongate. We often carry tension in our muscles without realising, which can then lead to back pain, muscle strain, muscle injuries and chronic pain. A 60-minute floating session allows for muscles to reset, alleviating pain in the short term and improving pain for up to 4 months after the session.

In the longer term, the health benefits of floating- stress relief, a sense of relaxation and wellbeing- will equally help to improve physical pain. As floating reduces cortisol levels caused by stress and improves sleep. Research has shown that floating helps with stress related pain for both men and women.
Floating further helps to stimulate your vasodilation enabling better blood flow to your brain, organs and limbs. This will also help to diminish muscular pain and inflammation from injuries and/or herniated discs.


Can floating improve cardiovascular health?

Sensory deprivation has many benefits that can lead to better cardiovascular health. A session in a float pod can lower your blood pressure, increase vasodilation (dilation of your blood vessels) and blood flow to your body, and improve sleep. High blood pressure and sleep deprivation have both been linked to cardiovascular disease.


Does floating improve your hair and skin?

Floating can improve the health of your hair and skin!

The magnesium sulphate in the salt water will help to exfoliate your skin leaving you looking fresh and glowing. It will also help to unclog your pores, minimise blackheads and, thanks to its antibacterial properties, help to soothe skin conditions like rosacea and eczema.

The Epsom salt has similar benefits for your hair, helping to clean away residue from hair products, pollution and everyday grime. You may also find that after floating, your hair appears thicker and shinier- another benefit of magnesium sulphate in water.


How often should you use a float tank?

You will feel the benefits immediately after your first float. However, we find that it can take 2-3 sessions to feel the full benefits of floating. Therefore, we recommend booking at least 3 sessions spread out over several weeks. For long term benefits, monthly float sessions are ideal. We offer a great monthly membership package package as well as bundles, precisely so that you can afford to float regularly.


Can you sleep in a float tank?

Because of the soothing environment and increased theta waves, you may fall asleep in the tank. Don’t worry though! The buoyancy of the salt water means that it’s impossible for you to sink under the water. And the lack of pressure points on your body means that you won’t feel the need to turn over in your sleep, as you would in bed.

Wait, what are theta waves? The quiet effect of a well calibrated float room means that you will fall into a meditative state that increases theta waves in your brain. Theta waves are normally produced just before falling asleep and have been associated with creativity, memory recall and insight.


How long can you stay in a sensory deprivation tank?

Once in the floatation tank, it can take up to 40 minutes to reach the meditative state where your brain waves change from alpha or beta waves to theta waves. These are the brain waves produced just before you fall asleep and are associated with memory recall, problem solving and creativity. It’s at this point that you will begin to feel at your most relaxed and rejuvenated.

To ensure that you have the time to fully physically and mentally relax in the float pod, we offer 60-minute floating sessions. That’s why we think 60 minutes is a great length of time to bring you revitalisation and a total physical and mental reset.


What do you do after a float session?

After a floating session, you will feel more relaxed, happy and stress free than you have ever felt. You may also feel very sleepy, so it’s often best to take it easy and maybe plan a few hours of rest afterwards.

The ‘post float glow’ will last for several days, during which you will feel energised, focused, positive and relieved of pain. With regular floating the decrease in muscle pain, depression, insomnia and anxiety levels can last for up to 4 months.

For total relaxation and pampering, we also offer one hour massages before your float session in our Relaxation and Remedial packages. So that your mind and body is completely tension free and open, ready to fully benefit from the pleasures of floating.


Can float therapy help with addiction?

There has been some research that suggests that float therapy can help with addiction. While there is not yet enough evidence to conclusively say that floating can help with addictive behaviour, a study at the University of Arizona into alcoholism and REST found that float therapy helped to reduce the risk of relapse and depression.
The majority of research into float therapy and addiction has centred around quitting smoking. Indeed, REST has been part of treatments to stop smoking since the 1970s, with consistently positive results. In studies where they combined floating with anti-smoking messages it was found that participants were less likely to return to smoking.

There is no magic quick fix for complex problems like alcoholism and smoking, but regular floating sessions can work alongside other therapies to support recovery. What’s more, as float tanks help to decrease depression, anxiety, insomnia and pain, they can strengthen mental and physical health through a period of treatment.


Does float therapy cause weight loss?

As with addiction, float therapy is a great complement to other treatments that you may be following to lose weight and/or battle emotional eating. Floating sessions will enable you to better maintain a positive, resolute attitude towards your healthier diet and lifestyle. They will also help you to feel more comfortable in your body and more mindful in your everyday life. Both of which are invaluable when working to lose weight.


What do you wear in a float tank?

To fully experience the effects of magnesium in the water and the sensation of relaxation, we suggest floating nude, your float room is completely private to ensure that you can do so.

However, we want you to completely enjoy every float session! So, whatever you feel most comfortable with is great. If you would prefer wearing a bathing suit in the float tank, that is fine. Either way, you will have complete privacy throughout your session thanks to our lovely spa rooms.


How much does a session in a sensory deprivation tank cost?

Buying a float pod for your home can set up back somewhere between $20,000 and $70,000. If you are a huge fan and regular long-term user of float therapy, then that might be a good investment for you. Be sure to carefully maintain your float pod so as to keep it clean and working effectively.

Otherwise, to really enjoy the full benefits float therapy without the cost and maintenance, we would recommend signing up for our Float Lab, Float Club membership scheme. For a monthly payment of $59, you can enjoy one 60-minute floating session a month, which is a saving of $20 each session. Plus, we offer a free float on your birthday!

And, if you are completely new to floating, then why not buy a one-off float session for $79 and come try it out! We think you’ll be amazed at how much you’ll love it and how quickly the benefits take effect. Even better, bring a friend with our ‘Float with a Friend’ pack for $140 and treat them to a float session as a birthday present or special treat.

We have a range of other great deals to ensure that you can enjoy Float Lab as often as possible including our ‘Fabulous 5’ pack of five float sessions and ‘Buy a Bundle’ pack of 10 float sessions. Both of which will save you money!


Celebrities that use and love float tanks

A huge range of celebrities and athletes rave about the benefits of float tanks on their performance and physical and mental wellbeing:

  • NBA star Steph Curry has often spoken to sports journalists about his love for sensory deprivation tanks.
  • Comedian and actor Joe Rogan regularly discusses his positive experiences with float tanks on his podcast ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’. He says that, “The sensory deprivation chamber has been the most important tool that I’ve ever used for developing my mind, for thinking, for evolving.”
  • World renowned model Elle Macpherson has used float tanks throughout her career, not just for relaxation but also as a way of maintaining her glowing skin and hair.
  • Manchester United footballer Wayne Rooney owns his own tank and uses it regularly to help him recover from injuries and muscle strain more quickly.
  • NRL superstars like Willie Mason often use float sessions to help them recover after matches
  • American actor Jeff Bridges was good friends with the inventor of the isolation tank John C. Lilly and uses float therapy regularly to help keep his mind clear and focused.
  • Entrepreneur Tim Ferriss, of 4-Hour Work Week fame, has experimented with float tanks as a way to improve his memory recall, language learning and problem solving. As well as for relaxation and stress relief.

Where to get more info

We have lots more information about all aspects of floating on our blog and our FAQ page.

We are passionate about floating and will happily answer any further questions you have about Float Lab. Send us an email or give us a call to discuss floating and book your float session at your nearest Float Lab.