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Lifting the Lid on Float Tank Therapy

By Bondi Junction Massage & Float Centre

While there’s nothing new about floatation therapy (it’s been around since the 1950s!), it seems to be somewhat of a mainstream mystery. Maybe because for some people anything that defies gravity in the middle of suburbia is just a little bit unusual.

Zero gravity aside, what is it about floatation therapy that keeps its followers coming back for more?

  1. Float tanks are not a fad

With its research origins beginning in the 1950s, floatation therapy became more accessible to many when American physician and neuroscientist John C. Lilly invented the Samadhi Float Tank in 1977. With growth through the 1980s in the USA, float tanks have been popping up, and becoming increasingly popular, across the world ever since.

  1. Floatation therapy is based on science

Floating is all about shutting out external stimulation to your brain and body so you can rest and reset. The science behind float tanks is based on restricted environmental stimulation therapy (REST) with numerous studies proving floatation-REST has many beneficial results.

  1. Proven benefits of floating

By reducing both sensory input and physical movement, the relaxation response is induced. Speak to any regular floater and they’ll sing praises for float therapy. From feeling calmer to pain reduction to increased creativity, the list of positives is lengthy.

Benefits of floatation therapy include:

  • Decreased anxiety, depression and pain
  • Increased optimism and improved sleep

Additional benefits are:

  • Relaxation
  • Stress reduction
  • Enhanced well-being
  • Improved athletic performance and recovery
  • Meditative states
  • Pain management
  • Enhanced creativity
  • Enhanced learning
  • Magnesium absorption
  1. The physical experience

Designed for one, float tanks are like a big bath with a lid – which you can leave open or choose to close. The float tank is filled with a dense magnesium-rich solution made up of 300kg of magnesium sulphate (also known as Epsom salts) dissolved in just 30cm of water. This high ratio of salt to water creates the zero gravity effect (like the Dead Sea).

The water is shallow and you float on your back facing up. For comfort, pillows and earplugs are available from the float centre. There’s no sound as your ears are submerged. Most people opt for the dark but you can leave the light on for your comfort. And because the water temperature is also skin neutral (set at 35.5C) you don’t sense any outside input through any of your senses.

  1. The meditative state

With no sensory distractions, floatation therapy can be truly transformative, although possibly not on your first float. But once your body gets used the environment, floating can be a one-way ticket to clarity of mind, problem solving and enhanced creativity. From figuring out everyday problems to letting go, there’s a lot to be said about float tanks improving productivity and achieving a more positive state of mind.

  1. Floating amounts to more hours of sleep

Because float tanks induce a relaxed state, one hour of floating is said to amount to four to six hours of extra sleep. Although this doesn’t mean you should sleep less at night if you float that day. In fact you’ll sleep even better than night! All this extra sleep (real time or equivalent) adds greatly to your overall wellbeing and health.

  1. Regular float therapy

Like with everything, the more you practice the better the results. No different for floating. Because it’ll take your body and mind time to get used to the sensation of reduced sensory input in the middle of your busy life, the more times you float the quicker you’ll begin to adjust the next time, and the next, and get to enjoy the many benefits sooner and sooner. It’s a good habit! As your float tank experience tallies up, you’ll feel the results quicker, and the benefits will also last longer as they build positively on each other.

  1. Float then massage

So here’s the cherry on the top. To really maximise your floating session, try a massage straight after floating. The reason a massage after floating works so well is because floating reduces input through your senses, while massage — by applying pressure — increases sensory input. This complementary combination restores balance, leaving you feeling awakened and invigorated.

Another big plus about floating first then massage, is that a float tank’s dense magnesium sulphate solution beautifully prepares your muscles for massage. So your massage therapist can work quicker and deeper because your muscles are so much more relaxed after floating.

Floating alone works wonders. Combined with massage it’s magic. By balancing body and mind through the senses you can achieve a greater sense of wellbeing and enhanced health. To find out more about our centre’s float therapy and massage packages make contact or book now.

We have a special package for ATMS medicine week, for only $120 you can experience “2 hours of bliss” –  a float and massage package – see special offer on the Natural Medicine Week website.

More about the author

Bondi Junction Massage & Float Centre

Bondi Junction Massage & Float Centre is a restorative and remedial oasis of calm and wellbeing in the heart of Sydney’s eastern suburbs. Originally established in 1985 our centre has treated over 40,000 clients with more than 75,000 hours of therapy over three decades. With many of the same clients returning to the same address for more than 30 years, we pride ourselves on being part of the Bondi Junction community – although some of clients visit from as far as Adelaide and Newcastle.

Our clients are diverse, all ages, span different life stages, with varied needs. Our scope of specialised treatments together with our trading hours support clients’ busy and unique lives – we’re open 7 days, 9am to 9pm.

Our specialised therapists have over 100 years of combined experience, all with specific areas of expertise, but all are also trained in remedial and deep tissue massage therapy, and most have training in sports massage. Some of our therapists have been with our centre for 10 years or more.

To find out more, or to stay in touch for updates on our centre’s specials, visit our website or connect with us on Facebook and Instagram.

In health and healing, wishing you well.