The Benefits of Float Tanks

woman utilizing float tank therapy
January 30, 2024

In a frantically busy world, daily life can mean being surrounded by distractions and stressors from the time you wake up to the moment your head hits the pillow at night. The anxiety and tension that can result from unrelieved demands on the body and mind make it harder to cope, interfere with creativity and focus, and leave you feeling frazzled and sore. It’s no wonder that an increasing number of people are searching for effective ways to relax.

With a clear need to help people improve their physical and mental well-being, float tanks have grown in popularity. Learning about what a float tank session entails, understanding the effects it has on the body and mind, and dispelling misconceptions about the experience helps to illustrate the benefits of this therapy.

How a Float Tank Works

A float tank creates a controlled environment to eliminate outside distractions and physical discomfort to allow you to go into a quiet, meditative state during your session. (These tanks may also be called floatation tanks, sensory deprivation tanks, or isolation tanks.) The tank is filled with shallow water (about 10 inches) containing a high concentration of Epsom salt, heated to outer skin temperature. The high salt concentration makes it possible to float on your back effortlessly with the back of your head only partially underwater.

The tank is designed to be large enough to stretch out in fully without touching the walls, roof, or floor, and is both soundproof and dark. A session may be conducted in silence, or you can listen to relaxing music, guided meditations, or soothing sounds such as ocean waves. Most float tank sessions last an hour, though they can be longer.

The Benefits of Float Tank Therapy

The description of what you can expect during a float session has probably already given you clues to the most obvious benefits of this therapy: relief from muscle tension and mental anxiety. The buoyancy of the salt solution allows someone to fully relax all their muscles during their session, without any stress on joints or pressure points on the body. It has been likened to the sensation of floating in zero gravity. Epsom salt also helps to relax sore muscles, making it useful for recovering from an intense workout or difficult physical activity.

For the mind, the quiet, calm environment makes it easier to enter a relaxed mental state. By eliminating unwanted outside stimuli, a float session lets you clear your mind in a way that may not have been possible if you’ve attempted meditation in other settings. The relaxation experienced in a float tank can help relieve migraines, reduce stress, and improve disorders that may stem from built-up stress such as insomnia. In fact, a seven-week study demonstrated that the therapy reduced depression, anxiety, pain, and stress while improving sleep quality and optimism.

Epsom salt is also high in magnesium. This doesn’t just help relax the muscles. It can also help detoxify the body by removing free radicals, as well as improving heart and bone health and boosting insulin sensitivity (important in helping to prevent diabetes).

Misconceptions Around Float Tank Therapy

Those who’ve never tried a float tank before may have some apprehension about what they can expect. For example, they might worry about whether it’s safe to fall asleep during their session, for fear they might roll over and accidentally inhale water. In fact, the solution in the tank is so dense that it is difficult to turn over at all. If you relax so deeply that you doze during your session, it is perfectly safe to do so, because you will naturally remain on your back.

Others worry that they’ll experience an altered state of consciousness that will be unpleasant. In most cases, people feel deep relaxation, and their sense of time passing may be altered. Others may find their creativity or problem-solving abilities enhanced by a float session. Experiencing an unexpected mental state can be a positive feature of float tank therapy.

For those who worry that entering a float tank someone else has previously used may be unsanitary, how float tanks are maintained and cleaned is strictly regulated by law and enforced by relevant licensing bodies. In addition, the high salt environment is inhospitable to most kinds of microorganisms, making it naturally quite clean.

Are there reasons NOT to use a float tank? It is not recommended for anyone who has epilepsy, low blood pressure, kidney disease, claustrophobia, or is currently suffering from a contagious gastrointestinal condition. In addition, if you currently have an open cut or scrape, it’s better to postpone your session until you are fully healed. Floating face-up and wearing earplugs will help to keep salt water out of your nose, mouth, and ears.

Enhancing Wellness

If you feel like your mental and physical health are being ground down by the demands of your daily life, holding you back from your full potential, the Ocean Lab can help. Our relaxing, rejuvenating services, including Float Tank Therapy, are designed to help restore your energy and well-being. To learn more, contact us today, or book an appointment to get started.

How can we help make your life even better?