I make a lot of noise about the benefits of floatation. It’s relaxing, it’s great for the joints, works wonders for stress. But that’s sort of like getting excited over the fitness benefits of mountaineering and ignoring the fact that you’re having a religious experience clinging to an ice face on the roof of the world. What I’m saying, brothers and sisters, is that Floatation Tanks aren’t just spa tubs for hippies, they’re actually portals into the swirling depths of the psyche. Spacecrafts to take you face-to-face with the void. Cosmic intercoms for communing with astral beings on totally different planes of reality. Or something like that.
The use of floatation tanks as vehicles for spiritual and psychological exploration actually predates the current model of wellness-centred floatation therapy. John C. Lilly, the father of floatation, used to intravenously inject ketamine into his body to lubricate attempts at telepathic communication with a dolphin. How’s that for psychedelic?
Dr Lilly was the first in a long line of floating psychonauts which extends to the present day. This lineage includes such vocal figures as podcaster and comedian Joe Rogan, whose show The Joe Rogan Experience is downloaded over ten million times every month. Rogan is credited by many in the industry as being instrumental in sparking the current floatation renaissance. He advocates a stiff dose of edible marijuana for a more effective floatation experience, as put into practice by Hamilton Morris in his terrific three-part series for VICE, Tanks for the Memories.
Aside from the exogenic chemical stimulus, there’s another reason your brain is so inclined to slip into altered states in the tank. Anyone who’s floated regularly understands instinctively that there is a profound and meditative quality to sustained floatation. Scientific evidence now suggests that this is indeed the case, showing a correlation between floatation therapy and increased generation theta waves in the brain. Theta waves are what you would find if you attached electrodes to the bald head of a disciplined monk in deep meditation.
So it appears that while floatation can certainly rejuvenate and reinvigorate your tired bones, it might also help you talk to your subconscious, visit the stars and make love to the Godhead, if you choose to go down that path. Or maybe it can’t, if you’re a sceptic. But it must always be chronicled in the History of Floating that without these pioneers of consciousness fearlessly plunging into the void dosed with psychedelic drugs, none of the more tangible and remedial benefits of floating would be known at all.
Image by Tia Davis
What effects does floating have on the body? A: In the gravity free environment the body balances and heals internally as all the senses are rested. Research shows that floating measurably reduces blood pressure and heart rate whilst lowering the levels of stress related chemicals in the body. Old injuries and aches, (especially backache) experience relief […]Read more
It’s abundantly clear to anyone who’s been to the beach that ocean water is far more buoyant than fresh water. This is, of course, because of the salt content, which increases the salinity of ocean water by about 3.5 per cent for the most part. The Dead Sea, bordering Israel, the West Bank and Jordan, […]Read more
I’m relatively new to float tanks but the idea of them has intrigued me ever since hearing about them on a Joe Rogan podcast. What makes it so interesting is you begin to think, “I wonder what weird stuff is going to happen if I shut my eyes and ears off and lose all sense […]Read more
Training for marathons is about more than just practising your muscles, am I right? It’s about the whole picture- making sure your body is healthy, that your mindset is right, and that you’re preventing problems before they set you back. Adding Float therapy to your training routine can help get the most from your effort- […]Read more