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
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