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The Health Benefits of Float Tanks

by jenny sansouci on July 22, 2015

Oh hi again, friendly friends.

Things are getting real trippy around here.

I recently wrote a blog about Sensory Deprivation Tanks (float tanks) and I’m here to tell you more. That blog was mostly about what the experience was like inside a tank — but I’ve learned so much more since then, I’m a legit float addict now, so I’m back to teach you more about the new love of my life. FLOAT TANKS! There are so many health benefits of floating — I don’t know where to begin but I’m certainly going to try.

Recently, as you may know from my instagram account, I just got back to Brooklyn after traveling around the world for about a month. You also know that I’ve been posting about flotation tanks almost every day, and you may be thinking I’m a total nutcase. But read on.

Why did I suddenly get so into floating?

 

The first couple weeks of traveling, I was all good. Frolicking around Barcelona and Berlin, sleeping minimally, but feelin’ fine. But after about 3 weeks of running around Europe and taking a million flights, my body started to crash. I arrived in Portland, Oregon for the World Domination Summit, straight from Barcelona, and after 20 hours on airplanes, I was NOT feeling like dominating the world at all. I started to get a sore throat. I knew my immune system wasn’t happy with me. PLEASE TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!!! My body screamed. I made it through a couple of days in Portland, with a sore throat and no voice…and then I headed to San Diego to rest for a couple of days.

As soon as I got to SD, floating was the only thing on my mind. I had an intuitive sense that getting into a float tank was the only thing that would make me better.

I floated twice that week at Cocoon Float Spa in Hillcrest – which is a gorgeous float facility.

I also love Float Sanctuary, which is right next to Balboa Park and has a different kind of tank (Samadhi tanks vs. pods — I’ll explain later)!!! Both Cocoon and Float Sanctuary are great places to float in San Diego.

How did I feel after a couple of floats?

 

Each time I floated, I felt better and better. My body was finally able to rest and relax. It was as if my whole body was breathing a huge sigh of relief — not only from the rest, but from 90 minutes of pure alone time. Alone time from people and from any sensory stimulation. The past month had been so hyper stimulating and I hadn’t been away from people — at all. (Read more about what actually happens in a float tank).

If you’re in Portland, check out Float On — that’s where I had my first float and it was trippy and amazing.

Is there a float tank in NYC?

 

As the Universe would have it, as soon as I got back to Brooklyn, a new float spa – Lift Next Level Floats — opened a few blocks away from my apartment in beautiful Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens. WHAT!!! As soon as I got off the plane, I slept for 10 hours and then headed straight to the tank.

Lift Float Spa is my new happy place in Brooklyn. It’s incredible there – gorgeous, clean, immaculate. It has a beautiful relaxation room, tea, books to read, friendly staff…it’s everything you want in a float spa. I’ve spent the last few days there hanging out, sipping tea, and asking one of the owners, David Leventhal, a million questions. πŸ™‚

People have been asking me for months where they can go for a good float in NYC…Lift is the place. It’s the largest float center on the east coast. (Tell them I sent you if you go! They will take great care of you).

I am so obsessed with the benefits of the float tank that I just bought a book on floating, and I’ve been recommending it to all of my health coaching patients at Dr. Lipman’s office!!

Ok, so you guys understand that I am clearly addicted to floats. Here’s why.

What’s it like inside a float tank?

 

Read my full experience about what it’s like inside the tank here.

Check out this video for what it looks like inside a float room at Lift.

inside a float tank

What are the health benefits of floating in an isolation tank?

 

First of all, being in a float tank is literally soaking in an incredibly healing Epsom salt bath for 60-90 minutes. Epsom salt baths are known to be fantastic for your health – they infuse your body with a much-needed calming dose of magnesium, and are anti-inflammatory and detoxifying.

Now try floating in 1000 lbs of Epsom salts for over an hour….YEAH. That’s what I’m talking about!!!

According to David, owner of Lift Float Spa, some of the main reasons people have been coming in for floats are:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Jet lag
  • Chronic pain
  • Deep relaxation
  • Sports recovery (many athletes use the float tanks — the New England Patriots installed a float tank in their training room at the start of the 2014-2015 season)
  • Meditation
  • Superlearning (learning languagues quickly using a recording inside the tank – apparently the brain is extra receptive to learning new information in this state!)

Other reasons people use floatation tanks (which I’m learning from this book):

 

  • Breaking habits and addictions
  • Weight loss
  • Improving athletic performance
  • Enhanced creativity
  • Enhanced problem solving
  • Insomnia
  • PMS
  • Depression – floating releases endorphins
  • Enhanced awareness and clarity
  • Boosted immune system
  • Healing of skin issues like eczema and psoriasis
  • General healing / wellness — when you’re in sensory deprivation, your body can focus all of its efforts on healing

Theta brainwaves

 

David told me that the ultimate goal for many floaters who are focused on the mental/spiritual benefits is to “stay in theta as long as possible.” What does this mean? In a float tank, after 20-40 minutes, your brain enters the theta state, which is the state between waking and dreaming — it’s linked to enhanced creativity and problem solving. The idea is — the more often the tank is used, the longer you’re in theta.

If you fall asleep, David says, you go past theta — so although there are still tons of physical benefits to the tank if you’re sleeping, many people aim to not fall asleep — but instead to chill out in theta for awhile. (Note — you absolutely cannot drown in the tank!! The water is so thick with salt, there’s no way you’ll even move enough to flip over).

Although they don’t recommend having too much caffeine before your float (you want to be able to relax!!), David and I agree that having a teeny bit of caffeine in the form of yerba mate or green tea can keep you from falling asleep and missing all the wonderful theta fun. πŸ˜‰ Don’t do this if you’re caffeine sensitive, though – you don’t wanna be jittery in the tank.

As a side note, these float tanks can be super helpful for anyone with the MTHFR mutation (like me)….for real! Anything that helps you detox is going to be helpful. Get in that tank my friend!!

What are the different types of tanks?

 

The tanks I’ve floated in are FLOAT ROOMS, FLOAT PODS, and SAMADHI TANKS.

Float rooms (pictured here): They have these at Lift in Brooklyn and at Float On in PDX for sure. These spacious rooms are perfect for anyone who is claustrophobic — you have a whole room and pool to yourself!

sensory deprivation tank

Float pods (pictured here): These are modern, shiny clamshell-like pods that you get into and close the top over you. They are still very spacious and feel very luxurious and spa-like. They have these pods at Lift and Cocoon.

float pod

Samadhi tanks (pictured here): The first manufacturer of commercial float tanks — these are the ones that people say are more like a “coffin” which I know sounds scary, but I honestly think there are some great benefits to the Samadhi vs. pods and rooms. I’ve floated in Samadhi tanks at Float Sanctuary in SD and Float on in PDX. All floats are amazing – but I personally kind of prefer the Samadhi because at the end of the float, the music comes on gradually and softly, and continues to get a little louder as the minutes go on — it lets you wake up slowly. Some of the other pods I’ve been in have woken me up rather abruptly with music/lights/big jets. So try them all out and see what you like!!

float tank - samadhi tank

I have a feeling I’ll be floating for the rest of my life and feeling much happier and healthier for it. My boyfriend laughs at me every time I come out of the tank because I’m so giggly and in love with the world.

After floating, I feel calmer, more productive, lighter, happier, colors seem brighter, all my senses seem more heightened…it’s a beautiful thing.

There’s so much more to say about floating!

My best tips for a first-time floater:

    • Don’t overthink it while you’re in the tank. Just relax and see what happens. Don’t judge your experience.
    • If you’re afraid of the dark, keep the light on — or keep the door open a little bit. You can also keep music playing during your float if you want to. I prefer complete and total sensory deprivation but you can work up to it.
    • Start with 60 minutes and then work your way up to 90 minutes or longer to get in on that theta brain wave action!!!!
    • Get a little notebook to write down your post-float insights – you’ll get so many messages in there.
    • Do not drink too much liquid before your float! Getting out of the tank to pee mid-float is a total vibe killer.

Where can you find a float tank in your city?

Visit FlotationLocations.com to search for the nearest float center.

What else do you wanna know? Thanks for letting me immerse myself in being a float addict and sharing it with you. πŸ™‚ I live for this stuff.

P.S. – Speaking of living for this stuff, I recently WON an exclusive 10-person retreat with Dave Asprey at his Bulletproof biohacking facility in Canada…seriously – DREAMS COME TRUE! This is happening in September, I wonder if he has a float tank? πŸ™‚ I’ll keep you guys posted, of course!!!!!

Follow me on instagram for way way way more stuff than I could ever fathom posting on my blog.

Lots of love and endless theta waves….
Jenny

FIND A FLOAT TANK HERE

Other awesome floating info:

Into the Deep – Why I Love The Nothingness Inside A Float Tank (best article I’ve read on the spiritual/mental aspects of floating)

Wikipedia – Isolation Tanks

Videos:

Homer and Lisa Try Floating for the first time (Sensory Deprivation Tank):

Joe Rogan on Floating:




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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Maria August 3, 2015 at 11:14 pm

Your blog inspired me to go to a float tank again.I will admit I’m afraid of the dark. I’ve gone three times in the past. I always have a hard time relaxing in the tank mainly because it’s dark. I’m going to leave the door open a bit. By the way love all your blogs!!

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