Wooosaaah. Between work, family, relationships, and health, life can feel pretty stressful and complicated at times. That’s why it’s incredibly important to find safe and sustainable methods of aiding stress, exhaustion, and/or aches.
Research shows that meditation — the practice of staying present and mindful, even if only for a few minutes each day – can have neurological benefits for the brain and human health, such as inducing a sense of calm. More specifically, meditation reduces activity in the brain’s “Me Center” — the place responsible for mind-wandering. This thought-to-thought behavior is often associated with feeling less happy and worrying about the past or future. Dialing down the rumination that is happening in the brain can help an individual overcome things like fear and worry.
Studies have also found that meditation causes an increase in cortical thickness throughout key areas of the brain, which positively affects learning and memory, and helps regulate emotions. It can also cause a decrease of the brain cell volume in the amygdala, which is responsible for fear, anxiety, and stress. When we meditate, we have more control over our emotions and have a better grip on our decision-making. This allows us to experience a greater sense of calm, clarity, and focus in our lives.
Float therapy, also known as “sensation deprivation” or “floating”, is one form of meditation that has seen exponential growth within the last few years and is one of the fastest growing niche industries in the country. It has also proven to be an effective tool for minimizing pain, reducing symptoms of anxiety, depression and insomnia, lowering blood pressure, and more. This is made possible by reducing how much sensory input the brain and nervous system receive. You can think of float therapy like a time–out from the world’s stressors; a form of relaxation that offers rest, focus, recovery, reprieve, and exploration.
A sensory deprivation tank is a dark, soundproof tank that is filled with a foot or less of warm saltwater. This is what helps you float calmly without needing to tread water. Float therapy tanks are designed to cut off all sensory inputs, including sight, smell, sound, and touch. That means:
- No lights
- No sounds (i.e. music)
- No notifications from your phone
- No guided meditations
Floating sessions typically last between 60-90 minutes. This time is used for:
- Meditation, thought processing
- Athletic and muscle recovery
- Pain relief
- PTSD therapy
At the very minimum, it’s an escape from the over-stimulating world that we live in… No sound means no constant alerts and messages. No brightly lit screens. No sense of gravity means relaxation for the postural muscles.
Floating is a personal experience and you should treat it as your own journey. During your first few floats, you might find yourself losing track of time and falling asleep – total relaxation and the comfort it comes with will do that. It is recommended that you have a meditation plan, or a work or life topic that you’d like to focus on when you enter the tank. Journaling afterward is although a welcomed exercise to help capture your thoughts and realizations.
It’s worth noting that a single float therapy isn’t cheap, a single session can cost $60 or more. If you floated just once per week, that’s over three-thousand dollars per year that you’d have to budget for float spa visits. If you’ve never actually tried floating before, then we do recommend budgeting for at least 3 sessions to really get a sense of what works for you, and how you feel afterwards. If you want to continue floating thereafter, then we highly recommend considering an at-home float therapy solution that you can keep for decades to come.
Zen Float Co. (Zen for short) is one of the leading at-home float therapy providers. Compared to other at-home solutions, they offer affordability and comfort that goes unmatched. While most float tanks are in the $10K-30K mark, Zen’s latest and greatest float tank only costs $5K and comes with a handful of features that make it more efficient than standard tanks, such as:
- A fully inflatable and portable design made from drop-stitch technology (similar to inflatable stand up paddle boards and kayak)
- Greater insulation due to all the layering, making it 40% more efficient (which saves you money on monthly costs)
- 2 radiant heating pads, a digital temperature controller, and a high-powered UV filtration system to keep your water heated and cleaned and all times
Zen can also ship their tanks worldwide wide – a huge plus, especially because float therapy is already very popular outside of the United States.
Like any journey, the timing is up to you. Some people prefer to float after a long, stressful day at work to help them relax and process. Others prefer to float in the morning so they can strategize their day and the challenges they want to take on. Athletes may opt to float right before a big game or event to visualize their performance, some float after to use the muscle relaxation for recovery, and some do both. The holiday season is also a great time to float because this is when many people tend to be juggling different stressors – finances, family, holidays themselves, etc. Sensory deprivation can be especially helpful during this time regarding stress management, mood, and being present. The good news is that you don’t have to wait for the New Year to start a healthy habit; you can finish your year off strong and get one step ahead of everyone who waited!