As many would attest to, Joe Rogan first brought floating into my awareness. Back when I listened to him religiously he would often rant about floating and his personal experimentation with it. This planted the seed. Shortly after my experience in 2015, I felt called to give it a go as I thought it might help me integrate what I had been through. Like anything new, there was an initial resistance I had to push through to walk through the door, but sure glad I did. I wasn’t really sure what to expect and like many new things it initially felt a bit awkward and boring but there was some ineffable quality that kept me coming back, not to mention the profound positive impact it was having on my mental health and overall well-being.
I remember early in my float practice, driving home and my mind going completely blank for a short period, which was unprecedented for me, for as long as I can remember i've had a very hyperactive, borderline psychoanalytical mind. It was the most incredible feeling that I craved more of. Floating was a massive catalyst for me gaining better control over the mind that i've often been a victim of.
The premise of floating is that there is a tank filled with less than a foot of water, saturated with nearly 1000 pounds of epsom salt (magnesium sulphate) which has the affect of making the body buoyant. You climb in, close the door, lay down and come to a relaxed and comfortable floating position. You are cut off from light, sound and the sense of touch/feeling is minimized due to the temperature of the air and the water being very close to your body temperature. We are now free of the external bombardment of sensory perceptions, conditions where the body and mind can rest, repair and recharge. As we sink into the silence and stillness we can begin to tap into the awareness behind the mind, the observer behind our operations. This exploration of consciousness is a whole new frontier, pointing to the paradoxical truth that incredible complexity and staggering simplicity coexist simultaneously. By tuning into the subtle and nuanced internal functions and sensations of the body we can develop our interoceptive awareness. And by letting go of the minds obsessive tendency to grasp, we can reprogram ourselves for more optimal healing conditions.
There’s a misconception about floating because you often hear people refer to it as sensory “deprivation”, but it would be more accurate to say it’s sensory “isolation”. Claustrophobia is a common concern of newcomers, but in my experience I have found that it is the opposite of claustrophobic and incredibly expansive feeling.
Our bodies are constantly under stress, gravity pulling on them 24/7/365. Floating provides near weightless conditions where we get close to escaping the non-stop strain that gravity puts on us. Once we relieve the pressure put on our bodies by this gravitational force, it frees up energy and resources for our body to distribute where it is most needed.
The magnesium sulphate in the water is also great for our health. It has a very calming/relaxing effect and can help with sleep. I generally sleep like a baby after floating. The epsom salt can also help with muscle recovery, aches and pains etc. Magnesium offers a wide array of health benefits, it is integral to proper body function.
An analogy I like to use is that floating is like defragging a computer. I’m able to drop all the insignificant mental baggage I’ve accumulated, prioritize and hone in on the things that really matter in my life.
Each float is distinctly unique and I like to say that whatever you experience is precisely what you need to experience at that moment in time. It really couldn’t be otherwise.
Floating also has a cumulative effect, the more you do it, the more benefit you gain. It compounds as you gain more experience with it and learn how to better navigate your inner space.
Below I will summarize the benefits I’ve personally experienced as well as many that others can attest to. Many claims are anecdotal but there is also a lot of scientific inquiry into this revolutionary modality, much of it being measured and proven. You can find a compilation of peer reviewed studies and other floating related scientific inquiries at www.clinicalfloatation.com.
- Stress / Anxiety Relief
- Reduce Symptoms of Depression
- Mood Balancing / Behavioural Modification
- Regulation of Bodily Chemicals / Neurotransmitters - Cortisol (Stress Chemical) Reduction, Endorphin/Dopamine Boosting (Happiness).
- Calm Nervous System
- Relieve Tension
- Reduce Blood Pressure
- Improve Circulation
- Improve Immune Function
- Improve Sleep
- Reduce Pain
- Help with Inflammation
- Accelerate Athletic / Injury Recovery
- Improve Athletic Performance
- Spinal Decompression
- Musculoskeletal Awareness
- Sharpen Sensitivity / Heightened Senses
- Improve Mental Clarity
- Mental Reconditioning & De / Reprogramming
- Improve Focus / Visualization
- Deepen Meditative Practices
- Amplify Manifestation
- Increased Mindfulness
- Improve Introspection / Self Inquiry
- Encourages Creativity
- Synchronize Brain Function
- Task Prioritization / Mental Defragmentation
- Improve Learning Capabilities
- Good for Skin/Hair
- Technological Escape
There is no right way or wrong way to float. It is something you need to try for yourself, experiment with and find what works best for you.
For those interested in learning more about floating, I highly recommend reading The Book of Floating by Michael Hutchinson. It is great introductory material that gives a comprehensive overview of the many aspects of floating. Even a quick Google search will offer endless educational material to dive into. YouTube can be a great resource as well.
And If you are interested in the more far out aspects of reality, I suggest looking into floating inventor and pioneer John Lily and his many books.
Floating has changed my life and I might go as far as saying that it has saved it. And i’ve developed an ironic rule of thumb, that when I feel too busy and overwhelmed to go floating, that is precisely when I need to go floating.
For those living in the Okanagan Valley, I would highly recommend stopping in to see Julie and Devon at oGo Float in Penticton or Carole at Float Space in Kelowna. They are exceptional human beings that will gladly and kindly make you feel at home venturing into the unordinary.
I wish you much buoyancy on your float adventures.