Imagine being shut in a cocoon-like metal tank, then floating for ages in warm bath-like water while your mind empties and drifts listlessly away… Unless you’re an extreme claustrophobic, it sounds like relaxation heaven, right? Well, even better, research now shows float tanks actually work clinically to reduce stress, improve insomnia and fast track injury healing.
Former professional runner, now chiropractor and kinesiologist, Dr Kate Wood has tried almost every alternative therapy in her quest for solutions to the things that ail patients at her Health Space clinic. She also bases everything she recommends on proven science. So when she says something’s worth trying, it’s worth us taking notice!
In my opinion, float tanks (aka isolation tanks) are one of the most amazing things you can do for yourself to get healthy and stay healthy. They are undervalued and not many people have even heard of them. I was in introduced to floating as an athlete. With all the training I did, I used to get sore muscles and sometimes found it hard to recover between training sessions and when traveling for races. The floats tanks helped infuse magnesium and other important minerals back into my tired and often aching body as well as give me much needed relaxation. I recovered faster, felt better and trained harder as a result. A float complements other treatments, such as massage, acupuncture and even yoga, so don’t be afraid to team a float with other therapies for even better results.
Anyone can benefit from floating, but the tanks are especially used for decreasing stress, anxiety and jet lag, increasing relaxation and improving recovery from intense exercise. It even improves the healing time of injuries. Anyone with magnesium deficiencies, those having problems with sleep, those that exercise a lot or people under huge amounts of stress will particularly benefit.
They’re also known as an isolation tanks, think tanks, sensory attenuation tanks floatation tanks, sensory deprivation tanks and REST tanks.
The tank contains water that is saturated with Epsom salts at body temperature (water is usually 37.5 degrees). The density of the Epsom salt solution, very similar to that of the Dead Sea, allows you to float face up in the water. The tanks are designed to subdue the senses by blocking out all light (although if you are claustrophobic, you can leave the door open), minimising sound (although some tanks do play relaxation music), ensuring very little smell (there is no chlorine) and decreasing skin sensation by having the water, air and body at the same temperature (37.5? C).
This helps to decrease stress in the body and the mind, assist muscle relaxation and improve blood flow. The high density Epsom salt mixture at body temperature also means that there is an uptake of magnesium into the cells via osmosis (which is hugely advantageous for people who’ve had Lyme Disease, as I have).
Most places that provide float tanks will explain everything to you and orientate you with floating. The key things to remember are:
Yes, there is. Most of it comes from Europe and America, but a basic Google search will turn up some great case studies and research.