What happens in a float tank?

If you want your troubles to drift away, floatation therapy may be just what the doctor ordered.

Floating – it’s a method favoured by celebrities such as Elle McPherson, Robert Downey Jr and Steph Curry as a way to relax and reacharge.

Even The Simpsons were ahead of the trend, with Lisa and Homer getting a greater appreciation for her dad after soaking in a float tank.

And with numerous studies showing that floatation therapy may help with everything from insomnia and stress to depression and general wellbeing, it is no wonder floating is proving increasingly popular for those seeking to improve their body balance and health.

What are float tanks and floating?

Floating is a sensory deprivation experience in a gravity-free environment in either a float pod, float room or restricted environmental stimulation therapy (REST) tank.

During a float you lie naked in a bath or pod, suspended in about a 25cm-deep solution of epsom salts.

There is minimal or preferably no light, and the water is a warm 35C.

Liquid Room director and yoga teacher Ivy Evenden says this is the ultimate comfortable skin temperature to make you feel cosy and relaxed, and even fall asleep in.

“Individuals or floaters, as we often refer to our clients as, will be put into a state of deep relaxation while experiencing zero sensory stimulation such as light and sound,” Ivy says.

“Floating is the closest thing to the feeling of floating in space.”

What are the benefits of floatation therapy?

The benefits of floating on the physical body come from absorbing the magnesium from the epsom salts solution through our skin, Ivy says.

“It is an amazing relaxant for sore muscles and joints,” she says.

“The effects of being weightless allow our body to rest and promote deep recovery for anyone who is suffering from chronic issues or injuries.

“Studies have shown that a one-hour float can help reduce lactic acid build-up by 50 per cent after intense physical exercise.”

Above all, withdrawing from any stimulations allows individuals to download their thoughts, clear out their minds and reach mental clarity to promote deep sleep and recovery, she adds.

“Floating has been described as a form of ‘express to meditation’ as our body has the opportunity to completely relax into the most comfortable state such that it no longer distracts our mind from focusing on relaxation,” Ivy says.

“A one-hour float has been said to be equivalent to four to six hours of sleep.”

How often should you float?

Ivy recommends floating at least once a week. She says this is great for the mind and body to have a chance to rest and restore from the busy week.

“If that’s not possible, we recommend our clients to float at least once a month so that the mind will at least remember the experience and not reset into the stress state from leaving too much time in between floats,” she says.

“It doesn’t take long for us to snap right back to our old ways and our muscle memory very quickly return back to our old habits.”

What do floaters say?

Everyone’s responses and reactions differ but the majority of floaters feel calmer for up to three days, even after their first float, Ivy says.

“The most common response from clients after their first float is the feeling of calm and muscles being really relaxed,” she says.

“You’ll experience timelessness, euphoria and peace. You’ll start to notice improvements in your reactions and decision making. You’ll start functioning more optimally and efficiently.

“After their third float experience, individuals would actually experience the benefit they were there for to begin with.

“Those looking to improve sleep do experience a better night of sleep and some who seek relief from their chronic pain can experience no pain for up to a week, where they used to experience pain daily.”

Written by Laeta Crawford