What is Floatation Tank Therapy?

If you are not one of the lucky group who attended Tiina Hogg’s presentation at Petrozzi Wellness Centre, you may not know what floatation tank therapy is.  Floatation tanks are being installed in wellness centres throughout Australia as word gets out about them. Why are they becoming so popular? Thousands of people who have tried them say an hour in a floatation tank was the most relaxing hour of their life.

History of Floatation Tanks

John Lilly is best known for his work with dolphins and interspecies communication, but he was also a pioneer in the field of consciousness studies. Lilly had the unique ability to make his scientific discoveries accessible to the general public. In the 1960s, his books about his dolphin and whale studies became best sellers and led to the passing of the Marine Mammal Protection Act in 1972.

Lilly was also a pioneer in the development of floatation tank therapy. While working for the National Institute of Health in the United States, he developed the “isolation tank.” His goal was to provide an environment where sensory input was minimised, if not eliminated altogether. While it was already possible to put someone in a dark, soundproof room, the only way to allow them to experience complete weightlessness was in outer space. Lilly overcame that restriction by developing a tank containing extremely buoyant water at or near body temperature.

His isolation tank originally came to be known as the “Lilly tank.” Later, he worked with the Samadhi Tank company to develop an isolation tank that could be sold commercially and made available to the general public. Over time, these and other designs became known generically as “floatation tanks.”

How Does a Floatation Tank Work?

The modern floatation tank is a large container that holds about 25cm of sterile, extremely salty water. The high concentration of salt makes the water buoyant enough to effortlessly float in. The temperature is adjusted perfectly. When you lie in a floatation tank, you don’t feel the water and because you are being supported by the dense water, you are able to fully relax. No part of your body touches a hard surface, so you feel like you are floating in space.

Soft music helps guide you into a state of complete physical and mental relaxation. Studies have shown that a session in a floatation tank can effortlessly lead your mind into the slow, tranquil “theta” brainwave state – a state usually consciously achieved only by experienced meditators.

Floatation tank therapy offers a number of benefits. You can experience a “float” for the sheer bliss of complete relaxation or use it therapeutically to:

  • Relieve stress
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Experience relief from chronic aches and pains
  • Improve concentration and creativity
  • Get over jet lag

Floatation tank therapy is a self-guided form of therapy. There is nothing to do except allow yourself to drift into a state of total relaxation. When you emerge from the tank you will feel refreshed, relaxed and inspired – possibly at a deeper level than you have ever experienced.