Friday, October 26, 2012

Isolation Tank - Sensory Deprivation

One of the most powerful ways to release creativity is blocking out external distractions.  I have never experienced nothing.  Literally nothing.  I could not hear, see or feel anything.  My brain was in a state of shock at first.  It may have been the only time in my life where I did not have any outside influence.  Everything that was happening was internal.  This video is the best description of the experience that I have found.  I could almost feel my mind clearing.  Any negativity floated away.  

An isolation tank is a pitch black, soundproof tank inside which you float in salt water at skin temperature.

The effects:
The effect on stress

Perceived stress can be correlated with increased levels of cortisol and in flotation therapy there is a natural tendency for cortisol to be reduced[citation needed]. For this reason, floatation therapy is one of the few noninvasive techniques available to manage stress when it is a factor in reducing a person's ability to cope with normal life. Flotation therapy is a fast technique in this respect. The Swedish research was based on 40 minute float sessions. This compares well with other management techniques such as long vacations.

There are many similarities with the age old long hot bath, the differences being that in floatation therapy the temperature is maintained at the correct level and the bath is large enough to float without touching the sides of the bath.
The effect of the salt

Most float tanks use Epsom salt, magnesium sulfate, in high concentration so that the relative density of the solution is about 1.25. (Lilly recommended 1.3 but this requires operating very close to saturation with the risk of recrystallization). The density assists floating particularly making the head buoyant so that the nose and mouth are well out of the water for breathing.

It has recently been discovered that there is a secondary effect which is important to flotation therapy. Magnesium is absorbed through the skin due to natural molecular diffusion. This tends to correct magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is absorbed from the diet but in many areas of the world, over-cropping without adequate replacement of magnesium makes the normal diet low in magnesium.[9]

The body naturally optimizes the levels of magnesium, so there is no overload effect from floating in the salts for extended periods.

It is noted that there is no "flotation therapist", although there is a need to instruct the floater and need to maintain the equipment in a safe condition. However, flotation therapy is compatible with other therapies as a preparation or conjunct activity. Examples include massage, talk therapy, and hypnosis. 

What does the research show?
Broken down to various symptoms, the results were as follows: 23 percent slept better, 31 percent experienced reduced stress, 27 percent felt less agony and 24 percent became less depressed or got rid of their depression altogether. The research also confirms the findings of an earlier thesis that flotation, after only twelve sessions, substantially improves sleep patterns leaving users more optimistic and with reduced nervousness, tension and pain. Relaxing in a weightless state in the silent warmth of a flotation tank activates the body's own system for recuperation and healing, said Sven-Åke Bood. What researchers find particularly gratifying is that the positive effects were still in evidence 4 months after the floating treatment ended.

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