Your Best Self Resides In A Float Tank

By Micah Saccomanno 

Originally published by Organic Hudson Valley Magazine July 2016

Humankind’s relationship with nature has always been strained. As we struggle to survive, we increasingly find ourselves farther away from it, and in this Age of Information, we find ourselves in an out-and-out crisis. The barrage of information from our hyper-connected lives drowns out our thoughts, keeping us in a state of alert.

The continual stress prevalent in our society has given rise to a movement of mindfulness and meditation to recover our sense of self; enter the float tank. At Rise Above Floatation, a float center using the science of sensory deprivation, patrons can discover an effortless path to connection with their own awareness.

The concept is simple: remove all stimulation. In a private float room, a patron lies buoyant in a pool set to skin temperature and upon a dense solution of Epsom salt, which removes the effects of gravity. His ears are submerged, blocking out sound. When ready, he shuts off the lights, bathing him in darkness. The combination of these environmental exclusions allows the mind to sit with itself as in nature, reclaiming a peace that we are naturally conditioned to thrive in.

A tense customer emerges from her first session at Rise Above Floatation. The muscles in her face have become soft, giving her a youthful glow, and her pallor is now full of color from the magnesium, a crucial electrolyte. She is experiencing something between satisfaction and euphoria from the inner answers that have finally revealed themselves to her. The tank itself does nothing. Rather, it allows users to dwell within the best part of themselves.

I have seen people in chronic pain bound out of their floats as though one cured at a faith healing. I have witnessed victims of PTSD in awe of how the float subdued their woes. Others emerge and make immediate positive life decisions, attributing it directly to their time in the float.

This is not just anecdotal evidence. Dr. Justin Feinstein of the Laureate Institute for Brain Research in Oklahoma, a medical research center focused on the benefits of floating, has shown through brain scans that one 90-minute float has the same effect on the amygdala as one Ativan, an anti-anxiety drug. The fight-or-flight response gets dialed back to its opposite, the relaxation response, leading to lowered blood pressure and reduced cortisol levels. The endorphin surge, a result of the float experience, acts as a painkiller. The resources of the body are allowed to come forth during a session, supporting its natural tendency to heal itself.

The simplicity is so laughable that it seems like hyperbole to make such claims. We are programmed to “act” to make prog- ress. The act of doing nothing, however, can bring balance to action, and finding nature inside of us can help us discover what we need. We just have to give it a chance to be heard.

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