Flotation therapy evolved from the experimental work an American doctor, psychoanalyst and neurophysiologist, John C Lilly did during the 1950's. Dr Lilly and another doctor, Jay Shurley took turns to float in a tank to discover how the brain reacted when it did not have to deal with normal outside sensations such as gravity and noise. By the 1970's they had pioneered a floatation tank, which is very similar to the ones that are used today. Their theory was that when the brain did not have to deal with any outside sensations it turned inwards and became more aware of the many inner mental and biological processes, that one could control consciously.
How does it work?
Flotation therapy is a method of relaxation and it involves sensory depravation. Before entering the tank you will be asked to take a shower. Once this is done the patient is left to float in an "isolation tank" which is filled with mineral water that contains a mixture of Epsom and other mineral salts.
It is advised that the patient wears earplugs, so that he is protected from the salts and minerals in the water. He is left in complete darkness, that is because he isolated from the light and sound and he is cut off from any outside stimuli.
The water is kept at the same temperature as the skin. Relaxation usually occurs within minutes. Sessions range in length and a trained professional will take a number of factors into consideration before determining the length of the session.
Who can benefit?
The aim of this therapy is to encourage a state of deep relaxation of the mind and body and bring relief from stress. It is believed to help stress-related problems such as migraines, anxiety and headaches. Back pain and muscle fatigue is also occasionally eased. Flotation therapy tends to reduce pain because it stimulates the body to release it's own natural painkillers.