Sensory Deprivation Tank Floating: An Intro

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By Jocelin Higgins

Sensory Deprivation Tank Floating- What is it?

What is it like floating in a sensory deprivation tank? Perhaps you are wondering what it’s all about and why people do it. Or, rather how does it benefit you?

Sensory Deprivation Tank

A woman floats in a sensory deprivation tank with the lid open. You  can float either way.

I became interested in floating in a sensory deprivation (otherwise known as reduction) tank about seven years ago. A wellness center where I was practicing hypnosis had a couple of the Samadhi sensory deprivation tanks (also known as isolation tanks) in the basement. I became curious about them and so I began floating in the tanks to see what it was like.  I had heard it was a type of meditation in water and quite a healing experience. Later, I would bring in hypnosis audio programs to listen to while I delved deep in the darkness resting my body by slightly submerging it in the 800-1,000 pounds of ebsom salt saturated water. I found it highly rewarding for not only feeling better emotionally, but physically and spiritually as well.

The Origins of Sensory Deprivation Therapy

In the 1950’s, scientists were experimenting in order to find out what would happen to a person when all environmental stimuli from the outside world disappeared. Dr. John Lilly is one of the most well-known of these scientists, along side Dr. Jay Shurley, that first created an isolation tank in 1954 at The National Institutes of Mental Health Lab in the Virgin Islands. They wanted to learn how people responded by eliminating contact with other people, light, gravity, sound, but yet heating the water to about 93 degrees Fahrenheit to remove the extremes in temperature.

They learned many important discoveries from these experiments. They found that when they removed all external sensations, that there was still a mechanism that generated internal experiences. A person’s mind does not go unconscious, but the brain is still active. It constructs experiences out of memories and stored impressions. If one does not fall asleep in an isolation tank, then there is a great opportunity to reprogram the mind for desired change-to consciously construct more positive thoughts and discard deeply held limiting beliefs. It is similar to being in a state of hypnosis as brain waves are slowing down to theta levels.

Yet, he also discovered that the mind fostered creativity while in the sensory deprivation tank, thus allowing people to present a problem when in the tank and retrieve answers quickly after coming out of submersion from the isolation tank. He goes into these discoveries in the book, The Deep Self: Consciousness Exploration in the Isolation Tank or Programming and Meta-programming in the Human Biocomputer: Theory and Experiments (if you are more scientifically inclined).

Since then, many others have studied the effects of floating in an isolation tank. John Turner and Tom Fine developed the more modern floatation R.E.S. T. technique, which stands for Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy. Michael Hutchison published a ground breaking book in 1984, The Book of Floating. I’ll outline some of this research and current findings later in this post. Dr. Oz even tried it and recommends it. There is a fantastic documentary made in 2014 called Float Nation that answers many questions people have about floating and gives more insights into float therapy. Recently, in November, Time magazine reported that the United States opened its first float clinic in Tulsa, Oklahoma: the Float Clinic and Research at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research.  This is a huge move in studying the science behind floating and its effect particularly, on neuroscience.

The Health Benefits to Floating in a Sensory Deprivation Tank

Floaters have reported numerous benefits floating. Depression lifts, anxiety  decreases. Whereas Dr. Lilly focused on the brain and the psychological aspects, there are many physical ones too. These include, a heightened state of relaxation from the deep rest your body undergoes and a release of dopamine and endorphins that go with this relaxed state. It’s the complete opposite of how you feel when your body tenses up from too much stress, adrenaline and cortisol buildup in your system! Consequently, relief from chronic pain often subsides after a few floats. A person can recover from jet lag quicker by floating after crossing time zones.  Athletes, artists and musicians float to enhance performance and relieve muscle pain and students find their memories improve and super learning occurs.

Most importantly, the metaphysical aspects are fascinating to note. I’ve often felt that I was “lost in space” as the weightlessness of floating makes me unaware of my body. On a recent session, I saw bright lights come and go in my mind’s eye and stars appeared on the ceiling inside the float tank. I had to ask afterwards whether they painted stars on the ceiling. “Nope. But, others have also mentioned seeing them,”a staff member at Float On responded. Hmm. Some mind expanding adventures here within this inner world. Many experts even believe that if more people took up floating, there would be less violent crimes committed. If there is a negative to floating, it would be a little salt getting in your eyes or it can sting if you have a scratch on your skin. However, you can dab some Vaseline on any scratches to prevent this from occurring.

How and Where to Float

sensory deprivation tank

Bird’s eye view of man floating in a sensory deprivation tank with lid open.

It’s really a simple, passive activity that just about anyone can partake in. You just need the physical mobility to get into a tank and lay down in salt water, which is so highly concentrated that you become very buoyant. Locate a local spa or sensory deprivation tank center to visit. If you are near or plan on visiting Portland, Oregon, you will find a few great options. We have the USA’s largest float tank center, Float On, (which is a colorful, creative and innovative place). Additionally, there are three different types of tanks at The Float Shoppe (whose owners are super friendly and generous.) I spoke with co-founder, Sandra Calm and she states that they have plans for an additional tank soon. There are two tanks at The Everett House Healing Center (where I stepped into my first tank), and Mudra Massage clinic has a tank as well. The combination of massage before or after floating is an added health benefit. Receive a massage before a float session if you desire mainly the psychological benefit, but if you’d rather focus on physical healing, float first and then get the massage after your muscles soften in the tank, stated Sandra from The Float Shoppe.

If you are a seasoned floater, did you know that a national float conference is held in August in Portland, Oregon each year? Come visit. Additionally, Portland Float Shoppe owner, Dylan Schmidt has started a podcast called The Art of Floating for people who want to open a float center and need support to keep it running smoothly.

How Much Does It Cost to Float?

It costs anywhere from $60 on up for a 90 minutes session (which is the least recommended at a time for best experience). You can sometimes find discounts for first time floats if you check Groupon or Living Social coupons in your area.  It can add up if you are not flush in the pocketbook, so I wanted to let you know about a new company that has created and built home tanks. Commercial ones begin at $8,000 and go on up, however the Zen Float company is manufacturing float tents for only $1,850 to give more people an affordable option.

Well, I hope this post is helpful in giving you an introduction to the fine art of floating in a sensory deprivation (reduction) tank. Give it time, you really need to partake in a few sessions to know what it’s really all about! Please feel free to share a comment below. I’d love to hear more about your experiences floating.

*If you have enjoyed what you have read, please consider clicking on the affiliate links, so we may earn a commission (at no additional cost to you) to support this site. We only refer our readers to books or advice that we support and believe in.

Works Cited

Bynum, Brad. “Altered States Is a Session in a Sensory Deprivation Tank as Surreal, Dangerous and Psychedelic as It Is in the Movies?” Www.newsreview.com. News Review, 03 Sept. 2015. Web. 29 Nov. 2015. <https://www.newsreview.com/reno/altered-states/content?oid=18187527>.

Float Nation. Dir. Jory & Carl Piglowski & Jessee. Perf. Various. Kickstarter, 2014. 27 Dec. 2014. Web. 29 Nov. 2015. .
Float Nation. Dir. Jory & Carl Piglowski & Jessee. Perf. Various. Kickstarter, 2014. 27 Dec. 2014. Web. 29 Nov. 2015. .
Hutchison, Michael. The Book of Floating: Exploring the Private Sea. New York: Morrow, 1984. Print.
Oaklander, Mandy. “Behind the Strange New Science of Floating.” Time. Time, 18 Nov. 2015. Web. 07 Dec. 2015.
Stevenson, Seth. “I Floated Naked in a Sensory Deprivation Tank. You’ve Got to Try It.” Anything Once. Slate.com, 15 May 2013. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.
Stevenson, Seth. “I Slept All Night in a Sensory Deprivation Tank. Here Is My Story.” The Drift: A Blog About Sleep. Slate.com, 23 Nov. 2015. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.
Unknown. “Float Science – The Float Shoppe.” Float Shoppe. The Float Shoppe, 2015. Web. 30 Nov. 2015. <http://www.floatshoppe.com/floating/float-science/>.
Unknown. “Floating Overview – Float On.” Floating Overview. Float On Center, 2015. Web. 29 Nov. 2015. <http://floathq.com/learn/floating-overview/>.
Unknown. “More Information.” Samadhi Tank Co., Inc. First Manufacturer of the Floatation Tank ( Flotation Tank ), Sensory Deprivation Tank, Float Tank, John Lilly Isolation Tank. Samadhi Tank Co., Inc., 2014. Web. 29 Nov. 2015. <http://samadhitank.com/moreinfo.html>.
Williams, Brittany. “I Floated In A Sensory Deprivation Tank; Here’s What Happened – Healthcare Industry Today – EIN News.” The Grapevine, 22 Sept. 2015. Web. 29 Nov. 2015. <http://health.einnews.com/article/287759735/-O_E6uyT8FLJceRX>.

Ever Tried Emotional Freedom Technique?

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What is Emotional Freedom Technique?

Tap Your Way to Emotional, Physical, Spiritual or Financial Wellness

by Jocelin Higgins

Do you feel stressed out? Are you looking for a way to relieve this fight or flight response that builds up in your body, either through experiences or memories and causes you to be depressed or even miserable? Maybe you have recurring physical pain. This could work for you.

My Personal Training and Experience With It

Well, I discovered tapping a few years ago when I was getting my hypnotherapy certification and it can be a wonderful practice and solution for what ails you too! First of all, it is otherwise known as EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and it is a combination of eastern acupressure and modern psychology. It begins with tapping energy meridians in your face, torso and head. Much like acupuncture points around your body that are poked with needles, this is a less complex approach to release built up tension in your system. Did you know that it can also improve if not alleviate unwanted physical pain as well?  Read on and I will tell you all about it!

The Tapping Solution

This author and expert on EFT, Nick Ortner has written a book called, The Tapping Solution which shares some real life stories about people who have overcome ailments and emotional issues through consistent tapping and by speaking affirmations simultaneously. Here is a video clip with an interview with Nick by Jessica Ortner as well as a demonstration of how to tap. Why not see for yourself how its done?

Did you get a chance to watch it? How about taking a few minutes to try it yourself? I love how relaxed I feel afterwards. To me, it reminds me of how I feel after a yoga or meditation session. I’ve struggled with a stiff neck and so today, I tapped over this and I could really experience my neck releasing its tension and it becoming much more flexible. You may feel a little awkward at first, but after you experience the positive aspects and relief, you wont mind the perceived silliness that may be present as you try it. And, with consistency you will begin to miss not doing it.

Research Backs It Up

Harvard Medical School completed a study that revealed that the amygdala- which is a almond-shaped part of your brain that store the brain’s stress and fear response – could be lessened by stimulating the meridian points by the use of acupuncture, acupressure, AND EFT tapping.

Dr. Dawson Church  performed another important clinical study on a group of 83 people who tapped for one hour. Dr. Church and his team measured their level of cortisol which is a hormone secreted by the body when it undergoes stress.  They learned that cortisol levels dropped 24-50%. When compared to talk therapy, the cortisol levels showed no improvement after an hour session. Very interesting huh? Additionally, his work with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) sufferers showed vast improvement as well when there was a 63% decrease in symptoms after six consecutive rounds of EFT tapping. 

Tapping for Financial Abundance

As you saw in the video of the example of the woman Nick referred to, you can even use it to remove unconscious blocks or imprints around your income potential. You can tap away anything that is deep-set in your mind that prevents you from earning a higher salary or growing a business. “Thoughts are things” said Prentice Mulford.  It’s so imperative to consistently have the positive, uplifting ones that will serve you and assist you in financial wellness as well as physical and psychic health. At times, it’s difficult to just snap out of one thought in favor of a more positive new thought, so tapping gives you this medium for doing so. You repeat these affirmations over and over again AS you tap until your energetic body has processed these unpleasant thoughts of scarcity and you have let them go and deeply believe in your ability to draw in abundance through many avenues.

There are Some Great Resources Available

As Emotional Freedom Technique gains in popularity, you are able to find more incredible information on it. I encourage you to read up and learn all that you are able to. The more you invest in practicing it and giving it a chance to work for you, the better you will feel and be.

Here are a few of the sources that I found very useful and chock full of wonderful information.

Sources:

Church, Dr. Dawson. “Brief Biography.” DawsonChurch.com. 2014. Web. 28 Oct. 2014.

Ortner, Nick. “Discover How to Use EFT Tapping, a Combination of Ancient Chinese Acupressure and Modern Psychology, to Improve Your Health, Wealth, Relationships, Level of Happiness, and Much More…” Discover How to Use EFT Tapping, a Combination of Ancient Chinese Acupressure and Modern Psychology, to Improve Your Health, Wealth, Relationships, Level of Happiness, and Much More… The Tapping Solution, 2013. Web. 29 Oct. 2014.

Unknown. “Prentice Mulford.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 26 Oct. 2014. Web. 29 Oct. 2014.

*This post contains some affiliate links in which I will earn a commission but at no additional cost you. I only refer my readers to books or advice that I support and believe in.

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Three Simple Ways to Feel Better

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by Jocelin Higgins

Are you wanting to feel better than you currently do? It’s totally possible!

Here are the top three ways that I found work really well to improve your mood and emotional wellness.

1) Take a deep breath, close your eyes and focus on a memory of someone of something that makes you smile.

Find some photos that bring back this memory if you need to. Allow this memory to fully enter your mind and body. Meditate on it for as long as you need to. Keep breathing in and out at a relaxed pace.

The Importance of Meditation

In a study done by Killingsworth and Gilbert, these scientists found that when, “people’s minds were wandering, they tended to be less happy, presumably because our thoughts often tend towards negative rumination or stress. That’s why mindfulness meditation has become an increasingly important treatment of mental health difficulties like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and even sexual dysfunction”.  As you focus on this incredible feeling of content and happiness, let go of whatever is stressing you out by actually feeling it disappear from your consciousness. You have the power to do this. You are a creator and outside forces no longer control you!

daisy

2) Get outside, however possible and Feel so Much Better!

Go for a walk down the street to move your body. Breath in some fresh air deeply into your lungs. Admire the trees, flowers, birds or any indications of nature that you see. Dwell on all that you find pleasing and beautiful around you. I live in the Pacific Northwest and we have so many gorgeous areas to explore so I enjoy hiking in the forest away from the noise of the city. But, if you can’t get outside, then get your body moving in whatever way that you are able to..play a favorite song and dance to it with wild abandon. Remember the saying..”dance like nobody is watching”? Well, here’s your chance!

Or, do some stretches or yoga poses. Have you noticed how calming Indian instrumental music is while doing yoga?You don’t have to participate in an hour-long session, just allow yourself to create some muscle flexibility and get your circulation going. It works wonders!

3) Get immersed in something that you love and enjoy doing!

You may have heard this before, but it really does work! By doing this, you are getting into a state of mind that is called, “flow”. The Hungarian psychology professor, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi introduced the term back in his book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. It’s a state of consciousness where you forget time and space and become absorbed in focusing and participating on this activity.

I find my flow when I am writing, reading, doing yoga, swimming or playing soccer. As you can see from my experience, it can be more than one thing. Sometimes, it takes an internal or external “nudge” for me to get started, but once I do, I find that the passing of time is as if it is standing still. Even if you are experiencing pain or loss or are feeling depressed just by going through the motions soon enough your mood will improve! Allow yourself to feel the joy in this activity. Embrace it! Live it! Let it  heal you inside and out!

So, here are a few of the best ways that I’ve learned how to improve my mood or to “get out of a funk”. Give them a try and let me know what you think by commenting below or feel free to share some methods that work for you! I’d love to hear more beneficial mood improvement activities.

I hope that this post has been helpful to you. May you be feeling better soon! Namaste.

*This post contains some affiliate links in which I will earn a commission but at no additional cost you. I only refer my readers to books or advice that I support and believe in.