Have you been hearing about the floating trend? We certainly have, so we asked some experts about the skinny on this not-so-new trend. Here’s what we learned:
Floating or float therapy “is the process of floating effortlessly in 12 inches of skin temperature water [at] 94-95°F and 1,000 lbs of dissolved therapy-grade Epsom salt (sulfate magnesium),” explains Nikki Ruesch, co-founder of Reset Mind & Body Float Therapy, a float spa in San Diego, Calif.
“Inside the tank you experience no light, no sound, no smell and no gravity. The mind is able to fully relax, as it doesn't have to process any sensory information [such as] movement, sounds, smells. Because the mind is not distracted, you can access a deep meditative state rather quickly, [though] experiences all vary. The body is completely weightless … after a few minutes, you feel your body releasing the tension and experience an unknown level of relaxation,” Ruesch says.
“Floating is very new to many people, but the practice of lying weightlessly in salt water is not new. Float tanks, also known as sensory deprivation tanks, have been around for decades,” says Gloria Morris, Founder and President of FLOAT SIXTY, a float therapy company based in Chicago.
Morris says there are a combination of factors contributing to why we’re hearing so much about floating these days.
“First, the equipment today is much less intimidating than traditional ‘tanks’ of the past,” she explains. “Large, spacious cabins have a very appealing quality to them and people are more apt to try the unique concept than ever before. Second, there is now science behind what was once a very ‘hippy-dippy’ concept. Research, albeit limited, is available and ongoing, proving that there [are] data backing up the hype.”
Morris adds that people are also using floating as a way to bring balance to their lives.
“There is a gym, Pilates studio or new workout place on every corner and we are working our bodies physically more than ever. Great – but our bodies need fast recovery and the 1,000 pounds of magnesium in a float tank acts as a natural muscle relaxer,” she says.
And there are other purported health benefits, too.
“Soaking in Epsom salt is great for reducing inflammation, chronic pain, soothing muscle and joint pain, easing symptoms of Lyme disease and fibromyalgia, [reducing] pregnancy discomfort, boosting athletic recovery, and [improving] blood circulation,” Ruesch says.
“Mentally, we are overwhelmed with external stimuli and we simply need a way to have a structured break from the uncontrollable chaos usually delivered conveniently to our smartphones,” says Morris. “Floating provides a brief sabbatical of sorts, giving people physical relief from body aches, improved rest and a chance at mental stillness that is unlike anything available in the wellness space.”