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Written by Christopher Kelly

June 11, 2014

A novel way to reduce stress

Stress. It needs no introduction and it always factors as a major underlying root cause in the people we work with. Dietary, physical and emotional, the physiological response is all the same, and that’s to overproduce cortisol, the most important of all hormones. Guided meditation, binaural beats, HRV, singing and yoga are all good for taking a load of the adrenal glands and reducing stress. The result is a longer, faster, stronger and happier life.

But maybe there’s one stress reduction technique you’ve yet to experience: floating! The idea was suggested to me by my uncle in law Jim, and once I knew I just had to try, and where better than the hip brick clad converted art studio come float centre FLOAT in Oakland. Everything from the underpass graffiti to the interior photography was fantastic.

How it works

The floatation tank, once called a sensory deprivation tank is approximately 8.5' long by 4' wide, and almost 4' high. It is a sound and light proof spa in which you float effortlessly, like a cork, on the surface of 10.5 inches of water that is supersaturated with 1000 lbs of medical grade Epsom salt. The temperature in the tank is constantly maintained at 93.5 degrees, the same as your body's skin temperature, thereby creating a neutral temperature environment. Both the weightlessness of your floating body and the water temperature give your brain the illusion that you are suspended in air (or perhaps Jell-O, as many floaters remark). Your brain waves slow down to theta level, a lovely dream state, and the brain releases endorphins. The Epsom salt solution will pull toxins and lactic acids from your body, aiding in the recovery process.

My experience

The sensation of gently rotating clockwise and brain chatter! Choosing one thought over another and achieving a quiet mind is no easy feat for me, but eventually I got there using a couple of the techniques I’ve been practising with the Headspace app. Then came the hallucinations. Nothing bad, mostly imaginary surfaces. After that a tiring of the neck, bizarre how muscle memory works. Luckily I’d been forewarned and relief came almost instantly by placing my hands behind my head. Now I know what to expect I’m excited to return, back to back with a massage it has to be one of the ultimate stress reducing experiences. Highly recommended!

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