If that wandering mind during your weekly yoga class has proven anything, it’s that meditation can be difficult. As contradictory as it sounds, it can be stressful to relax — especially when there’s pressure to do so. What’s the girl in front of you doing? What’s that weird noise happening outside? What if all that was stripped away. Would it be easier then? Well, that’s the idea behind the newest spa craze: floatation tanks.
Floatation tanks aren’t quite as extreme as cryotherapy (the new trend where you expose your body to extremely low temperatures to burn calories, increase endorphins and boost your immune system), but the idea does take some getting used to at first. Here’s the general concept: you submerge yourself in a closed, pitch-black tank filled with salt water (more salty than the Black Sea), which is set at about 94 degrees Fahrenheit (just below your body temperature). You don’t see or hear or really even feel anything. The main idea behind floatation tanks is to induce sensory deprivation, which kind of forces you to meditate.
In an article Mashable recently published on the topic, they mention that “Float therapy has been linked to increased creative performance and decreased depression and anxiety. And the heavy salt concentration aids muscle pain by reducing blood lactate levels.” Float On, a flotation tank spa, mentions on their site, “Not having to fight gravity lets your muscles, joints, and bones take a well-deserved break. Your body suddenly has loads of extra resources (usually spent supporting your weight, regulating temperature, and trying not to get speeding tickets), which it gets to focus on things like healing and resting.”
Based on the info we recently shared, which connects daydreaming to creativity, it’s not surprising that flotation tanks may also help your brain generate new ideas. By removing yourself from all your tech and the distractions of daily life, you’re finally giving your brain a second to absorb and digest the constant intake of information you’re feeding it.
On a slightly more disturbing note, Mashable’s article also mentions a 2008 Swedish study in which researchers interviewed people post-float session. Some reported hearing voices, seeing light phenomena or feeling as if they were soaring. That last one sounds kind of awesome, but the first two — we’d prefer to skip right on over.
Although the popularity of floatation tanks is starting to take off, this trend isn’t exactly new. The idea was born back in the ’50s when a neuroscientist needed to eliminate incoming sensory information to create a control group for his experiments. As with most of these trendy health indulgences, it’s not cheap. An hour in a tank costs about $90. Mashable’s piece reports that some clients stay there overnight, for a full eight hours, which would most definitely be about the price of a night at the Ritz – only, you know, a little less spacious.
Would you submerge yourself in a floatation tank to help meditation and increase creativity? Have you tried it already? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.