Float Your Way to a Theta State of Mind

thetawaves
  • August 25, 2015

FYI, the neurons in your brain would really like a break. Every second of every day, they are busy sending electrical signals that allow you to breathe, drive, walk and switch quickly between YouTube and work at your desk. These electrical signals rise and fall like the brain waves they are. Doctors discovered in the 30’s that certain brainwaves can be stimulated to achieve certain results. Theta waves exist at a 3-8hz frequency level associated with the early stages of sleep and deep relaxation. Scientists are finding that achieving this state offers many mind/body benefits, and floating is an easy, enjoyable way to get there.

Theta waves have been studied extensively and have been shown to improve a number of conditions. One study showed a 56% reduction in anxiety symptoms. Another showed a strong link between theta waves and improved memory. Many show an overall increase in feelings of physical and psychological wellness.[1] Zen meditation masters learn to achieve the Theta state after years of practice. Current research shows that people who float can achieve this state much more quickly and effortlessly.[2] So if you, like me, are quite unlikely to achieve Zen Master status anytime soon, the float tank may be the most pleasurable shortcut to happiness.

So, in addition to those listed above, what positive effects are associated with the Theta state?Enhanced creativity and problem solving seem to flourish in this state.[3] Improved relationships and tolerance are found in the Theta state, along with feelings of self-acceptance, self-awareness and peace. Perhaps the most exciting possibilities in the Theta state have to do with neuroplasticity, the proven fact of your brain’s ability to form new neural connections and “re-wire” itself, even in adulthood. This means that your brain can learn to overcome bad habits, even addictions, let go of negative feelings and even increase IQ. This is at the forefront of float research, but the link between neuroplasticity and Theta waves has already been proven by studying meditation.[4]

The beauty of the float experience lies in its simplicity. You lie down in warm, salty water and effortlessly float. And, it turns out, that without even trying, your brain can produce healing, powerful Theta waves as you float. Stay tuned; the new frontier of brain research seeks to prove how amazing the floating brain can be!

 

 

[1] http://www.transparentcorp.com/research/theta-brain-waves.php; http://www.floataway.com/index.php/floating/the-history-of-floating/michael-hutchison/brain-waves-and-floating

[2]http://www.floataway.com/index.php/floating/the-history-of-floating/michael-hutchison/brain-waves-and-floating

[3] http://floatseattle.com/achievethetastate/

[4] http://meditationforhealth.co.uk/thebrain.html

Original author: Jim Hefner


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5 Mistakes Rookie Floaters Make and How to Avoid Them

Floating is an art just as much as it is a science. Which means, you often aren’t going to become a pro at it right away. Even if you have floated 1, 2, 3, or 10 times, there are still mistakes that you might be making in a float tank. Here are the most common mistakes that we find rookies make while floating:

 

Eating or Drinking Too Much Beforehand

rookie floater

It’s a common mistake, especially if you plan a float for later in the day, to drink caffeine in some form beforehand. Try to avoid coffee, tea, or soda at all costs–and stick to water or juice if you can.  The same thing goes for eating before a float. We recommend eating at least an hour before or waiting until afterwards. Eating or drinking too closely to the time of your float could cause you discomfort inside the tank, it creates the urge to need to use the bathroom in the middle of your session as well as the inability to fully shut off your mind.

 

 

 

Touching Your Face

BurningEyes

I swear, as many times as you can tell someone “DO NOT touch your eyes or face” during your float session, there is always going to be someone who fails to listen. This often happens at about twenty minutes into your session. You start to get hot inside the tank and next thing you know, sweat is running down your forehead. So what do you do? You use your hands to wipe it off and then, BAM! Salt everywhere–in your eyes and on your face–it stings massively and now your whole float session is ruined.

 

Most float centers provide towels that you can use in case you get any salt water in your eyes or on your face. If you’re floating at home, we recommend keeping some small wash cloths close or hung up inside of your tank so if this happens, you’re prepared and can get right back to your float.  

 

 

 

Over-Thinking

 Thinking

You know when you tell your mind to not think? And then you realize, that’s still a thought, and it causes you to keep thinking. It’s a never ending process!

 

Instead of telling your mind not to think, focus on your breathing or counting down from 100. You’ll usually lose track of your thoughts well before you count down too far.  

 

 

 

Not Fully Relaxing

Relax

Relaxing while laying in water is actually a little harder than it sounds.  The most common mistake people make is trying too hard to float. Don’t do this! You will float. Seriously, it’s pretty much impossible to drown in a float tank because of all the buoyancy from the epsom salt.

 

The most common area of tension is in your neck and upper back. Try floating with your arms above your head to ease tension on your spine and back. Also, some people like to use an inflatable float pillow while they are in the tank. Sometimes a slight change of positioning is all your body needs to help your body relax into an even deeper state.

 

 

 

Floating Without A Purpose

Focus

Some people float simply to meditate and calm their minds. However, it's also common to float for mental aspects such as increasing focus or personal optimization. If you desire to achieve these types of results, its important to set an intention for your float. 

 

Before you hop in the tank, decide is today’s float session going to be for relaxation, or boosting creativity or visualizing an upcoming event that you are preparing for.  It’s a simple act of saying to yourself, “I’m floating today to help me with _______" but it will make all the difference each time you float.

 

 

What other mistakes have you made while floating that might help rookie floaters have a better experience? Please share your suggestions with us in the comments below.  

Original author: Jaymie


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Floatation Tank Comparison: Different Types of Float Tanks and Their Benefits

I sopod Flotation Tank 584x372

Tanks, pods, cabins, sensory deprivation, isolation…there’s a bit of lingo associated with floating. Although the basic definition of floatation therapy is universal, what you choose to float IN may affect how much you enjoy your experience. Are you really tall? A little claustrophobic? A tad picky (like us)? If so, it might be helpful to know what’s on the menu with our floatation tank comparison.

Tanks, pods, cabins and open tubs are all different designs. Narrow, rectangular tanks have been around the longest, and Oasis and Samadhi (1) (both made in the U.S.) are the names most associated with this style. You enter this tank by bending through a hatch at one end and sitting in the water; these tanks are not large enough to stand in. Because these tanks are smaller than cabin-style tanks and more narrow than pods, some people may feel claustrophobic. Some floaters find it helpful to prop the hatch open with a rolled-up towel or even leave it open altogether to alleviate a confined feeling. However, many floaters feel completely comfortable in these tanks. Our amazing first floats were in Oasis tanks!

The names most commonly associated with float pods are i-sopod (made in the U.K.) and TrueREST (made in the U.S.), but new tank manufacturers are popping up pretty regularly as floating continues to blossom all over the world (2). Pods tend to be more curvy and slightly wider, with a lift-up lid at one end of the tank. These allow you to step in, then sit down and close the lid. Once the lid is closed, it’s not possible to stand. These tanks are a bit roomier, and the soft, rounded shape is appealing to many. These modern designs also include features like built-in speakers and LED lighting to allow floaters to control the ambiance of their experience.

Cabin-style tanks, like ours at Just Float, aim to give people more room to float. Cabins tend to be built into a wall and entered by stepping through a door. They are large enough for most people to stand in and are wider than most tanks or pods. Some, including ours, have light and audio options for customized experiences. As floating evolves, tank designs are changing to meet the desires of the float community, and roomier, technology-rich cabins are an example of this evolution.

Open float rooms are more like a standard bathtub, just larger. They are not enclosed, so there is no door or hatch to close. Because of that openness, light and sound are controlled by the architecture of the room as a whole, which may lead to variations. This design is most accessible to people with disabilities or severe claustrophobia, allowing them to experience the freedom of floating without the pitfalls of an enclosed space. At Just Float, one of our rooms is open so that we may best serve everyone in our community.

No matter what you float in, the benefits of floating remain the same: Intense relaxation, stress relief, reduction of pain and inflammation, improved sleep. However, as with anything in life, your comfort influences your experience, so you want to find a float center that best aligns with your needs. The amount of light and sound also affect the quality of your experience and the depth of relaxation you may achieve, so that should be a consideration as well. In the end, we want you to achieve your perfect float, and we hope this information empowers you to find it!

 

 

http://www.samadhitank.com; http://www.oasisrelaxation.com

2  http://floatationtanks.com

3 Photo credit: Creative Commons: FloatGuru

Original author: Jim Hefner


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Military Vets with PTSD: Floating Can Help You

ifloat vets ptsd

Last year I heard a story on the radio of a young man named John who recently came back from the war in Iraq. When he left for the war he was a cheerful, outgoing guy. When he came back something was different. He was withdrawn and depressed. His family did not know what to do about it. They were confused. Where had their son and brother gone? He was a different person. When the story aired, the young man was in counseling. John is a classic case of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from military service.

PTSD occurs when someone experiences the trauma and they continue to react to the trauma months and years later as though it is still taking place. What happens is people unconsciously decide things during the trauma. Whatever they instruct their mind to do (“The world is scary,” “I am helpless,” or “I am a bad person”) gets lodged in the unconscious part like a looping tape that plays over and over without them realizing it.

Mindfulness practices, such as meditation, have been found to improve PTSD. We have observed clients reduce their PTSD through floating. The reason is because floating frees up a lot of brain circuitry and it helps people amplify deep meditative brainwave states. It takes them out of the “flight or fight” response pattern and to a non-emotional state. In this state they are training their mind to calm down. They are also freeing up circuitry to eventually identify what they put in their mind.

We asked two U.S. military veterans, and iFloaters, to write about their thoughts on floating, being a military veteran, and PTSD. You can read them below.

Megan Henry, a Veteran and an athlete training for the Olympics, wrote the following about PTSD and floating:

Being in the military and reflecting after Independence Day, I recommend floating to fellow Soldiers who are suffering from PTSD, anxiety, or depression resulting from multiple combat tours. Imagine spending multiple years constantly in fight-or-flight mode, but having no choice but to use fight? This very unique opportunity to help turn your brain off simply cannot be replicated elsewifloat vets brainhere.  For those who feel they do not want to turn and ask for help, I urge them to just try this. Floating allows those who may feel ashamed or hesitant to ask for help to feel empowered because they will ultimately be contributing to their own relief and journey of overcoming these mental battles.  In addition, the environment at iFloat cannot be beat. Sharing your experience and epiphanies is easy and in a very safe, welcoming environment.  I have to applaud the iFloat staff for giving me an environment that has allowed me to  grow on so many levels, and have it “float” over to other areas of my life. I will continue to use floating throughout the remainder of my athletic career and whatever lies after.  I encourage others to float and find their own relaxed chaos.

 

Brody Hawatt, a Veteran and finance expert, wrote the following about PTSD and floating:

I have been dealing with PTSD since coming back from Iraq in 2004.  I have found that floating has not only enabled me to deal and confront what caused the PTSD, but it has also helped me with other areas of my life.   I have four young children, two of which are 7 month old twins, so along with having PTSD goifloat vets floating od sleep is a rarity for me.   One hour of floating gives me that time to rest and hit a level of peace that is hard to find in my hectic schedule.   Floating also helps slow down everything in my life and put things in perspective.  I work in a job where I stare at 10 screens all day long in a fairly fast paced job, and I have found that floating has enabled me to slow everything down and have a sense of clarity I did not have before.  My experiences with floating only improves with each session.

 

Multiple float sessions are helpful for reducing anxiety. Military veterans receive 20% off all float sessions (discount includes all packages and membership). iFloat also offers a 12 week research program where participants fill out surveys before and after they float. For participating in the research the participants receive 50% off all float sessions during the twelve week program.
To schedule your next float session or to inquire about floating or our research program contact iFloat at 203-226-7378 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can also make appointments online at our website.

 

 

Original author: Lisa Sienkiewicz


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Understanding the two-types of stress and how it affects us

zenfloatco stress

When you hear the word stress, what thoughts often come to your mind? For most, I would have to guess a mixture of negative thoughts associated with the word; stress with work, stress about finances, stress about life in general. However, stress is not bad at all.  In a lot of cases, stress can actually be good.  As long as you can change your outlook on how stress affects your life and you can be mindful of why you are experiencing it, stress can be a powerful motivator in your life.  

 

What is stress?

Stress is your body's response to certain situations. Stress is subjective. Something that may be stressful for one person -- speaking in public, for instance -- may not be stressful for someone else. Not all stresses are "bad" either. For example, getting a new job promotion to a management position may be considered a "good" stress.

I’m sure most of you already know, especially if you are an avid floater, that stress can have a huge affect on your mental, physical, and emotional health.  It can speed up your heart rate, make your body sweat, and make your brain think at a mile a minute.  But what many of us don’t know is that there are actually two types of stress: positive and negative or often referred to as, Eustress and Distress.

 

How the two different types of stress affect you

The first type of stress is Eustress, or what we like to refer to as positive stress.  Eustress is often felt when we are faced with challenges that may be difficult but we know we are capable of overcoming. Challenges and responsibilities like this give us a sense of thrill and excitement.

One example of eustress is having a big competition arise at work. Though you know this competition is going to require more effort and hours at work, it brings a feeling of enthusiasm to succeed or win in a challenge.  

Eustress is a healthy kind of stress because it encourages and motivates us in our life and at work and also gives us a feeling of fulfillment.

The second type of stress is the negative kind of stress, or Distress.  Distress is referred to as the “most popular” kind of stress.  It’s caused by negative factors such as unhappiness, anxiety, depression, fatigue, etc.

It’s hard to provide an example of distress because every person reacts differently in particular situations but generally these are some examples of situations that case distress: divorce, death, injury, loss of job, other conflict.

When we are faced with negative stress, if often blocks our happiness and success and if it continues for a long period of time we can become emotionally, physically, and mentally sick.

People who experience a lot of distress are the ones who always complain about life. They tend to play the victim role instead of being a victor.  This stems from a feeling of being unfulfilled and has a huge affect on your potential success level if it carries on over time.  

 

What’s the point of all of this?

Now that we’re aware of the two types of stress and how they affect us, it’s important to look for solutions to change. t’s always important to remember that the goal is not to get rid of stress completely – but to instead identify our stressors and find ways to overcome the negative stress that those things induce.

 
Original author: Zen Float

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