Float therapy, also known as sensory deprivation therapy, was originally developed in the 1950’s by John C. Lilly, a neuroscientist and physician.
By the 1970s, float therapy had gained popularity as a form of alternative therapy for stress relief, relaxation, and pain management.
Today, benefits of float therapy are becoming more widely known and of course, more widely available.
So what exactly is float therapy?
Float therapy is a type of therapy that involves floating in a tank or pool filled with warm water and Epsom salt. The water is heated to body temperature, which creates a weightless and sensory black-out environment that promotes relaxation.
The tank is designed to be soundproof and lightproof, which eliminates external senses and smells and allows the user to focus on their thoughts and feelings.
The Epsom salt in the water also has a range of therapeutic benefits, such as reducing inflammation and promoting muscle relaxation.
Float therapy sessions typically last between 60 and 90 minutes, and users are encouraged to wear earplugs to block out any residual noise. Many people find float therapy to be a deeply relaxing and meditative experience that can help reduce stress, anxiety, and pain.
What are the benefits of Float Therapy?
Reduces stress and anxiety: The sensory deprivation and weightlessness of float therapy can help reduce stress and anxiety levels.
Improves sleep: Float therapy can help improve the quality of sleep by reducing stress and promoting relaxation.
Relieves pain: The weightlessness of float therapy and the minerals in the Epsom Salt can help to relieve pain and tension in the muscles and joints.
Enhances creativity: The sensory deprivation aspect can help to clear the mind and enhance creativity and problem-solving abilities.
Boosts the immune system: Float therapy can help boost the immune system by the Epsom Salts which are great for drawing out toxins from the body
Improves mental clarity: Float therapy can help improve mental clarity and focus by reducing distractions and promoting relaxation.
Reduces inflammation: Float therapy can help reduce inflammation in the body by promoting relaxation and reducing stress.
So, as a fan of anything that includes the opportunity to relax, I took myself down to Float Therapy on Chapel Lane in Wilmslow.
I booked my session in for early evening, around 5pm. After a busy day of juggling child rearing with work commitments (just a normal day in the life) I was looking forward to my time in the float tank, and grateful for the opportunity to escape from the world, even just for an hour.
The float rooms include a changing area and shower. We have terrible pressure at home so the shower in itself felt like a rare treat.
I de-clothed and hopped in the shower for a quick rinse down, to get rid of any body oils, before putting on the earplugs provided and making my way inside the tank.
Now, it’s important to point out that everyone’s experience in the float tank is different, and not every float tank experience will be the same as the last. One of the co-owners, Paul believes that the float tank gives you the experience that you need at the time. For example, if you are sleep deprived (like me) you are likely to come out the tank feeling invigorated. Whereas, if you are feeling stressed, you are likely to come out of the tank feeling tired. I am inclined to agree.
As I was on the sleep deprivation side of the spectrum, I definitely came out feeling rested and with more energy than I had going in.
As for the experience itself, I made myself comfortable and followed Paul’s advice. I relaxed into the experience and used a box breathing technique (4 seconds inhale, 4 seconds hold, 4 seconds exhale, 4 seconds hold) to quiet my mind and gradually switched off from the outside world.
At this point I felt as though I had no concept of time, as if time just wasn’t a thing. It’s very hard to explain but I distinctly remember reaching a point where I just said to myself “trust the process” and let go.
At this point I could feel my body begin to recharge. Imagine the little bars on your phone filling up, well that’s how I felt. I came around shortly after this feeling and perhaps a minute or so later, the music began to play, signalling the end of my session.
I exited the float tank and made a rookie mistake by rubbing the side of my eye. Luckily, I was near a towel and quickly hopped into the shower to wash away the salt water. After washing away all the salt water (they provide shampoo, conditioner and body wash) I headed back to reception to share my experience with Paul, who’s eyes lit up with genuine excitement as he couldn’t wait to hear all about my experience.
Fast forward to a few hours later, as I settled down in bed for the night, my whole body felt relaxed, comparable to the after effects of a full body massage.
VIVA Verdict: 10/10 a must try for anyone in need of a little R&R.