Floating is the ability to experience nothing. That’s right! Nothing.
When you think about it, you spend your life constantly receiving some kind of stimulation. Between work, school, driving, talking, eating and everything else you are never really at rest. Your brain is constantly receiving input, be it through sound, sight, or smell, your brain spends a large amount of its energy trying to process this information so you can function as a human being. Even when you are sleeping you are still receiving some sort of input. Have you ever been dreaming when an external sound ended up manifesting itself as a part of your dream?
On top of the external stimulation your body is constantly spending a large amount of its resources fighting gravity. Your legs feel the stress of the weight of your body after walking all day. Your neck is constantly supporting the weight of your head. Your back muscles are constantly trying to keep you up right. Even your heart is working extra hard to make sure your blood is getting pumped to every extremity.
Scientists have estimated that up to 90 percent of the brain's work is derived from the stimuli of our routine external environment. The float pod is an environment which allows the user to be detached from any external sources of input, and for the first time feel true deep relaxation.
The pod is filled with 10 inches of water that is saturated with 1100 lbs of the highest grade Magnesium Sulfate, also known as Epson salt. The Epson salt brings the density of the solution to 1.27-1.31 which is just about the maximum amount of salt that can be dissolved in the water before it starts to solidify on the tank’s bottom. The high density allows the user to float effortlessly on the surface, supporting every inch evenly and reducing the effects of gravity on the body by 80%. The water and air in the tank are kept at skin temperature making it almost impossible to tell where the body ends and the water begins. The soundproof walls of the pod keep any external sound out. When the user closes the lid and turns off the light they enter an environment where the only input they experience is themselves.
The human body has evolved over million years to take care of itself, and the float pod provides the perfect environment where it can do just that. By removing any external sources of stimuli, such as sound, light, and the constant pull of gravity, the float pod allows the body to stop spending its resources externally, and allow the body to focus on what really matters, itself.
Our bodies and brains are made up of many different chemicals that support regular and irregular functions. When the balance is right we feel great and life is good, but when the balance is off, we can feel sluggish, stressed or sick. Many factors influence our chemistry, anything from a bad diet, lack of sleep, and deadlines at work or school. Correcting these imbalances can be easy or difficult depending on the duration and type of imbalance.
Let’s take stress for example. We feel stress when our body thinks we are under attack, triggering our “fight or flight” response. Our body begins to release a complex mix of hormones and chemicals such as adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine which prepares our body for physical action. In “fight or flight” mode your body’s only focus is to survive. It diverts all of the blood to the muscles, increasing your blood pressure and heart rate to provide you with more energy. At the same time, other bodily functions which are not immediately needed, such as digestion, are suppressed.
This system has been working great in keeping the human species alive for millions of years, but in this day and age we rarely have to fight off a pack of wolves on our way to work. Unfortunately for us, our bodies haven’t caught up with the times and this same response is triggered by anything from your boss yelling at you, to worrying about missing a deadline. Although these threats are psychological, our body releases the same chemicals, as to prepare you for physical battle.
We’ve all felt the feeling, trying public speaking for the first time, having seven exams in one week or just not getting enough sleep. If you continue to feel these “threats” on a regular basis, you will continue to produce more of the same chemicals and hormones, making it difficult for your body chemistry to return to balance. The longer this lasts the more out of balance your body will be, the worse you will feel, and the harder it will be to correct.
Studies have linked long term elevated stress levels to be one of, if not the main cause of, most illnesses known today - but how do we avoid it? It’s not like we can drop out of school or quit our jobs to avoid any stressful situation forever. The trick is to get our body chemistry back in balance.
Just like our sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is responsible for the “fight or flight” response when our body is in danger, our parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) is responsible for stimulation of "rest-and-digest" or "feed and breed" activities that occur when the body is at rest. The rest and digest response is the complete opposite of fight or flight, and in opposite to being in danger it is only activated when you feel completely relaxed.
This system can be activated through many ways, physical exercise, yoga, being out in nature, even reading a book before bed can get this system fired up. Have you ever taken a trip and came back feeling fully recharged? Sat around a campfire with some good friends? In both those activities your body does not feel as if is under any threat and any elevated levels of chemicals causing your to feel stress are counterbalanced, bringing your bodies chemistry back to normal.
By eliminating any external sources of distraction or anything your body may deem as a threat, the float pod is your perfect tool to activate your rest and digest response and feel completely relaxed. Studies have shown that while floating, the heart rate slows down, muscles become more relaxed, and an overall sense of deep relaxation is felt by the floater.