Spas in Ireland

Flotation Therapy

By , October 26, 2010

For some the idea of floating in a soundproof tank completely cut off from the world sounds like bliss, but for some it sounds like a claustrophobic nightmare. This treatment was first developed more than half a century ago, yet there is still an air of mystery surrounding it. If it is a treatment you have ever considered, how will you know it’s for you? Understanding what the treatment involves will help you to determine if you will enjoy it or not. 

Flotation therapy is a process of sensory deprivation. It was developed in 1954 by an American psychoanalyst and neuro-physicist called Dr. John C. Lilly.  He developed the isolation tanks after he discovered that when immersed in the tanks, rather than going into a sleep state, the mind becomes active.

During the process your body is placed into a state of total relaxation. The water in the tank is specially made up with salts and minerals which allow the body to float on the water. The theory is that while we are living our day to day lives we are prone to experiencing stress and conflict, and we therefore develop habits to handle these strains such as smoking or drinking alcohol.

Because you are cut off from interference like the sights and sounds of your every day waking life your body has a chance to break these habits and regenerate while you are still conscious.

The tanks are quite large, typically around 8ft long and 4ft wide and quite often the treatment takes place in complete darkness. Relaxation CDs are sometimes played during the treatment and some more modern tanks have a two way communication system with the therapist.

What are the benefits?
The treatment can take up to two hours, during which time you are completely cut off from physical stimulation. Because the body has no stimuli to react to stress levels drop. Production of adrenaline and cortisil in the blood is reduced and endorphins are released acting as a natural painkiller and creating a sense of deep relaxation. The therapy is beneficial to anyone suffering from chronic pain, hypertension, muscle tension, headaches, anxiety, psycho-physiological problems and in certain cases PMS.

Is it for you?
This form of therapy is not recommended for anyone suffering from claustrophobia (fear of confined spaces) or nyctophobia (fear of darkness).  The salts used in the therapy may agitate certain skin conditions so it’s best to consult with the therapist or a GP before opting for the treatment.


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