I had the good fortune to visit the newly opened Metta³ Rest Spa in Vancouver and float in one of their deluxe floatation pods.
|Metta³ Rest Spa, Vancouver|
Flotation lets you disconnect from your busy life-style and often overstimulated régime by rebooting your human bio-computer freeing yourself from having to process light, sound, gravity, or moderate your skin temperature all by floating.
Floatation is known by a number of names: flotation tank, sensory deprivation tank, float tank, John C. Lilly tank, REST tank, sensory attenuation tank. However they are described, flotation consists of a lightless, soundproof tank filled with skin temperature salt water. At Metta Rest Spa they prefer to think of flotation as sensory freedom, providing their spa guests the opportunity to rest and be free from the stress of constant overstimulation.
First known use of flotation dates back to ancient times. However it was more fully developed in 1954 to test the effects of sensory deprivation by John C. Lilly, a medical practitioner and neuro-psychiatrist during his training in psychoanalysis at the US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). T0day floatation tanks are also used for meditation, relaxation, in alternative medicine and t0 study the origin of consciousness and its relation to the brain.
Peter Suedfeld and Roderick Borrie of the University of British Columbia began investigating the benefits of flotation in the late 1970s. They named their technique "Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy" (REST).
Additionally flotation therapy has been academically studied in the USA and in Sweden with published results showing reduction of both pain and stress. The relaxed state also includes lowered blood pressure and maximum blood flow.
Floating can be passive or active, depending on the intended outcome. For relaxation (passive) one simply floats and clears the mind. Active floating incorporates many different techniques.
Research indicates that one may perform meditation, mantras, and self-hypnosis, or utilize educational programs, etc. Active floating is when the body is relaxed and the mind becomes highly suggestible. Any action taken during these states will enter the information into the sub-conscious. Flotation therapy may also be used to complement other body work and healing methodologies.
|The Library at Metta³ Rest Spa|
Similar to meditation it is common at the beginning of flotation to experience itching, while the later part of a float transitions from beta or alpha brainwaves to theta which is similar to before sleep and again when waking from sleep. Theta state enhances creativity and problem solving.
During my very first float in the 1980’s while in theta state I could put a problem to myself and like a movie watch how it could be resolved. It was a very stimulating session where all my creative energy was released.
Many flotation spas were closed in the late 80’s and 90’s mainly for health and safety reasons and it became less fashionable for Spa goers. Thankfully flotation it is returning with new highly regulated standards, exquisitely designed flotation tanks and a renewed interest in the benefits flotation offers in our all too busy lifestyles.
What they have to say...
Want to know more...
Metta³ Rest Spa
HEALTH AND CLINICAL APPLICATIONS OF CHAMBER AND FLOTATION RESTRICTED ENVIRONMENTAL STIMULATION THERAPY by Peter Suedfeld Roderick A. Borrie, University of British Columbia