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An Introduction to the World of Floating

Floatation therapy offers a unique opportunity to achieve profound relaxation and disconnect from the outside world. While the float environment might seem unfamiliar at first, this intro post will guide you through the entire experience and unveil the surprising benefits of floating!


a man floats in a red lit float tank

What is a float tank?

A float tank, also known as an isolation tank, sensory deprivation tank, or floatation pod, is a lightless, soundproof tank filled with a high concentration of Epsom salt water heated to skin temperature. This specific solution allows you to effortlessly float due to the buoyancy created by the salt. That's the magic of floatation therapy, an experience that's been around for longer than you might think!


Float tanks were first developed in the 1950s by a neuroscientist called John C. Lilly who wanted to study the brain in a completely isolated environment. The lack of sights, sounds, and even the feeling of gravity on your body allows you to enter a deeply relaxed, almost meditative state.


A Typical Float Session: What to Expect

So, what exactly happens during a float session? Most float centres offer a similar experience, though the specifics may vary slightly. Here's a general breakdown of what happens at the Bristol Float Centre:


  • Pre-Float: You'll be greeted by a friendly staff member who will walk you through the process and answer any questions you may have. You will then be taken into your own private float room with a shower. Before getting into the tank you will be asked to have a quick rinse in the shower, a bit like you would at a swimming pool.

  • The Float: We provide you with earplugs and towels are available to rent from reception. The float tank itself is a large, soundproofed pod filled with warm Epsom salt water. We have 3 different rooms in our centre to choose from (click here to see them). The tank is kept at a constant temperature which matches your body. This unique environment allows your body and mind to enter a state of profound relaxation. Our float sessions last for 60 minutes.

  • Post-Float: After your float, you'll have plenty of time to shower (we provide you with shower gel, shampoo, conditioner) to rinse off the Epsom salts. Once you are dressed, you can make your way to the bathrooms where we have hair dryers for you to use. You can then enjoy a glass of water or a cup fruit tea in our post-float relaxation area to help you ease back into the world.


Why should I float?

It turns out, depriving the senses of external stimuli can have some pretty amazing benefits. We're talking stress reduction, improved sleep, pain relief, and even a boost in creativity. But the potential benefits go far beyond that! Floatation therapy has shown promise in helping people manage a variety of conditions, both mental and physical.

Feeling Stressed?  One of the most well-documented benefits of float therapy is its ability to combat stress and anxiety. By removing external stimulation and promoting deep relaxation, floating can help lower cortisol (the stress hormone) levels, leaving you feeling calmer and more centred. This can be a welcome relief for people who struggle with anxiety disorders, insomnia caused by stress, and even work-related burnout.


Float Away From Pain  The zero-gravity environment of a float tank can be a godsend for those dealing with chronic pain. The absence of pressure on your joints allows your muscles to completely unwind, reducing tension and pain. Studies have even shown that floatation therapy can be helpful in managing conditions like migraines, arthritis, and fibromyalgia.


More Than Just Relaxation  The benefits of floatation therapy extend beyond physical well-being. The deep state of relaxation can promote mindfulness and improve focus. Some people report experiencing enhanced creativity and problem-solving abilities after a float session. Floatation therapy may also be helpful for those struggling with symptoms of depression and PTSD.


We'll delve deeper into the specific benefits of floatation therapy for some of these conditions in future posts, but trust us, there's a whole lot to discover about the wonderful world of floating!

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