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  • Writer's pictureShelly Hoekstra

Float Therapy

Experience a pure state of consciousness, a deep meditative journey that not only provides a profound sense of relaxation but can uncover personal revelations. Free yourself from all external stimuli and enjoy the remarkable sensation of Float Therapy.


Float Therapy began as an experiment in the early 1950s, when neuroscience was questioning how the brain-mind mechanism functions, and whether it had any limitations. There was uncertainty as to what would happen to our thoughts if there was no sensory information to respond to. Would our thoughts simply shut down?

John C. Lilly set out to find the answers. In 1954, he began his research by submerging participants in a large, water-filled isolation tank, wearing a breathing apparatus. The findings were remarkable. Thought did not stop. Participants reported not only feeling a deep sense of relaxation and tranquility, but some reported gaining an awareness of the self that exists beyond space and time, a sense of self-discovery and self-realization.

In the early 1970s, Lilly partnered with Glenn Perry. Together, they designed a more conducive variation of the chamber, introduced Epsom salt, and the modern-day float tank was born. Its popularity has fluctuated over the decades, with a dramatic resurgence in present day. You can find centers exclusively dedicated to floating, as well as some spa locations with float session availability.

Float Tanks

Float tanks, also known as sensory deprivation tanks, isolation tanks, and float pods, have demonstrated healthful benefits for the mind and body. Many individuals have also reported extraordinary spiritual epiphanies.

Float tanks are physical chambers filled with water and large amounts of Epsom salt to create buoyancy. These chambers are sizeable enough to lie down in and free float without touching the sides. The tanks are made to be sound dampening, the water temperature is kept at the same temperature as the body, and when the overhead door is shut, there is complete darkness. There are no distractions from the outside world. You lose all of your senses normally associated with the physical realm. There is nothing left but the presence of your mind.

Most float tanks do come with colored light options and ambient music for individuals that it may make more comfortable. This is a bit contradictory to the purpose of the experience, but you can still gain beneficial results.

Float Tank


Float Therapy is now more formally known as Reduced Environmental Stimulation Therapy (REST) and is in the early stages of scientific research. A review of the studies completed thus far has shown benefits for individuals struggling with muscular pain, sleep disorders, stress, depression, and anxiety. (Witte, 2021).

Other benefits reported by participants anecdotally include:

  • Cardiovascular health, lowering blood pressure

  • Reducing headaches/migraines

  • Moderating joint and back pain

  • Reducing symptoms of PTSD

  • Supporting recovery from addiction

  • Improving athletic performance and recovery

  • Enhancing creativity

  • Improving learning (concentration and focus), executive thinking

  • Detoxifying the body

  • Rejuvenation


Float therapy is not for everyone. It cannot be used for people with:

  • Claustrophobia

  • Open wounds

  • Contagious diseases

  • Epilepsy

  • Low blood pressure

  • Kidney disease

  • Serious psychological conditions

Why Float?

Floating can help people have a deep meditative experience and reap the vast benefits meditation is most well-known for, equivalent even to those who have been practicing for years in some instances. Each float session will be different for every individual.

Some people have reported extra-sensory perceptions during their float sessions: seeing colors; having clear, distinct visions; as well as auditory experiences. The brain-mind mechanism is able to tap into the higher, expanded Self when there are no distractions. This is the reason why some individuals experience great epiphanies while floating. Go into Float Therapy with an open mind, no expectations, relax, and enjoy.



Witte, L., Santo, C, Archambault, M. Colleti, T. Danielson, R., Emeritus (2021). Floatation Therapy for Specific Health Concerns: A review of the research on this increasingly popular intervention. Natural Medicine Journal.


Phone: (413) 569-8048


© 2021 Shelly Hoekstra, Life Coach & Alternative Healing

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