Float Tanks

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R.E.S.T.* for stress reduction, accelerated learning, addiction recovery, and more.
*Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy

Note: Elixa no longer rents tank time. For another center in Albuquerque, contact: Aloha Wellness at (505) 243-5155
For a list of floatation centers elsewhere, see
Don’t watch the box, climb inside it!

Flotation REST is a special type of REST popularized by John C. Lilly, M.D. Previously   called Sensory Deprivation (SD) or Sensory Isolation, Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy (REST) has fascinated many researchers, clinicians, and explorers of consciousness, promising something special – a powerful transformation, a mystical peak experience, an intense change in biochemicals, improved performance, or a healing of our ills. Beyond the fascination, Flotation REST has established itself as a unique method in the field of applied psychophysiology. Flotation REST has proven to be a technique with predictable psychophysiological effects and powerful clinical and performance applications.

Floating effective for stress and pain

Relaxation in large, sound- and light-proof tanks with high-salt water­floating­is an effective way to alleviate long-term stress-related pain.
This has been shown by Sven Bood, who recently completed his doctorate in psychology, with a dissertation from Karlstad University in Sweden.

The dissertation confirms what earlier studies have indicated: sleep was improved, patients felt more optimistic, and the content of the vitalizing hormone prolactin increased. Anxiety, stress, depression, and perception of pain declined. Those who took part in the research project all had some form of stress-related pain, and after only twelve treatments in the floating tank, their condition improved.

“Through relaxing in floating tanks, people with long-term fibromyalgia, for instance, or depression and anxiety felt substantially better after only twelve treatments. Relaxing in a weightless state in the silent, warm floating tank activates the body’s own system for recuperation and healing. The stress hormone decreases, as does blood pressure. The findings confirm and reinforce our earlier studies on the effects of relaxing in a floating tank,” says Sven Bood.

Many people experience improvement

His dissertation comprises four studies that all involve the treatment of pain and stress-related disorders with the aid of a floating tank. A control group that was not treated in a floating tank experienced no improvement in their health. After a period of treatment lasting a total of seven weeks, 22 percent of the participants in the floating group were entirely free of pain, and 56 experienced a clear improvement. Nineteen percent felt no change and 3 percent felt worse. And the effect persists after the treatment is completed. The research project has been under way for four years and has included 140 individuals, all with some form of diagnosis involving stress-related long-term pain.

Several types of pain can be affected

“The treatment method can be used for several groups, such as people with whiplash injuries, fibromyalgia, depression, and long-term stress-related pain. We can also see that a combination of treatment in a floating tank and traditional therapy can be effective. We are now moving on in our research and will be monitoring blood circulation in the capillaries, the oxygen uptake of the blood, and how the body’s reflexes are affected,” says Sven Bood.

Interesting historical note about floating and the space program:

“Wally Funk has been flying professionally since 1957 and she has accumulated over 16,800 hours of flying time. In February 1961, at the age of 21 Wally volunteered for the “Women in Space” Program with an independent clinic which had the support but not the official sponsorship of NASA. Only twenty-five women were chosen for testing. Wally underwent a series of rigorous physical and mental tests and passed with a very high average, rating 3rd in the field of 13 qualifying candidates – (read all about it). It was at that time that Wally became fully absorbed with the idea of becoming an astronaut and traveling into space.

The initial Mercury Astronaut Candidate examinations taken by both men and women consisted of three phases:
PHASE ONE involved a series of 87 different tests covering everything from having to swallow three feet of rubber hose for a stomach test to having 18 needles stuck into your head to record brain waves, to drinking a pint of radioactive water.
PHASE TWO consisted of psychological and psychiatric testing. The isolation tank test involved being placed in a circular 8 foot deep tank of warm water located in a small, air-tight room with 8-inch thick humidity- proof and vibration-proof parameters. While undergoing this experience, all of the five basic senses were as thoroughly removed as possible since there was nothing to see, hear, touch, taste or smell, thereby simulating a weightless condition. In addition, the water could not be felt since the water temperature was perfectly matched to the subject’s own body temperature. Under sensory deprivation conditions, the normal reaction is for the subconscious mind to take over and one lapses into uncontrollable hallucinations. The ability to remain in touch with reality without lapsing into hallucinations is paramount. Wally spent a record 10 hours and 35 minutes in the tank without hallucinating, but admits to sneaking a few naps.

PHASE THREE was performed at different test sites. Wally was the first woman in the history of the El Toro Marine Corp Base to be asked to undergo a High Altitude Chamber Test and the Martin-Baker Seat Ejection Test. One part of her program was the Centrifuge Test which simulates gravitational forces such as are encountered in lift-off and re-entry procedures in a space vehicle. During, this test, West German Television took movies for a documentary series “Women in Space Industry”. The Federal Aviation Administration in Oklahoma City conducted Aerospace Physiology courses and tests to finalize the qualifying procedure. Although the female astronaut program was suspended, Wally and her dozen counterparts were the first women to pass some tests with very high marks trying to qualify for the Mercury astronaut program.



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