New experiences slow aging, so for my birthday I tried to float my way to nirvana. As a gift, my Frenchman offered me a Flotation Therapy session. I left my comfort zone, overcame claustrophobia and closed myself in a flotation tank for a total mind and body experience.
Flotation therapy dates back to 1954 when Dr. John Lilly, a physician and psychoanalyst, studied altered states of consciousness, brainwaves and the effect of sensory deprivation. His research led to the development of a flotation device creating a weightlessness state, void of sensory stimulation, which can lead one to a state of mindfulness.
At the Surface Center in Lausanne Switzerland, entering the tank felt like stepping into a space ship. When I lay out in a bath of water heated to skin temperature of 94-95 degrees F and highly concentrated with (800 lbs.) Epsom salt to remove gravity, I felt as weightless as an astronaut in outer space.
Did you know about 90% of your brain’s activity focuses on calculating where gravity is and in which direction to enable you to move without falling over?
Without the necessity of maintaining posture, your mind frees from the physical world, creating a state of sensory relaxation.
Later Ohio State University research showed flotation improved creativity in jazz musicians. The therapy is currently used by elite athletes, like Stephen Curry, to enhance performance.
Hey, if it worked for basketball’s “Baby-Faced Assassin”, it could work for me.
So I floated and waited to reach nirvana.
Once I realized I could open the door, I overcame my anxiety of being entombed in a pod the size of a double-wide coffin. Starting from my crooked toes, I visualized each bone and body part being released from every injury and accident. Then, I repeated the process imagining killing off bacteria, viruses and germs plaguing my health.
Therapy accelerates lactic acid removal, lymphatic tissue flow and reduces the blood pressure, maximizing blood flow. In theory in this state, endorphins are released reducing pain but instead of euphoria, my spine still felt crooked. Even as I visualized symmetry, my posture still felt out of whack with my head twisted one way and my shoulder and hip the other way.
“Your head falls back weightlessly,” the instructor explained beforehand, “so prop your head with hands.”
In spite of my deep breathing and mindfulness, after 20 minutes, tightness in my neck and shoulder blades distracted me. Pressure built up in my head and sinuses.
I began to think, enough already.
For a brief period though, I was a hidden pearl floating in a clam-shaped cocoon on the Dead Sea.
When I stepped on land afterwards, a tsunami hit.
My head ached, my brain fogged, my limbs weighed tons and I remained comatose for the rest of the day.
But to be honest, I can reach paradise a whole lot faster floating on Summit Lake.
For more information on where to float, go to http://www.where-to-float.com/