Floating away from stress
By Lisa Nicklanovich; courtesy photos
“More than a physical experience, it’s a mental one,” said resident Roger Hudson about floating in a sensory deprivation tank, also called an isolation tank, pod or pool. One thousand pounds of pharmaceutical-grade magnesium sulfate, commonly known as Epsom salt, is dissolved in a foot or less of skin-temperature water. Floating horizontally in this highly-concentrated saltwater bath without any other stimuli is used for restricted environmental stimulation therapy (REST) and for relaxation and rejuvenation.
Float pods originally started in the mid-1950s, exploring how the absence of light, sound, touch, and other stimuli affects the mind and body. In recent years, multiple scientific studies on REST have shown many benefits to physical and mental health, injury recovery, creativity, productivity, sleep and more.
Due to all the health benefits of floating, Ryan and Eryn Coufal installed a float room at their business, Rock Solid Sports Recovery in The Village at Castle Pines shops. Ryan said the salt itself, at a 30% ratio to the water, is anti-inflammatory and aids in reduced joint pain and stress since the pressure of gravity is taken off the joints and muscles. “An hour of zero gravity and no distractions decreases the body’s production of cortisol, a stress hormone. The byproduct is feeling refreshed and serene. During a float, your brain enters the theta brainwave state which is associated with deep sleep and dreaming, and can increase a person’s creativity,” Ryan added.
Hudson described the feeling of floating as “limitless.” While Hudson admits he laughed at the idea at first, he was intrigued and tried it as part of making healthy changes in his life. “You are able to imagine you are anywhere. Are you flying? Are you in space? Are you in motion or standing still? You get to exercise your mind and explore,” Hudson shared.
While the idea of being inside a pod or tank might be comforting to some, Hudson said he prefers personal pools which are larger and provide more open space. For a time, Hudson was going weekly. “Along with massage, I find it a must for me. It’s a luxury, always restful, and I find it positive for physical and mental health. Floating is truly one of my absolute favorite healthy things to do for mind, body and spirit.”
Ryan added, “Think about it this way, we are getting a complete release when we float, the opposite of stress.”