What does Science have to say about float tank therapy?

Floatation therapy is regularly described as a non-invasive therapeutic healing and rejuvenation process involving an Epsom salt bath (magnesium sulphate) that apparently does wonders for a variety of ailments ranging from joint or muscle aches, chronic pain, headaches, arthritis, PMS discomfort, pregnancy discomfort, anxiety, stress, hypertension, gout and the list goes on and on. Now, from this alone, it would move everyone to stop and ask one single question which is ‘how can a single treatment’ be of assistance to recovery from such a diverse range of illnesses. By diverse range, what is meant is, from the list mentioned above, it seems that this floatation therapy helps in recovery of not just physical aspects of the human body, but also mental aspects.

Now what does science have to say about this based on the fact that the floatation tank alone is creating waves and a high pitch buzz from people from all walks of life! How is this even possible?

It is not a mystery that Epsom salt baths have been used by people from almost everywhere on the planet for generations for not just relaxing, but also muscle soreness and skin diseases. Well the truth of the matter according to science that is, although the magnesium that is absorbed through the skin by our bodies does play a role, it is a small role, because the beneficial impact of floatation therapy does not come from the magnesium sulphate alone as there is much more in play during float sessions than magnesium. What actually happens to our brain during these sessions actually play a much bigger role, which will be explained here.

We are all aware of the fact that our brain has to constantly deal with a plethora of things simultaneously that is picked up by our biological sensory apparatus which include our eyes, ears, nose, skin and even our pressure mechanisms. The weightless state that our bodies are left in during a float session basically allows our brain not to concern itself with the effects of gravity and similarly, the fact that float tanks are sound proof, heated to skin temperature, and dark basically sends us back to what we experienced in our mother’s womb.

So, basically what happens is that our brain gets a much needed break and rests. This little break energises our brain and sets it fresh. Apart from that, during sessions, the brain reorganises the production of stress hormones (cortisol, adrenaline and others) and as well as feel good hormones such as endorphins, dopamine and others. All these things play a pivotal role in our biological construct and when all these elements are re-calibrated to optimum states, we simply become healthier and it is as simple as that!

The reason as to why these facts were not known, advertised or promoted by the health community before was simply due to the fact that it was not until after the turn of the century was human technology advanced enough to measure brainwave accurately. Prior to clinical trials that allowed these tests to be accurately measured, everything was just based on observations and not actual scientific proof and hence the reluctance for more than half a century!

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