Is “Floating” Meditation for the Restless?

With very minimal research, it’s often easy to decipher which health trends can be dismissed as a money grab as well as which ones carry some merit. For instance in the next few months I can’t say I will be investing any money into a slimming face roller, weight loss sunglasses, or a magnetic diet ring. However, there is a new trend on the market that I must confess I am growing quite curious of, and am seriously thinking about taking the plunge- literally.

Float tanks. Yes, also known as Sensory Deprivation or Tranquility tanks, they are claimed to make you “calmer than in the womb” and relieve 95%-98% of your stress, which is quite the claim if you live in today’s society. It has taken 30 years to pioneer and from the outside it doesn’t look like much more than a claustrophobic’s nightmare. However inside is a whole new world, and may be where you find yourself.

Recently arrived in Toronto at Toronto’s Healing Arts Centre and Float Toronto, these tanks are designed to leave you in nothingness. Literally, your five senses are non-existent for the time you are in the tank. A tank- wide enough for two, filled with body temperature water and 1000 pounds of Epsom salts and has twice the buoyancy of the Dead Sea.They say one hour in the tank is equivalent to 4-6 hours of sleep.

While floating in the pitch-black tank your body and the water feel indistinguishable and you are left to concentrate on nothing but your breath. Experts say that the more times you use the tank, the more you will reap the benefits. Those who have experienced the tank exclaim that their emotions are heightened after exiting the tank, and even find themselves in an emotional state and in more need of human connection.

Michael Hutchison, who studied the brain, looked at the brain activity of Zen monk and discovered that after a year of meditating in exchange their brain produces one minute of “Theta.” (Theta is a specific brain wave that is very minimally produced while sleeping and can create a euphoric state.) He claims that spending one hour in the float tank you can produce the same amount of Theta that would take a meditating monk twenty years to produce!

If you have tried meditating, but can never seem to concentrate without your focus driven elsewhere, or perhaps don’t even bother meditating full well knowing that you can’t sit still for more than thirty seconds, maybe this is worth a shot.