You are a superhero. That’s right, you are. We all are. Do you know why? Because our brain has extraordinary abilities. For instance, when we are awake, the human brain can produce 23 watts of energy. This is enough to power a light bulb and light up your living room. Crazy, huh?
I know how much you love shocking facts so here’s another quick one – the brain contains 100 000 miles of blood vessels.
Even though anatomically the human brain is not a muscle, it can be treated as a muscle, and therefore trained like one. It can grow, develop, and unlock more hidden powers with the proper exercises. One such ‘exercise’ is the sensory deprivation.
The mental benefits of floating in a sensorless environment are not only astounding but more importantly scientifically proven. In the rest of this article, we are going to reveal what happens to the brain when we regularly float in an isolation tank and we will point out in what way this experience enhances our mental state.
Hello Theta Waves
In his groundbreaking book ‘Mind To Matter’, the renowned author and researcher Dawson Church, Ph.D. describes the five types of brain waves – alpha, beta, gamma, delta, and theta. Each wave is measured on a different frequency by an EEG and corresponds to a certain state of the mind. The scientists believe that beta is associated with the consciousness while delta and theta reflect the subconscious state of the mind.
Gamma is the highest wave frequency. It is associated with the intellectual function of the brain. For example, when monks meditate, they produce high levels of gamma waves.
On one hand, the beta waves are required for learning skills and for linear thinking. On the other hand, though, our brain produces high levels of beta waves primarily when we experience big levels of stress and anxiety. Negative emotions such as fear, guilt, and anger are known to produce high levels of beta waves. The increased frequency of these types of waves makes it hard to think rationally and has a bad effect on the memory.
The alpha waves are present when we experience relaxed alertness in an optimum state. The delta is the lowest frequency and it appears mostly when we sleep deeply.
The brain produces theta waves when we are in a meditative state and during light sleep. This state is easily achieved when floating in a sensory deprivation tank. The body is in a deeply relaxed state but at the same time, the mind is conscious.
Theta is responsible for many beneficial changes in the body. According to various studies, this brain frequency helps the activity of antioxidants which are crucial for neutralizing the free radicals, the molecules that cause aging.
To summarize, when we float our brain enters into a theta state of mind where the deepest relaxation of the body occurs while the mind is peaceful but deeply conscious. In that way, we experience a sensation of detached relaxation.
It Boosts Creativity
This is a direct effect of the theta brain activity that happens when practicing sensory deprivation in an isolation tank. Many pieces of research show that people in such a state have new and creative ideas more often than others. The studies prove that when we think creatively a specific neurological pattern occurs in the brain.
When we float we feel relaxed. When the brain is in this so-called idle state, it is capable of generating new ideas easily and it is in this exact state when we receive new insights about our life, career, etc.
So if you want an increased creativity, then the floatation therapy is your best friend.
It Enhances Concentration
Have you ever had difficulties focusing on a particular task that was on your ‘to do’ list? We all know what it is like to experience poor concentration and inability to avoid distractions. When we are under stress, the body produces high levels of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol. This creates ‘a fog’ and we are often unable to think clearly, to take the right decisions, and to focus.
The good thing is that as mentioned above, the brain can be treated as a muscle and there are some practices with which focus and concentration can be significantly improved. Regularly floating in a sensory deprivation tank and practicing meditation are probably the best ‘exercises’ that can help on the way.
In fact, they both can be combined to produce maximum results. The meditation and the floatation therapy go hand in hand because an isolation tank creates the perfect environment for relaxation and meditation. It is proven that when the mind takes short breaks every day, the brain changes in a way that allows stronger ability to concentrate and it becomes easier to stay away from distractions.
It Improves Emotional Regulation
Do you often get annoyed? Are you easily triggered by what other people have to say? Do you find it difficult not to respond to external irritating factors? If the answer to these questions is yes, then you have to work on your emotional regulation. In short, this neuroscientific term defines the ability to control our emotions.
Like Dawson Church writes “Imagine having a brain with vastly increased ability to master those challenges, preventing them from compromising your happiness”. Sounds legit? Good news coming straight away – the mind can be trained in such a way that the brain can produce more nerve cells to handle the task of emotional regulation.
Guess what? The meditation and the floatation therapy can help with that too. When we detach our mind from the day-to-day activities while effortlessly floating in a sensory deprivation environment, we don’t just feel relaxed. We change. More specifically, the mind changes the brain, thus strengthening our ability to control the various emotions that fight within us. Isn’t that amazing!
It Reduces Anxiety
Now prepare for an alarming statistic. A recent study in the U.S. reveals that 18.1% of the population suffers from anxiety disorders. In other terms, this makes nearly 40 000 000 people. This is a huge and threatening number. One positive thing is that such mental illnesses are highly treatable and there is a lot of information about this issue.
The special kind of relaxed state that the mind achieves when subjected to a frequent sensory deprivation practice can do miracles for healing anxiety and depression. That is why many war veterans around the world find unique peace of mind when regularly floating. In addition, a large number of floatation centers offer exclusive discounts for military veterans.
Getting into the floatation tank offers immediate relief from the pressure that the people suffering from anxiety feel. Various assessments prove that the floatation therapy has quite positive effects on patients with such disorders. The studies continue and show that participants with stress-related disorders find themselves with highly decreased symptoms after 12 float sessions (Bood et.al.,2006).
It is a scientifically proven fact that the mind changes the brain, thus shaping the matter. This happens with regular practice. While floating in a sensory deprivation tank, full of Epsom Salt has huge benefits for the body, it is the mental transformation that astonishes the most.
It is amazing how the floatation therapy turns out to be a powerful wellness tool that can be used to evoke theta brain waves which on its turn can have extremely positive effect in reducing stress and anxiety, controlling emotions, strengthening the focus, and enhancing the creativity.
What is your experience with the floatation therapy? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
References: ‘Mind to Matter: The Astonishing Science of How Your Brain Creates Material Reality’ by Dawson Church, Wikipedia