Rest and relaxation are essential for optimal wellness, and I’ve recently tuned into the benefits of Floating, also known as “Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy” (REST), which takes place in a light-free, soundproof tank where a person floats in very dense, skin temperature epsom salt water. The first so-called “isolation tank” was used by John C. Lilly in 1954 to test the effects of sensory deprivation. Modern float tanks are now used for meditation and relaxation as well as treatment for stress, anxiety, chronic pain, fibromyalgia and a number of other health challenges. Students, musicians and athletes also use floating as a way to enhance their learning and performance.
Yesterday I floated for the fourth time in as many months at Theta Wave Float Spa in Sebastopol, California. The spa, founded by Andrew Patterson, is named for the Theta brain wave state that occurs during deep meditation and light sleep (experienced briefly just before going to sleep and waking), as well as REM sleep and hypnosis. The expansive Theta state, with brain waves ranging from 4-7 Hz, is useful for changing limiting beliefs and deeply embedded programs like addictions and in re-programming your mind with new, resourceful learning. Some people report feeling profound spiritual connections in Theta, along with increases in creativity and insight.
The beautiful, spacious facility is very well put together with soothing color, warm lighting and interesting art. The entry room is large and open, there are two private rooms with tanks and showers, a treatment room for massage, and a softly lit room for relaxing before or after floating with a cup of tea.
There’s also a hypnogogic light treatment room, where a person can experience altered states beneath a Lucia #3 light while comfortably resting on a futon and listening to music with headphones. I’ve tripped the light fantastic three times, and here’s how I can best describe my experiences – Multicolored Atoms Dancing Fractals on the insides of my eyelids.
My initial float took just a little getting used to, as I had a tiny cut on my arm that stung from the salt, and I bobbed around a little like a cork until I settled into relaxation and stillness. After a while the stinging sensation faded away as I felt my body let go of tension. I had earplugs in for protection from the salt, so my breathing and quiet spa music were the only sounds I heard. I soon felt profoundly relaxed, while random images and memories flashed through my mind’s eye, and I felt a sense of timelessness. At some point I did seem to fall asleep, yet with a sense of boundless consciousness that’s difficult to describe. Every float is unique, and I’ve felt a deeper sense of relaxation and peace each time. I’m already eager for my next trip to Theta Wave Float Spa.
I highly recommend floating and hypnogogic light tripping as ways to safely access altered states of consciousness for healing, stimulating creativity and expanding your inner horizons. An important note about the light trip – it’s not recommended for epileptics. Please leave a comment and share this post with your tribe!