FLOAT for Health, Happiness and Harmony
Imagine yourself suspended weightlessly in space. Your mind is clear. It is now, at this very moment, that the universe has slowed down, allowing you to capture your inner joy and undiscovered creativity.
You are floating. Literally.
Green Tara Float Center is nestled in the trendy neighborhood of North Park, San Diego. With a big smile, Dave Stuedemann, certified Holistic Health Practitioner and owner of this comfy nook, sat down with me and introduced the amazing and mesmerizing world of float therapy.
In 1954, inventor John Lilly explored the realm of human consciousness in what he called a “sensory deprivation tank.” The first tank was upright, uncomfortable, and it forced patients to use a breathing apparatus as they were completely submerged in water.
Evolving into what looks like a small car, the Samadhi tank was developed in the 1970s by Glenn and Lee Perry. Filled with a water and Epsom salt solution, the tank allows for buoyancy and effortless floating, much like the salty waters of the Dead Sea. One simply enters the tank and is pushed to the top by the water, which is a soothing 94 degrees Fahrenheit.
Dave Stuedemann disagrees that floating is “sensory deprivation.” Instead, he prefers to call it “stimulus reduction.” Rather than depriving our senses, floating reduces the sensory overload that comes with modern day living.
“We are so flooded with information from external stimuli that we have no chance to just relax,” says Stuedemann. “So if you remove all that, [as well as] the effect of gravity, you are left with only your pure essence.”
Inside the tank is total darkness. You can choose to float in silent suspension, or “actively float” by playing music, mantras and hypnotic CDs of your choice to help aid the meditative process. Within seconds, your senses relax and muscle tensions lessen. Floating can also create a bridge between the right and left hemispheres of the brain, leading to a higher consciousness, or a serene, dreamlike state.
“My first time floating was the closest thing I ever felt to actually connecting with my true self,” describes Stuedemann. “To me it’s the equivalent of coming home to myself.”
Floating has healing effects on physical, mental and spiritual levels. Physically, floating relieves chronic pain by stimulating the brain to secrete large amounts of endorphins, our natural pain killers.
The Epsom salt solution also works to restore and regenerate the body through its two components, magnesium and sulfate. Magnesium, the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, is necessary for digestion, energy production and creation of new cells while assisting in heart, kidney and brain functions. Many people do not get enough magnesium on a daily basis, and even deplete it through the intake of caffeine, sugar and alcohol, or diets laden with carbohydrates, sodium and calcium. Sulfate is essential for protein formation, absorption of nutrients, digestive enzymes, and flushing toxins out of the body. It is not easily absorbed by organs, but it can be absorbed through the skin. This is good news for floaters. Tanks contain 10 inches of water saturated with 800 pounds of healing Epsom salt, ensuring beneficial amounts of both minerals.
The effects go beyond the body. Floatation as a meditative and stress-relieving therapy has become increasing popular.
“Active floating helps you to attain certain brainwaves, like theta or gamma waves, which are only attained through years of meditation and dreaming,” Stuedemann says. “You can [enter these levels] in less time in a floatation tank—it’s like a shortcut to the same states of mind that seasoned yogis get.”
Stuedemann believes hypnotic CDs are even more effective while floating. For example, he explains, “If you want to lose weight, you can put in a hypno-CD for losing weight while you’re floating and it will go even deeper into the psyche.”
A positive mental state is a key factor to a healthy lifestyle. Eating right and exercising regularly will have no influence on our overall health and quality of life if the mind is not in the right place. From money troubles to traffic jams, we are constantly hammering our minds with negativity, stress and distractions that take away from the joy for life that lies within.
Consistent meditative floating is a mental-wellness exercise that rejuvenates our best characteristics, peace of mind and positive energy.
Stuedemann points out, “Floating makes me calmer. I deal with people better and I’m a lot less likely to get upset. I’m just more in the flow of what’s going on. I’m able to get to the heart of the matter right away, rather than keep things locked inside. I can see through the conflict that might happen and go to the next step to prevent it from ever happening. I’m healthy!” he exclaims.
Being mentally healthy can also make your resolve stronger and your dedication permanent toward living right.
“Floating helps you overcome bad habits like overeating, drug use or alcohol abuse. It seems like it just makes you more comfortable with the way you are. You then don’t have to do anything to feel better because you already feel good. You don’t have to overeat to feel better; you don’t have to do drugs or alcohol to feel better. It’s because you’re finding the root of the matter.”
Being enclosed in that dark space, suspended weightlessly and completely in tune with the universe and the self will help you clear your mind and move forward in your own spiritual evolution.
“If you study psychology at all, there are different levels of gratification in life. If you’re at a base level, you’re just thinking about survival, food shelter, and sex. But once you go up higher and higher and obtain self-realization, you find yourself and why you’re really here. Floating can do that for you.”
Opening up a float center was not a financial venture for Stuedemann. After experiencing the numerous benefits of floating, he decided that he wanted to share his happiness with the world. For him, it’s not about making money—it’s about making progress.
“I’m trying to raise the consciousness level of everyone. I just feel like everything is so rushed and we’re trying to get something from somebody all the time. I think we really need to take stock in what’s important in our lives. We need to start looking out for each other and start caring about each other because that’s the only way we’re going to improve the quality of our lives.”
Raising everyone’s consciousness begins with each individual. It’s time we turn off the TV, forget about the bills for a little while, and just let our bodies, minds and spirits float serenely into health, happiness and harmony.
For more information on float therapy, visit www.greentarafloatcenter.com, call 619.683.3817, or drop by 3069 Lincoln Avenue, San Diego, CA, 92104.