Float Therapy or Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy (R.E.S.T), is widely known as Flotation, Floating, and is even called Sensory Deprivation.
In 1954 neuropsychologist Dr. John C. Lilly at the National Institute of Mental Health invented the isolation tank as a research instrument. The tank was used to create an environment with the lowest possible level of external stimuli. He accomplished this with an 8x8x8 tank, where an individual immerses him or herself into 10 inches of 93.5-degree water containing 1,000 pounds of pharmaceutical-grade Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate). Devoid of light and sound, the tank allows one to disconnect from the constant bombardment of sensory input. The magnesium rich water provides buoyancy greater than the Dead Sea, effortlessly allowing one to float. Ultimately, float therapy provides relief from the constant physical effects of daily activity we recognize as stress to our bones, muscles, and joints, while simultaneously delivering a large transdermal dose of magnesium, a natural muscle relaxant. Widely researched for both physical and psychological benefits, the floatation tank has experienced an evolutionary development, resulting in what is currently used to study Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy or R.E.S.T., a term coined by Dr. Peter Suedfeld in the 1970’s and is now commonly used in reference to floatation therapy.
Today’s float tanks allow you to comfortably immerse in 10 inches of water, or roughly 250 gallons. With about 1,000 pounds of Epson Salt, the water is so dense, you literally can’t help but float. The magnesium enriched water is warmed to roughly body temperature, which helps to release tension from your muscles and provide a faster recovery from working out or simple aches and pains. These therapeutic benefits continue to be broadly recognized and float therapy is increasingly used by many top athletes, artists and multidisciplinary practitioners.