Friday, May 30, 2014

Leave me alone.  Just leave me alone and let me think.  How many times have you told that to   someone or even said it to yourself?  We have so much on our mind one can be so stressed that sometimes we need a break from everything.  It can be so bad we can almost wish to be back in the quiet waters of our mother’s womb. Really?   There is a guy who   opened a business offering something similar to that and believes that real solitude and quiet time is the key to better health and   the lack of mental depression. 

They call it an isolation tank where many of your problems can be lifted.  If life seems more stressful and hectic than ever and you feel like your brain is constantly spinning, the tank is the opportunity for stillness and rest and privacy.  They call it the sensory deprivation business.  I thought I heard of everything but who am I to judge anything?  There is   a business called Float Seattle where you get a chance to get away from it all by going nowhere but floating in a closed box.  Sometimes I wish I could put some people I know in a closed box floating down a river but   that is another   issue in my wicked warped fantasies. Stop do not call the authorities, I’m just joking.

The goal is to float in a box filled with 10 inches of water loaded with 1000 pounds of Epsom salt.  There is no light and no sound and no distractions.  All you do is float and eventually enter a state of deep meditation and even hallucinate.  It is all a void, sensory deprivation in the quest to provide the perfect outlet to unplug all that you are searching for all day.  Imagine purposely   being unplugged to all devices?  No phones and computers.  Hey finish reading this before you run into a tank somewhere.

For many people it is a big deal having no access to the phone for an hour.  People who habitually meditate find quietly floating in water taking relaxation to the next step.   I suppose the only way to truly   experience   the    sensation is to try it for yourself.  I imagine that I would find it way to claustrophobic   and would get out of there fast.  However many people find the water to be quite warm and the circulating jets keep the water moving.

The idea of sensory deprivation tanks and flooding is not new.  Neuroscientist John Lilly first developed   them in the 1950s to study the effects of total isolation on the brain.  An important book on this subject is called The Deep Self which is the book that launched the theory of altered states through tank isolation.  Back then they used drugs; a practice made famous and terrifying in the 1980 science fiction movie called Altered States starring William Hurt as a scientist who regresses to a murderous proto human   while using a tank.  Floating has turned up elsewhere from the   recent   science fiction TV show called Fringe to the Simpson's where even Lisa and Homer took a   dip in the tank.

Scientists first thought that the brain would shut down without incessant input but what researchers found is just the opposite.  It enters a state similar to meditation but by eliminating gravity through floating, the brain reacts even deeper.  Overall you experience a better mood, less pain, less depression.  There are physical therapists that offer flotation as part of their services. DR. Robert Schreyer the Co-Founder of Aspire the Center for Health &  Wellness  noticed that not only did they come out of a floating session feeling physically relaxed but mentally and cognitively relaxed.  Then  should we throw out all our   booze, cigarettes   and pot that we used to use as an excuse for relaxation?  At least it is a healthier  way to relax.

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