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Rest House Float Centre
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Welcome to Rest House
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Sensory Restriction – Exploring Alternate States of Being

The deliberate reduction or removal of stimuli from one or more of the senses places a person in a state of Sensory Deprivation. The ‘float tank’ is designed to do just that. Also known as REST, an acronym for Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique, ‘floating’ is an activity which involves remaining suspended in a warm Epsom salt water solution, in an environment free from light, sound, tactile sensations, other people, and movement. It is where your physical self aligns with a transcendental reality...

Read more at: http://www.resthouse.com.au/sensory-restriction-exploring-alternate-states-of-being/
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The evolution of modern floatation tanks

Floatation began from a science experiment, in 1954 at the National Institute of Mental Health in Maryland, USA. Dr John C Lilly devised an experiment to test the effects of total sensory deprivation upon the brain. At the time there were many theories of what would happen to the brain under no external stimulation, the most popular theory of which was a belief that the brain would simply “go to sleep” or shut down entirely.

Dr Lilly’s experiments took place in a large single person above ground pool, just high enough so that an individual could float by curling their legs towards their head, leaving their back floating on top of the water. These early tanks had a completely covered hood over the face, with an external air supply so that an individual could breathe with their head completely submerged.

Many participants reported fear of drowning, even though it was fairly safe. The total enclosure of the face and feeling of water pressure around the head tended to promote an effect of fear. However, over subsequent sessions, many people were able to get over this fear to produce some meaningful test results. The results showed the brain was an independent organ, capable of existing on its own, and was not totally reliant upon external stimulation to exist and function.

The professional term for this study was coined “Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique” abbreviated to REST.

Following his research into total sensory deprivation, Dr Lilly went on to other areas of study. His next main project was the ability for communication between humans and dolphins, followed by various self-interest studies using and documenting the effects of hallucinogenic drugs.

Further research into sensory deprivation continued, however this was using a different technique. Instead of a tank, a person would lay on a bed in a sensory deprived room, and left for varying periods of time. This type of study was coined ‘dry-REST’, whereas Dr Lilly’s study type became known as floatation-REST.

No further research was undertaken on floatation-REST until 1970, when Dr Lilly was drawn back to the idea of floatation and partook in a commercialised venture, to bring floatation-REST to the masses. Dr Lilly partnered with Glenn Perry from a newly created company which would later be known as Samadhi Tank Co. Inc.

Perry and Dr Lilly first re-created the original tank Lilly has used in his 1950's experiments, however as Perry was a very thin man, the previous technique of curling one’s body did not allow him to float. Dr Lilly recommended an addition of 3% sea salt to aid floatation. Perry increased this to 10% and then invited Dr Lilly to try the tank. Following this, Lilly recommended adding salt to saturation point (50% salt to 50% water) so that a person would be able to float effortlessly. To avoid skin reactions from floating for prolonged periods in sea salt, Dr Lilly recommended switching from Sodium Chloride (sea salt) to Magnesium Sulphate (Epsom salt).

From this, the concept of the enclosed floatation tank began to take shape, where the participant would be cut off from sensory stimulation by entering the tank itself and floating on one’s back, rather than under the water floatation requiring externally supplied air.

Samadhi released their first commercial float tank in 1975, and this set the standard for all floatation tanks to come. The method of a small enclosed tank, effortless floating on one’s back, with the ability to breathe freely and without requiring any special clothing or breathing apparatus, provided a superior experience to the 1950's tanks.

Since 1975, other manufacturing companies have created their own styles of floatation tank. They all retain the same basic floatation method created during the early 1970's, which can be summarised as a 1000 litre tank, made up of a 50% water and 50% Epsom salt solution, heated to the temperature of the human body (35.5c), in an enclosed tank which blocks both external light and sound.

At Rest House, we solely use the Dreampod V2 from Dream Water Float Co in Singapore. The main benefits of this tank include the ease of entry / exit as it is designed in a pod shape rather than a boxed style, the pod also has internal lights which can be turned on and off, the unique shape is also much better at blocking external noise and minimising internal noise, along with being much easier to float in due to the design, which promotes floating direction towards the centre.

From the business point of view, the Dreampod V2 also has advanced software control, which has benefits such as automated filtration between sessions, session timing control with in tank music options, these features eliminate the need for staff to interrupt your session at any time, providing you with complete privacy before, during and after your float session.

For more information about floatation, or to book a floatation session at our Melbourne float centre (in Hampton East), please visit our website at: www.resthouse.com.au
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Floatation-REST Scientific Studies: Floatation therapy for stress and fatigue management

In this article, we summarise and explain the outcome of a recent scientific study into floatation therapy, titled “Beneficial effects of treatment with sensory isolation in flotation-tank as a preventive health-care intervention - a randomized controlled pilot trial.”

This scientific study, undertaken by Anette Kjellgren and Jessica Westman, was to research preventative health measures. Specifically, factors which may promote the reduction or prevention of work related stress.

Work related stress is known to be a significant factor in the reduction of productivity in a workplace. Stress is a highly significant contributor to workplace sick-leave, and known to lead some individuals to develop psychiatric disorders.

For overall health of both employees and businesses, finding a method to lower or eliminate workplace stress is of benefit to both employees, businesses and the economy.

In combination with stress, occupationally induced fatigue is another significant factor which increases the effects of overall stress in the workplace. Each tend to go hand-in-hand, so without the ability for rest and relaxation, the majority of employees will end up with an increasing level of both fatigue and stress, potentially leading to health problems.

The implementation of effective methods of relaxation can lead to healthier staff, relieve the potentially heavy economic burden on both staff and employers from the effects of employee burnout, and reduce the number of sick-leave days employees take each year.

With past floatation studies showing benefits in various areas of mental health, the study into floatation therapy for working professionals was conceived.

The main outcome of the study measured any mental changes floatation induced within individuals participating full-time in the work force, and ultimately affect confidence in whether floatation therapy is a viable activity to shift the mind away from negative mental states (stress and fatigue) for working individuals.

Floatation therapy has already been proven to enhance what is known as the relaxation response. This is a natural response attainable by entering a state of deep relaxation, and is the total opposite to the stress and anxiety response, known as “fight or flight”.

To enter the relaxation response, the parasympathetic nervous system lowers heart rate and blood pressure, along with reducing the frequency of respiration. A critical factor in producing the relaxation response in individuals experiencing increased stress and fatigue, is a reduced level of sensory input and bodily movements. While many people find it difficult to engage in activities which elicit the relaxation response (such as meditation and yoga), one much easier and more effective way to promote this effect is via floatation tank sessions.

For this study, 65 participants comprised of 14 men and 51 women, were recruited from three companies where the average age of each participant was 47.95 years. From this group, 37 individuals were assigned to receive floatation-REST (floatation therapy), and 28 individuals were placed on a waiting list, where they would later be tested in the same manner as floatation participants, without having received the treatment.

The study was conducted over seven weeks, with each person in the floatation group receiving a total of 12 45-minute floatation tank sessions. Measurements were taken before the start of the study and after seven weeks for both groups. Once the results were collated, the 'wait-list' group were given the chance to partake in the 12 x 45 minute sessions.

Specific areas of study were focused upon each participant’s response to feelings and experiences of various negative emotions, such as depression, stress, anxiety, energy, pain, sleep quality and optimism.

The results of the study showed no significant changes for the control group (those on the wait-list), however significant positive changes were observed within the participants who received floatation therapy.

The floatation group showed significantly lower stress, anxiety and depression, with higher levels of optimism and better sleep quality. Floatation participants who had experienced regular or constant pain before taking part in the study reported that following the sessions, their maximum experienced pain levels had decreased significantly.

A number of the floatation participants reported experiencing more mindfulness in their daily lives. Upon further study it was found that the level of increased mindfulness in daily life was directly relevant to the level of altered states of consciousness they experienced while inside the tank.

While the effects of regular floatation on reduction in sick leave and work related stress has not been clinically evaluated, this study clearly shows beneficial results for the employees who underwent floatation, experiencing an overall increase in relaxation response and significant decreases in experienced levels of stress and anxiety.


Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc4219027/
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