Float tanks gain popularity as alternative medicine

Sensory deprivation tanks, more commonly known as “float tanks,” offer alternative approaches to improve mental and physical health.

Float tanks are light less, soundproof tanks filled with Epsom salt water.

The water is set at skin temperature and the individual can float effortlessly.

There are two float tank therapy locations near FGCU, The Float & Flourish Center in Bonita Springs and Cloud9 Float and Spa.

The Float & Flourish Center serves as almost a modernized day spa, with services including float therapy, oxygen bar and infrared sauna therapy. Cloud9 Float and Spa is located in Naples and offers the same experience.

According to the Journal of Psychology and Health, sensory deprivation is the purposeful removal of stimuli to one or more of the human senses.

This can lead to a relaxed state, even falling into a state of meditation.

This medical technique is called Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy.

Developed in the 1950s by neuropsychiatrist John C. Lily, Float Tanks would see its first surge in popularity in the 1980’s with the release of the film “Altered States.”

According to a 1981 New York Times article, about $4 million in sales were made in 1981.

However, with the fear and rise of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, the popularity dimmed.

A study done by the European Journal of Integrative Medicine saw patients show improvements in physiological changes, alleviation of medical conditions, relaxation, personal growth and enhancement and an altered state of consciousness.

According to the Journal of Psychology and Health, a study showed to improve cortisol levels and lowered blood pressure.

“Floatation therapy soothes muscle pain, cleanses pores and detoxifies the skin,” said Guillermo Fernandez, owner of the Float & Flourish Center in Bonita Springs. “It helps everyone. From high level athletes, to the everyday person with no athletic experience. Float tanks are one of the most effective stress-management techniques available.”

Current and former high-level athletes have been known to use float tanks to aid in athletic performance.

Carl Lewis used float tanks to help him train for his long jump in the 1988 Olympics.

Golden State Warriors basketball player, Steph Curry said in an interview with CNN that he uses float tanks every two weeks.