We’re taught to only go for the sure shots, play it safe, and at all costs do not step outside your comfort zone! I got into floating after seeing a sandwich board on my lunchtime walks, and after some research, I jumped in. That business recently stepped toward inviting sensory deprivation chambers into everyone’s comfort zones by working with health insurers to provide discounts. Maybe doctors will prescribe float sessions like they prescribe chiropractic sessions?
We’re still years away from floating as common practice.
The biggest hindrance is that float tanks are not for everyone. I invited an acquaintance to float once. He anxiously checked his email before the session, was stressed out over a particular email immediately before the session, and he could not disengage from that during or after the session. He, like most, cannot disengage for even five minutes from stimulus. The nothingness of floating is overwhelming if you’re not ready for it.
However, floating might have saved me money, even after hours in the tank.
Maybe about a year after I first started floating, I reached a rough patch at work, and my health deteriorated. Constant headaches. Barrage of medications. Even after having an anxiety attack that appeared to be a stroke, I didn’t immediately snap back, and it took time to return back to a normal state. If, along the way, a doctor had prescribed a float session as part of headache treatment due to stress… it could have been different.
One idea could be bringing float tanks into hospitals.
That option might work well for those who aren’t risk-takers. Or if there are some nearby, when the doctor makes a diagnosis and fills out the prescription, she or he could invite you to go to a local float tank center. Jumping in a hot Epsom salt bath seems like it should be more than just an esoteric form of meditation. It’s helpful for me when I get too stressed, anxious, or my spine acts up more than can be fixed with a stretch and sleep.
Or, we could address the overarching issue: lack of research and education.
There is much more information available online now than 10 years ago, and compared to libraries with only the occasional John C. Lilly book as reference points before that, it’s easier to understand what float tanks are all about before stepping foot inside one. Still, they’re medically mysterious. Floating didn’t induce panic for my psychologically anxious acquaintance, though under certain circumstances, I could see it happening.
That’s where I think floating shouldn’t be universally prescribed.
With more case studies – more positive examples like my own experiences in regard to physical therapy and more negative examples to help refine prescriptions or potential referrals – we could start seeing float tanks being used more as tools rather than just as a hip thing to try once. Float tank centers could be places to fight back against the grit of stressful realities.
It’s possible for your comfort zone to become more comfortable.