The Science Behind Float Therapy
It's evident from all the testimonials and scientific studies that float therapy can be seriously beneficial to your mental, emotional, and physical health. People who are floating are on average happier after a float, they feel more energized, and they sleep better for days after they've spent just 60 minutes with the lights off in a saltwater bath. So tell us, how on Earth can 60 to 90 minutes every two weeks do ALL that?!
Well there are two different healing powers going on that you first need to understand. You need to know what is going on in your brain when you meditate and you need to know what is going on in your cells, when you saturate them with enough magnesium.
The science behind meditation...
Meditation has been a common medical practice in Asian countries for hundreds of years, but just recently Western cultures have started to realize the benefits of meditation. Up until recently, scientists thought that your grey matter (the cells that your brain is made up of) is stagnant after you turn 25, as it turns out that's not true.
Your brain is actually very malleable--it adapts surprisingly well to the environment that you subject it to; this is called neuroplasticity. If you do a lot of math, you're brain actually grows in the areas that are processing math problems and you get better and better at math.
What this means is that when you meditate and practice mindfulness, concentration, and self-control, you actually see those areas of your brain increase in size and become stronger. The study by Dr. Sarah Lazar below explains how meditation can actually make a 50 year old's brain look like it's 25 when you look at it under brain scans. The result is that you can actually keep your brain from aging at the natural pace and by exercising these areas you actually see improvements in empathy, willpower, and relaxation.
So from a physiological perspective, how does that work? Well, let's take a look at your brain while it's under a brain scan...
Before meditation, your brain is under the influence of stress, which sparks up your Alpha and Beta brain waves, which is associated with your fight or flights system, but after you practice deep meditation, your brain slows down and begins to produce Theta waves, which are associated with calmness and self control.
Theta waves are the brain waves that are produced in the parasympathetic nervous system--the opposite of fight or flight. Our bodies weren't meant to live in the world today. Being in fight or flight keeps us alive by keeping us distracted. If you were in a jungle where half the living things wanted to kill you, being jumpy and full of fear, ready to run, would be a good thing. That's how natural selection made us.
Unfortunately, natural selection doesn't care about our mental and emotional health that much, it just wants us to survive and reproduce, which is why we have to make a conscious effort to calm down, relax, and exercise using our Theta waves.
The science behind Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulfate)...
Magnesium (Mg) isn't just a mineral found in the ground, it's an essential mineral nutrient for life. Every cell type in every organism contains some level of magnesium. It's a mineral essential to DNA synthesis and it's also essential for the activation of ATP (the energy source your cells use). In fact, ATP on it's own doesn't do anything. Your body needs ATP in order to function in any way.
If you have sore muscles and your body needs to intake lots of proteins, you need magnesium and ATP together to deliver the nutrients essential to recovery. Whenever your body is trying to repair damage to any cells it's using up ATP and Mg in equal quantities, so by not having enough Mg floating around in your body, you're going to feel aches and pains longer, and all the work that your Mitochondria are doing to pump out ATP is going to go to waste, because they aren't going to find any Mg to bond to... and if you remember anything from your high school biology class it's that the mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell--which means it's also the powerhouse of your body, so don't starve it of Mg, or else you'll feel it in the levels of energy that you have throughout the day.
Despite it's importance, about half of American and magnesium deficient. Deficiency leads to muscle spasms, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety disorders, migraines, osteoporosis, and stroke.
So what's the solution to the magnesium deficiency? Just take some Magnesium pills, right? Wrong...
Your body's stomach in negatively charged and Magnesium is positively charged, so when you eat magnesium, most of it will pass through you... unless you eat A LOT of Magnesium, but then you'll be in bed all day with stomach cramps and diarrhea.
There are really only two good ways to get enough Magnesium into your body, eat lots of Magnesium rich vegetables OR better yet, absorb it through your skin.
Your skin naturally absorbs Magnesium with 30-40% efficiency (which is much better than other minerals) and when it comes in through your skin, you bypass your acidic stomach and it goes straight into your bloodstream and fills your cells with the vital nutrient that 50% of us aren't getting enough of.
The end result of soaking your body in Magnesium is higher levels of energy, feeling better, sleeping better, and your body's cells working more efficiently.