FLOATING FOR CREATIVITY
💦 People choose floatation therapy for countless reasons. It’s been shown to reduce stress, boost the mood, enhance sleep, and relieve pain. But, can the simple act of floating actually get your creativity flowing? In short – yes. We know that certain conditions spark creativity, like isolation or more specifically sensory reduction as experienced in a float tank.
Floatation Therapy has been helping artists and creatives for decades. In the float tank, all sensory information is eliminated. There’s nothing to see, nothing to hear, nothing to feel – the water temperature is matched to body temperature – nothing to taste and nothing to smell. This reduces the body to give up all sensations and allows our nervous systems to surrender to calm and relaxation, leaving the mind wide open for creativity to flourish.
How does it work?
Once your body starts to relax, it naturally releases less cortisol, the main hormone related to stress and adrenaline. Instead of cortisol your body releases elevated levels of dopamine and endorphins, the neurotransmitters of happiness. Without having to deal with gravity your muscles, joints and bones get a break allowing your spine to lengthen and decompress, alleviating chronic pain. In the tank, in stillness, you are able to expand your learning potential, reasoning capacity and speed of thought.
Floating takes your brain from highly conscious alpha and beta waves to theta waves – the kind you would normally have right before falling asleep and just after waking up. One of the most beneficial brain wave ranges is the Theta wave range. We typically only experience these theta waves for a few minutes at a time, but in a float tank the theta state can last for several minutes. We can use this state for a deeper level of insight, intelligence & creativity. We now know that brain performance is enhanced in this sensory deprivation state which has been likened to deep states of meditation and lends itself to whole brain synchronization, where the left and right hemispheres of the brain are working together in a state of coherence. In our float tanks you can also enjoy the multi-layered patterns of Hemi-Sync® sound frequencies during your float session to enhance this state.
Studies Show Sensory Deprivation Boosts Creativity
In 1987, the University of British Columbia performed a research study on psychology professors who self-reported their own creativity. The tests were performed before and after floating, and they rated their ideas in a blind sampling 6 months later. The study found that professors came up with more ideas after floating, and that those ideas were generally more creative (Suedfeld, P., 1987).
Researchers at the University of Vermont used the standardized Guilford score to measure potential correlation between sensory deprivation and creativity, using a similar method to the University of British Columbia study. They too found that participants in the floatation tank group experienced enhanced creativity in relation to the control group.
Studies were done at the Swedish Research Center in 2001, showing a marked change in post-float brains in the areas of consciousness, cognition, imagination, and personality (Norlander, T., Kjellgren, A., & Archer, T., 2001). These were exciting findings that corroborated the earlier study results.
In 2011, a study looking into the effects of flotation REST on jazz improvisation was conducted by Drs. Vartanian and Suedfeld. They found, in a controlled double blind study on music students, that technical skill in jazz improvisation showed a significant improvement in post-float versus pre-float environments (Vartanian,Oshin & Suedfeld, Peter, 2011).
In addition to studies done on enhanced creativity, there have been many personal experiences from clients who use the practice to help with their creative process. Many have used it to overcome writer’s block, to find inspiration, or work through a difficult aspect to their work. Many people use floatation to explore their deeper self and creative being.
Tips to enhance your creativity:
Float regularly – The effects of Floating is cumulative the more time you spend in the tank the more benefit you get. Floating is also a learned skill, entering the Theta State is easier to do in the tank but does take some practice to get right.
Be prepared – If you are experiencing a creative block go into the tank with a few questions and let your inner creative provide the answers.
Let go – Let the floating experience take you where you need to go. The less barriers you put up the better your experience will be.
Ready to give floating a try? Book a Float Session! 💦