Above the clamor and bustling traffic on Main Street, rejuvenation lies not too far away from the local favorite Oscar’s. Hard working Staples students, busy businessman and all Westport folk use iFloat’s floatation tanks to reestablish their minds and learn about themselves through a new, safe and easy method of relaxation.
So one may be wondering: What is the history behind the use of floatation therapy? What are floatation tanks and what are the benefits and effects of this therapy?
John Lilly, a physician and philosopher, who earned degrees from the California Institute of Technology, Dartmouth Medical School, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Medical School (nowadays, the school is known as Perelman), was the first to pioneer the concept of sensory deprivation. Sounds painful, doesn’t it? Well, you would be completely wrong. Lilly developed this idea of isolating the body from stimuli to help slow down brain activity. Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta. One may be saying, it is all Greek to me! Don’t worry, it won’t be. Each Greek letter signifies a particular frequency of brainwave activity. From the visual below, we can observe that delta has the lowest frequency and beta the highest. Our brains have the tendency to remain in an activity frequency most closely associated with alpha and beta waves. Stimuli (which is not pronounced as stimul-ae but rather stimul-e) are almost always affecting us. Even when we sleep, we are exposed to the tangerine street lights, we may hear the muffling of SNL on TV, we will feel the drafty winds that cause us to shake, and we may still smell the wooded air of southern New England over a crackling fire. Sounds like a dreamy book. But what if you want a break from the traffic infused in our lives? What if you want to slow down and help dissipate the pain of your weary eyes that wander this computer screen? This is was what Dr. Lilly wanted to do. He tested and tried all sorts of drugs and items and he kept searching for a solution. He shifted from the Ketamine use which helped mitigate his migraines, to LSD and even high doses of acid, all of which he utilized and self-administered while experiencing the wonderful effects of the tank. Of course, Lilly was by most measures insane. But the sensory deprivation chamber (floatation tank) is still considered to be one of the greatest contributions to the development of the mind.
The tank is 7 ft tall and extends to 7 and 1/2 ft in length. There is plenty of room and space to crawl around. When you step in, the water will climb to your patella. You will lie down, your arms will be scattered behind your head, and to your own surprise, you will float (that is a guarantee!). 950 lbs of Magnesium Sulfate (otherwise, known as Epsom salt), a salt that enriches the skin, will keep you floating. With a density greater than that of our bodies, the solution allows your back to lie comfortably on the surface of the solution (which is a combination of Epsom salt and water). The water and salt solution is kept at the temperature of 93.5 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature of human skin. No light, no sound, its all a litote.
Along with the relaxation associated with sensory deprivation, there are numerous physical benefits. Your neck will release tension, your back will feel great, and your mind will be cleared from all the unnecessary stresses and emotions that have haunted you for the past few weeks.
iFloat? In Westport? Really? Wow!
Gracious Hosts: David on left, Andrew on the right
David Conneely and Andrew Shinn were searching for a floatation center to spread the joys of rebooting and reviving the mind to work at optimal efficiency. Andrew was bounded north in Boston, and David was dwelling south of us in NYC. Both men heard that a facility was already built and established here in Westport. They arrived and found the front door open. Apparently, the previous owner had skipped town and banked out on his investment. And so the eager men seized this opportunity to establish one of the largest floatation centers in the country!
Both hosts are lovely! The facility is first class: each shower shines with a little wood log that props up Dr. Bronner’s shampoos (one must shower before and after entering the tank). Scrubadubdub! Tanks are comfortable and for those who are afraid of the dark, you can gently tap a button near the door to turn on a blue light.
After your float, you discuss the experience, how you felt before, how you felt after, physical transformations, mental transformations and so forth with either David or Andrew. One of them will bring you a hot mug of tea with Chinese herbs (yes, really from China!). And you can gaze out into the livelihood of town from the wooden table of the debriefing room while sipping on a light and refreshing tea.
Ever since December of 2011, iFloat has captured a community of happy New Englanders. iFloat has been a great supporter to the people of Newtown. They are offering free floats to anyone who has been deeply affected by the recent tragedy.
The spa is also offering a special discount for teachers and students: If you mention this blog post on your visit to iFloat, and you are a student or teacher, you will save $50 on the 3-1 hour floater’s beginner package. (Quite a snag! That is $100 for 3 float sessions! Please bring student/teacher ID with you!)
Photo Sources: http://www.progolfiq.com/learn-more-about-progolfiq.php
iFloat Spa: 163 Main Street Westport, CT USA 06880 Phone Number: (203)-226-7378 Website: ifloatspa.net
(More videos/photos coming soon)