Floating and meditation are natural complements. Both involve finding a place of quiet within your own mind, and both have been linked to incredible benefits like lowering stress and anxiety. Floating can act as “training wheels” for newcomers to meditation—and can help take even experienced meditation practitioners to new levels of calm and peace.
What is Meditation?
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years in many different forms, and can have different meaning in different context. Most broadly, though, meditation involves training one’s mind to find peace and calm, to distinguish between one’s thoughts and one’s inner self, and to sit quietly without distraction or worry. Mindfulness meditation, which has grown immensely in popularity in the Western world over the last decade, involves ongoing self-awareness of thought processes and bodily states.
Benefits of Meditation
Much like floatation therapy, study after study has shown that meditation brings a wide range of mental and physical benefits to its practitioners. One meta-analysis of 47 prior studies found that participating in mindfulness meditation programs lessened anxiety, depression, and pain(1).
Meditation and floatation therapy share many benefits. In addition to reducing stress, like floating, meditation also has been shown to help improve learning and memory(2) and help individuals quit smoking(4). Since meditation is relatively affordable and easy to practice, it’s also been adopted by the corporate world as a way to improve employee performance and even reduce turnover(4).
How Floating Enhances Meditation
Floating and meditation likely share many of the same benefits because they share the same purpose: removing distraction while improving awareness of self.
It stands to reason that floating can enhance meditation so greatly because it acts as an aid to removing distractions. In the float tank, you are literally shut off from the outside world; noise doesn’t reach you, and you can’t reach your smartphone!
That’s why floating can be so beneficial to newcomers to meditation, or to individuals who have a hard time finding inner calm in a busy world. The float tank really does make it easier to leave the noise and distractions of the outside world behind, in a way that sitting in even the quietest room simply can’t replicate.
Additionally, floating often helps individuals connect with their bodily rhythms in new and profound ways, which is also a key component of some forms of meditation. Many floaters have reported hearing their heartbeats more clearly, or being aware of their breathing in ways that they’ve never experienced outside the float tank.
Finally, for those who suffer from muscle tension or aching joints (making sitting still painful or difficult), the weightless sensation of the float tank can make meditation much more comfortable.
Firsthand Testimonials on Floating & Meditation
Many firsthand accounts describe the way floating can supplement meditation. One writer refers to floating as “microwave meditation”, explaining “I’ve experienced a similar state of mind after the first couple of days of a silent meditation retreat. But the effect is much more dramatic, as I’ve only spent an hour in the tank.”
Our own guests have reported being “able to get into a meditative state much easier” and found our float tanks to be a “great place to meditate, to discover your deep thoughts and feelings”.
Curious about how floating could affect your experience of meditation? Come in and give it a try—we offer a special discount for first-time floaters. If you find your time in the float tank worthwhile, we offer a range of monthly and annual memberships to make it easy to incorporate floating into your regular meditation practice.
1. Meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Madhav Goyal, Sonal Singh, Erica M. S. Sibinga, Neda F. Gould, Anastasia Rowland-Seymour, et. al. JAMA Internal Medicine, March 2014.
2. Mindfulness training improves working memory capacity and GRE performance while reducing mind wandering. Michael D. Mrazek, Michael S. Franklin, Dawa Tarchin Phillips, Benjamin Baird, Jonathan W. Schooler. Psychological Science.
3. Brief meditation training induces smoking reduction. Yi-Yuan Tanga, Rongxiang Tangb, Michael I. Posnerc. PNAS, August 2013
4. Examining workplace mindfulness and its relations to job performance and turnover intention. Erik Dane, Bradley J. Brummel. Human Relations, January 2014