The Science Behind Floatation Therapy: How Does It Work?

We dive into the most common question we get here at Time To Float, let us know if this helps?

Connection between floatation therapy and the brain.

Floatation therapy involves lying in a sensory deprivation tank filled with saltwater, allowing you to float effortlessly.

This environment reduces sensory input, including light, sound, and touch, providing a unique opportunity for the brain to enter a state of deep relaxation. The absence of external stimuli allows the brain to shift into a more introspective and meditative state.

Reduced vision of light

By reducing the amount of light in the pod, the brain will have chance to stop using that sensory input which will aid in the process of relaxation.

Achieving a quiet enviroment

Being in a quiet pod will stop any distractions your brain is contending with, thus making you more calmer.

No need to touch

Our sensory privation tanks enables you to effortlessly float in the water without having to hold your self up.

Do you need to escape the struggles of life?

Efficiency of our float tanks for relaxation

Floatation therapy has been found to be more efficient for relaxation compared to sleeping due to several factors. Firstly, the sensory deprivation tank creates an environment free from distractions, allowing the mind and body to unwind completely.

Secondly, the buoyancy provided by the saltwater eliminates the need for muscular effort, promoting physical relaxation. Lastly, the theta state induced during floating (more on this below) facilitates deep relaxation and stress reduction, which may not always be achieved during sleep.

Sensory Deprivation

Sensory Deprivation: One of the key aspects of floatation therapy is the sensory deprivation tank itself.

Inside the tank, external stimuli such as light, sound, and tactile sensations are greatly reduced or eliminated altogether.

This absence of sensory input allows the mind to detach from the external world and enter a state of deep relaxation. Unlike during sleep, where external stimuli can still penetrate our consciousness to varying degrees, floatation therapy provides a controlled environment that minimises distractions, allowing for a more profound relaxation experience.

Buoyancy & Muscular Relaxtion

Buoyancy and Muscular Relaxation: The buoyancy provided by the saltwater in the tank is another factor contributing to the efficiency of floatation therapy for relaxation.

When you float effortlessly on the surface of the water, your muscles no longer need to support your body weight.

This release of muscular tension promotes physical relaxation, as the body can fully let go of any residual tension or stress. In contrast, even during sleep, some degree of muscular tension may remain as the body unconsciously adjusts to different sleeping positions or responds to environmental stimuli.

Induction of Theta State

The theta state, characterised by slow brainwave patterns, is often associated with deep relaxation, creativity, and meditation.

The sensory deprivation and physical relaxation combine to facilitate the induction of the theta state more readily than during sleep.

While certain stages of sleep, such as REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, are also associated with theta brainwaves, achieving and maintaining the theta state during sleep can be variable.

The controlled environment of the floatation tank encourages the brain to enter and sustain the theta state more consistently.

Treat yourself to an hour of emptying your mind

Brain state during floating

When floating, the brain often enters a state known as the theta state. Theta brainwaves are associated with deep relaxation, meditation, and creativity. This state is characterised by slow, rhythmic patterns and is often experienced during deep meditation, REM sleep, and hypnosis. In the theta state, the brain becomes highly receptive to suggestion and imagery, facilitating mental clarity and emotional healing.

Deep Relaxation

Theta brainwaves, typically ranging from 4 to 8 cycles per second, signify a deeply relaxed state of mind. When the brain enters the theta frequency range during floatation therapy, it signals a departure from the hustle and bustle of daily life into a tranquil oasis of calm. In this state, muscle tension dissipates, breathing slows, and the mind unravels its knots of stress, allowing for a profound sense of ease and tranquility to permeate both body and mind.


Theta brainwaves are closely associated with meditative states of consciousness. During deep meditation, practitioners often experience a shift into the theta frequency range, characterised by a sense of spacious awareness and profound inner stillness. Similarly, during floatation therapy, the theta state invites participants to journey inward, exploring the depths of their inner landscape with clarity and presence. In this state, the mind transcends the chatter of everyday thoughts, settling into a serene sanctuary of mindful awareness.

Enhanced Creativity 

The theta state is renowned for its role in fostering creativity and inspiration. As the brain relinquishes its grip on rigid thinking patterns and opens itself to the vast expanse of possibility, creative insights and innovative ideas effortlessly flow into awareness. Floatation therapy provides an ideal environment for tapping into this wellspring of creativity, as the sensory deprivation and deep relaxation create fertile ground for the seeds of imagination to take root and flourish.

Receptive to suggestion 

In the theta state, the boundaries between the conscious and subconscious mind blur, rendering the psyche highly receptive to suggestion and imagery. This heightened suggestibility can be harnessed for therapeutic purposes, facilitating mental clarity, emotional healing, and personal transformation. Through guided visualisation, positive affirmations, or self-reflection, individuals can leverage the power of the theta state to reprogram limiting beliefs, release emotional blockages, and cultivate a greater sense of wholeness and well-being.

Integration and healing

The theta state serves as a gateway to the subconscious mind, where deeply rooted memories, emotions, and patterns reside. By entering this state during floatation therapy, individuals can access and process these inner landscapes with compassion and insight, fostering profound healing and integration on both psychological and emotional levels. Whether seeking resolution for past traumas, clarity on life’s purpose, or simply a respite from the demands of daily life, the theta state offers a sanctuary for self-discovery and transformation.

Impact on cognitive function 

The utilisation of a sensory deprivation tank, often referred to as floatation therapy, holds numerous advantages for cognitive function, encompassing various aspects of mental well-being and performance:

Stress, Anxiety, and Depression Reduction: Floatation therapy offers a refuge from the stressors of daily life, providing a sanctuary where individuals can unwind and recalibrate their mental state. The deep relaxation induced by floatation helps to mitigate the physiological and psychological manifestations of stress, anxiety, and depression. By promoting the release of tension and fostering a sense of tranquility, floatation therapy creates an environment conducive to mental rejuvenation and emotional balance, thereby enhancing cognitive function.

Theta State and Cognitive Enhancement: One of the hallmark features of floatation therapy is the induction of the theta state, characterised by slow brainwave activity associated with deep relaxation and heightened mental receptivity. In this state, individuals often experience a surge in creativity, problem-solving abilities, and learning potential. The theta state unlocks the door to innovative thinking and lateral problem-solving, enabling individuals to approach challenges with fresh perspectives and heightened cognitive flexibility. Moreover, the enhanced learning and memory retention observed during floatation therapy can be attributed to the brain’s heightened state of receptivity to new information and its capacity for consolidation and integration.

Neurotransmitter Regulation and Mood Enhancement: The sensory deprivation aspect of floatation therapy triggers a cascade of neuro-chemical changes within the brain, including the release of endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin—neurotransmitters associated with mood regulation and emotional well-being. By stimulating the production and release of these feel-good neurotransmitters, floatation therapy fosters a sense of euphoria, relaxation, and contentment, which in turn bolsters cognitive function. These neuro-chemical changes not only alleviate symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression but also enhance cognitive performance by optimising neurotransmitter balance and neural signalling pathways.

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