Floating Literature

The Modern-Day Float TankMen's Journal

Think of a flotation tank, and you'll likely picture the scenario in 'Altered States.' In the 1980 Ken Russell film based on rebel physician and neuropsychologist John C. Lilly's research into isolation tanks in the fifties and sixties, actor William Hurt devolves into a proto-physical, primordial mass of consciousness, among other extreme results (Lilly famously performed his experiments while under the influence of psychoactive drugs). Fifty years later, some things have changed. For one thing, the language. Misperceptions surrounding the terms sensory deprivation and isolation have led to rebranding the tanks as a type of REST ("restricted environment stimulation technique"), or the even gentler idea of "floating." Portland, Oregon, an emerging capital of REST's current iteration, hosted the annual Float Conference of research presentations and workshops this past August, and the city's Float On center is the largest in the U.S., booking a thousand floats a month in its six tanks.

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Float Hopes %nbsp The Strange New Science of Floating Time Magazine

They started late one night, the tremors that shook Michael Harding’s whole body when he lay down to sleep. “A bit weird,” thought Harding, then a 23-year-old Australian soldier stationed in Afghanistan. Just days before, he’d been in an hours-long siege in which his second-in-command was shot and killed. Harding soon started shaking so much that he had to ask a friend to light his cigarettes. He couldn’t drink water from a bottle without pouring it down his shirt, and in the mess hall, his twitches got so spastic that he’d sometimes flip his tray.

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Seeking serenity? Flotation therapy offers an inexpensive way to achieve it.Washington Post

This summer, I spent an hour floating in a 4-by-8 isolation tank filled with tepid salt water in a basement in Manassas. No, this wasn’t a “Silence of the Lambs” scenario. It was an exercise meant to bolster my sanity, not endanger it. Floating in a tank of skin-temperature water saltier than the Dead Sea is said to induce an ethereal, meditative state — one that doesn’t necessitate furtive handoffs on street corners or haggling with sketchy dudes who listen to Grateful Dead bootlegs.

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Floatation in sports sciencei-sopod

We are often visited at our floatation centre by professional sportsmen and women who use the tanks for maximisation of training routines and for accelerated recovery from injuries and over training. This is a relatively new innovation in floatation therapy and new data is being produced all the time, although the Australian Institute of Sports regard the use of the float tank as an integral part of the training regime for their Olympic athletes. As we know, when it comes to sports, the Australians usually know what they’re talking about.

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