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Weight loss using a floatation tank

The floatation tank is the most effective tool for self discovery, self analysis, reprogramming the mind thought affirmations, self-hypnosis and visualisation and meditation techniques.

Why does the tank make these things so much easier to do?

It has to do with how the brain works, the pleasure centres in the brain, our ability to truly relax, our ability to bypass the left (logic) brain and engage the right (visual and creative) brain, our bodies ability to produce its own pharmacy of chemicals and hormones. How it all works on a scientific level follows, but the bottom line is that floatation is a tried and tested arena for enhancing our ability to discover and master ourselves.

There are a lot of ways to go about losing weight. The bottom line is when you put in less energy then you use up you will shed those unwanted kg’s. While the formula is easy, in practice we find it rather less so. That is because there are reasons that we eat as we do and put on weight. Reasons that are as individual to us as our own personalities. Reasons that we do not necessarily consciously recognise or accept. We behave out of habit, not thinking about why or how we do things – that is one of the strength of our bodies. Can you imagine having to think about how to drive every time you get into a car the way you had to when you were learning to drive originally? Or having to use the same concentration in tying your shoelaces that you learned it with the first time?

We learn how to do thinks without thinking because it makes our lives a whole lot easier. We also learn habitual ways of thinking (we may call them beliefs and attitudes – they are habits of the mind). Habitual ways of thinking and doing works well for us every day, but it is when these habits produce undesirable results that we need to reanalyse and reprogram them. 

The first step is to analyse and consciously evaluate the programming that we are living with every day.

 Then we need to go about reprogramming our minds. There are several different ways of reprogramming to work with from visualisation and affirmations to self-hypnosis and subliminal work.

 This entire process of analysis to reprogramming is facilitated by floating in a floatation tank. In the floatation tank without having to have had years of meditation or visualisation practice, we are able to remove ourselves from the external world and enter an alternate consciousness, which makes these tasks easier and more effective.

The lack of external stimulation, the deep relaxation, the increased focus, increased creativity, more vivid visualisations that occur naturally in a floatation tank, coupled with the total privacy and personal time in the tank make floating for weight loss an enjoyable, relaxing and deeply moving experience.

 Visualisation in the floatation tank

The ability to think in sensory images instead of words is an absolutely essential first step towards self mastery. Vivid mental images are accepted by our bodies as being real. The mind perceives something as happening and tends to generate organic changes.

 By way of example, there are numerous meticulously documented cases of breast enlargement in groups of women through visualisation. Each study used a different visualization technique: in one, the women were told to visualize a warm towel over their breasts, with a heat lamp shining down on them. Other groups visualised themselves as they would like to be. Still others visualised blood and energy flowing into their breasts. In al the studies the increase in breast size was significant. The average increase in breast measurement was slightly under 1 ½ inches – one study of only 12 weeks increased on average 2.1 inches, while many of the women lost weight – so the results were not attributed to gaining pounds. What is true for breast enlargements is also true for losing weight or overcoming illness – quite literally, what you see is what you get.

 Everyone has the capacity to think visually. The floatation tank is the optimum environment for visualisation because the relaxation that it causes is so profound that the brain soon begins to generate unprecedented amount of very slow, strong, rhythmical theta waves, which are associated with vivid, lifelike hypnagogic images. All methods of visualisation throughout history have emphasised that a state of deep relaxation is essential to successful visualisation. In the tank, deep relaxation and strong mental imagery come spontaneously and effortlessly.

 Hyper-suggestibility, self hypnosis, hyperawareness 

Hypnosis or a state of hyper-suggestibility is, in truth, a common mental state that most of us drift into and out of without being aware of it: as we watch TV, listen to music, brush our teeth, drive our cars or even jog.

The 2 essential elements of self hypnosis are relaxation and focused attention. Any time you have these elements you are at least in a mild state of hypnosis. To make a conscious state of hypnosis, we need one more element: suggestion.

Experiments have proved that:     Whenever we become deeply relaxed (more then usual in day to day life); eliminate distractions by focusing on something (such as a word or music), we enter a state of hyper-suggestibility. Whatever statements are made to us in this state enter directly into our mind, bypassing the mental filters and other mechanisms by which we usually judge these statements. The mind accepts suggestions, and virtually any information with complete ease and lack of judgement.

 There are several suggestions as to why this happens:

 Some scientists trace it to the reticular activating system (RAS), which is that part of our brain that filters out things that we do not need to pay attention to. (such as traffic noise, background music etc.

They suggest that I a deep state of relaxation, with external stimuli eliminated or restricted by the focusing of attention, the RAS system “turns up the volume” in certain receptive parts of the brain, so that when suggestions are made, the are received with more attention then ordinarily.

 Others suggest that it has to do with the dominance of the left brain.

In a relaxed state with external awareness turned off, the usually dominant left hemisphere (logical thought and word processing happens here) is restrained, while the right brain (the seat of emotions and imagery) gains power, reaching a state of equilibrium with the left brain. In this state the words of the suggestion are received and linked with deep emotional associations, the rational meanings of words strengthened by the images the call forth from the right lobe. Get access to this state and stay in it and a lot of work gets done very quickly. In this state we get the uncritical acceptance of verbal material, or almost any material we can process.

In a floatation tank this hyper suggestible state is easy to achieve and sustain. Everything is intensified. Relaxation is far deeper then outside the tank, the ability to concentrate is enormously enhanced since there are no distractions, and as a result receptability to suggestions is increased dramatically.

Floating activates a physiological response that is parallel to and as powerful as it’s opposite fight or flight reaction to stressful situations. This response mobilises the body’s resources to bring about an active, alert, positive and beneficial state of deep relaxation.

 Relaxation is not something that just happens when you are not busy. In fact it is no more natural to be in a state of true relaxation then it is to be in a state of fight or flight arousal – relaxation is a distinct physiological response that involves the coordinated activities of a large part of our service system The parasympathetic nervous system is engaged by floating, to release bio chemicals that bring about a a sense of well-being, pleasure, safety, and euphoria. This relaxation response to floating is similar to the effect gained form transcendental meditation – except in the float tank you do not need years of experience and disciplined practice to achieve it.

Regularly eliciting this relaxation repose benefits the individual with increase emotional, mental and physical strength and stability, decreased consumption of drugs, cigarettes and other dependencies, and an increased ability to deal with everyday life.

 The difficulty in attempting to eliminate harmful programs, or de-condition ourselves, is that our habits and beliefs tend to cling to us like leeches while we remain engaged in living our lives. While we are in the environments that affirm our negative perceptions of ourselves.

 The answer is to do our reconditioning while completely separated from the world in which our habits and beliefs have their being. The most effective means of getting away from it all yet discovered is the float tank. It is the perfect de-conditioning tool, since while we are floating we are completely separated from our normal relationship with the world, including our habitual responses, our conditioned acts and attitudes.

At the same time the tank is an ideal place for reconditioning – offering ourselves suggestions that counteract and supersede the unwanted beliefs and habits. 

   How to use floatation for Weight loss

  1. Exploratory float – experience floatation with no expectations and learn how to reach a deep state of relaxation without any effort.

  1. Body Awareness – when you are relaxed focus on your body and become aware of how you feel about it, your energy levels, the areas of stressors. The more intense your physical awareness the easier you will be able to motivate yourself.
  1. Emotional awareness – Examine how you feel about yourself, your problem, what emotions come up for you when you think about your weight? Become aware of how your behaviour is linked to your mental state (what are you medicating with eating). Dr Rod Borrie, who uses float tanks to help his clients change behaviour patterns, attests to how increased self-awareness helped one of his clients lose weight: “he was in a very stressful period, both at work and at home, the very situations that usually triggered his eating, and yet he continued to lose weight. He came to me with some surprise and said “ordinarily, I would be stuffing myself under this kind of pressure, but each time I get the urge to eat I become keenly aware of how this is related to my feelings and I am able to resist.” That kind of self awareness is, in part the key to maintenance effect of behavioural change through floatation.”
  1. Self Analysis – examine and analyse your specific problem, searching for it’s causes, it’s effects.  Ask yourself: when you first begin to have this problem? What were the specific events that contributed to it? Then just relax and let go. Allow your mind to find it’s own way – pay attention to the fragments of memory, faces, ideas and words that drift into your mind. Let the wisdom of your subconscious mind work creatively to help you confront and deal with the problem.
  1. Discover trigger mechanisms – Addictive and behaviour patterns are generally set off and perpetuated by certain environmental stimuli, conflicts or life pressures. These trigger mechanisms are usually predictable and repetitive, and if we can become aware of them, they are signals that we are in danger of acting habitually or addictively, and we can then take action to resist the addiction. While floating we can examine behaviour patterns, see ourselves in action, search the past and identify personal triggers. Some common triggers are loneliness, boredom, depression, fear, failure, financial pressure, sexual dysfunction and fatigue.
  1. Understand your motivators – If you are motivated to lose weight to please someone else or because you think you should, rather then to please yourself, then you will probably battle to be successful. Examine your expectations while you float. It is important to have reasonable, achievable expectations.
  1. Set your goals
  1. Make plans as to how you will go about it. You have noted your trigger mechanisms, and where they are most likely to show up (watching TV or under times of pressure, or when you put yourself down, when you spend time with specific people who encourage you to have some more). Prepare your self with how you will deal with each situation so that you will not fall back on the habitual behaviour.
  1. Change your self - Use the various techniques you have learned to change your self – visualisation, self hypnosis, positive affirmations in the tank  where you are in more open and receptive state.

Anyone using the float tank in a systematic program to lose weight will want to schedule floats regularly – at least once every two weeks – more frequently if possible. However if you find that you are under particular stress or find that one of your triggers have been activated, you can short circuit the process wit a float. By removing you from the trigger, relaxing you and giving you pleasure and enhancing your ability to experience pleasure outside the floatation tank the float will lesson the need for you to experience pleasure through your harmful habitual behaviour.


* Disclaimer: Floatation is an experience unique to each individual, as such, the experience and results may vary from person to person