The Seven Theories of Floating
by Michael Hutchinson, author of The Book of Floating

There’s no doubt that floating works – as a therapeutic, educational and entertainment tool it has powerful effects on a number of levels, including the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. But why is the floatation environment so effective? What can be so actively beneficial in an essentially passive device? This is a question that has intrigued scientists, and today there is floatation research going on in laboratories around the world. The evidence accumulated so far falls into a number of distinct, though interrelated explanations. Among the most important are as follows:

1 THE ANTIGRAVITY EXPLANATION
2 THE BRAIN WAVE EXPLANATION
3 THE LEFT-BRAIN RIGHT-BRAIN EXPLANATION
4 THE THREE BRAIN EXPLANATION
5 THE NEUROCHEMICAL EXPLANATION
6 THE BIOFEEDBACK EXPLANATION
7 THE HOMEOSTASIS EXPLANATION

5. The Neurochemical Explanation

Neuroscientists have recently discovered the brain is an endocrine organ that secretes numerous neurochemicals which influence our behavior. Our brains secrete hormones that make us happy, anxious, depressed, shy, sleepy, sexy. Each of us creates different amounts of these various neurochemicals, and those who create, for example, more endorphins – natural opiates – experience more pleasure as a result of a given experience than those who create fewer endorphins. Tests indicate that floating increased the secretion of endorphins at the same time as it reduces the levels of a number of stress-related neurochemicals, such as adrenaline, nordpinephrine, ACTH, and cortisol – substances that can cause tension, anxiety, irritability, and are related to ailments such as heart disease, hypertension and high levels of cholesterol. One other neurochemical theory is the “return of the womb” explanation. Since pregnant women produce up to eight times the normal endorphin levels, the foetus experiences true prenatal bliss. When a floater is suspended in the dense, warm solution, enclosed in darkness, body pulsing rhythmically and brain pumping out endorphins, it’s possible that subconscious memories are stirred and profoundly deep associations called up. It is no coincidence that at least one commercial float center is named “The Womb Room.”