The simple state of Floating in warm salt water is possibly
the most relaxing experience on Earth.
Floating and swimming are as old as our species, but floating in a floatation
therapy tank with warm Epsom salts was invented by John Lilly in about 1964. He
was interested in meditation and in the physiology and psychology of the
meditative state when he started working on the effects of sensory deprivation.
He discovered that his experimental subjects, his students, enjoyed the experience
of floating and reached levels of relaxation only seen in deep meditation. In
fact within a few minutes a floating person can reach a depth of relaxation
which takes many years to achieve by classical meditation techniques.
NASA employed floatation to simulate weightlessness and isolation for space
research while amateurs built float tanks as news of Lilly's work spread.
Floating is a natural and healthy way to relax.
Several commercial floatation therapy tanks were developed in the late 20th century.
These floatation therapy tanks established the basic format of a closed chamber
with about 25 cm (10 inches) of skin temperature Epsom salts solution. Epsom
Salt is used because it raises the density of the water, making it easy to
float, and because it has a silky feel which is very good for the skin. Epsom
salt is very different from sea salt (brine) in this respect. The enclosed
chamber provides a cozy space which is warm, private, quiet and dark. These
early floatation therapy tanks have a rather functional boxy look to them from
the outside, which is why when Colin Stanwell-Smith, an award winning designer
and Chartered Engineer, decided to design a new floatation therapy tank from
the ground up; he introduced an organic, curvaceous, friendly appearance.
Meanwhile, another water product, the spa or whirlpool bath, became very
popular, tens of thousands are made annually, and the rare incidence of
infectious organisms became an issue. In the Floataway range of floatation
therapy tanks the water is filtered and disinfected by either chlorine or
hydrogen peroxide. The inside skin is formed from continuous curves of highly
polished plastic resin. The filter system operates between each float to
maintain a clean hygienic environment. Chlorine is the most effective way to
quickly kill all infectious organisms, but bromine or hydrogen peroxide with a
UV filter can also be used.
For commercial operators of floatation therapy tanks, the main issue is to get
new customers. Once someone tries floating they always enjoy it and become
convinced of the benefits even on the first trial. Many of the floatation
therapy tanks before the Floataway frightened new customers who commonly worry
about claustrophobia, and were intimidated by the tomb-like appearance. The Floataway
Tranquility has a full length door, styled like a dolphin, and is designed to
be able to operate with the door open. It is very easy to step inside, the
sides form continuous hand holds. The door is motorised so that once inside,
the user can just press an air-coupled button to close it. The Skylark is a
lower cost version with a clever couterbalanced door and the Floataround is a
full standing height float room. These features, the special filtration system
and the smooth friendly shapes are all unique features of the Floataway
floatation therapy tanks, making them the most beautiful floatation tanks in
The Floataway tank has changed the face of floating and has become the most
popular float tank in the world. Floataway's Tranquility float tank won the
International Floatation Federation Award for it's contribution to floating in