As calmness and relaxation deepen into drowsiness, the brain shifts to slower, more powerfully rhythmic THETA waves with a frequency of about 4 -7 Hz. The average floater about 40 minutes into the float, their brain stops producing its normal Alpha waves and starts churning out Theta waves. Everyone generates these theta waves at least twice per day: in those fleeting instants when we drift from conscious drowsiness into sleep, and again when we rise from sleep to consciousness as we awaken. Float provides an environment through which you can achieve a prolonged Theta state, a state of consciousness that is usually only seen in children and people who have spent years practicing meditation. When floating in this state, many floaters have experienced heightened receptivity, flashes of dreamlike imagery and inspiration.
Currently the rapidly growing Float industry uses the term Floatation Tanks. 1956 was the year that John C. Lilly, M.D first published his observations of a new technique; and developed his technique of floatation in what he called Sensory Deprivation Tanks. Prior to Lilly’s work, research had been done in 1951 at McGill University, Canada, by psychologist D.O. Hebbs, labeled “sensory deprivation.”
“The aim of the project was to obtain basic information on how human beings would react in situations where nothing was happening. The purpose was not to cut individuals off from any sensory stimulation whatever, but to remove all patterned or perceptual stimulation, so far as we could arrange it.” Heron Woodburn, Scientific American, The Pathology of Boredom, 1957.
Dr. Lilly was best known for his work with dolphins and interspecies communication, his development of the isolation tank, and his research into altered states of consciousness. The main characters in two popular films, The Day of the Dolphin and Altered States, were based on Dr. Lilly.
Subsequent research has found that short-term sensory reduction can result in incredibly profound states of relaxation, expanded healing, creativity enhancement, problem solving, meditation, accelerated learning, sports performance conditioning, and self-awareness. Beyond these states, users may find a multitude of experiences available to themselves.