Adapted MILD technique using floatation

Discuss lucid dreaming techniques including dream recall, MILD, WILD, meditation and other ways of attaining lucidity in dreams.
Samwise
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Adapted MILD technique using floatation

Postby Samwise » 07 Jul 2016 22:14

Interesting article here by a long term floatation REST facilitator and investigator. He describes an adapted MILD technique for the induction of "Alternate Waking States", such as lucid dreams and OBE's using the float tank. The author takes a rational view of such phenomena but his descriptions and insights are highly intriguing. He describes a high success rate with this technique at inducing these states (80% of instances) and he also describes a spill over of such experiences into his sleep while outside the tank. I'm intrigued about the potentials of floatation and had a hunch that sleep interruption and then getting into a floatation tank could synergise in a really interesting way in inducing altered states such as lucid dreams, and this is the most in-depth and expansive thing I've read that goes into detail about precisely this. Does anyone here have experience with floatation, particularly from a lucid dreaming perspective? I spoke to two Zen float tent owners recently who told me (unprompted) about their OBE's while floating, and these experiences occurred spontaneously without their attempts to induce them. Anyway, makes for intriguing reading.

http://www.richardbonk.com/AboutRichard/FloatationTank.htm

Floatation Tank and Consciousness

Altered States: from Fiction to Fact:
Introducing the Alternate Waking States Induction Method

Richard Bonk M.Ed.

Although REST has been the subject of a multitude of research studies and has been shown to be useful in clinical applications, much of the public's awareness of the floatation experience stems from the movie Altered States. And, it is often in the hope of producing unique, stimulating and consciousness altering states that many people decide to float. For many individuals, floating becomes a "done that," once in a lifetime experience when they emerge from the Epsom salt waters relaxed though certainly not significantly "altered." However, many regular floaters do experience heightened states of awareness and unusual mental phenomena. In an effort to examine these unique states in a controlled setting it was important to develop a technique in which these ephemeral states could be reliably and regularly facilitated. Following then, is

1) an introduction to the Alternate Waking States Induction Method (AWSIM), a technique which has proven effective in the engendering of "altered" states of consciousness in individuals while floating,

2) a brief overview of significant phenomena observed with reference to categorization thereof,

3) implications and possible applications, and,

4) suggestions for further research.

I) Introduction

As a REST facilitator and investigator of over 17 years I can attest to the subjective, experiential reality of altered or alternate waking states. It seems more accurate to refer to these unique states of consciousness as alternate waking states because, rather than consciousness being "altered," a specific state, when certain conditions are met, changes naturally into another normal, yet alternate, albeit perhaps under-utilized state of consciousness. (Like going from the normal waking state, through the hypnogogic and into the sleep/dream cycle.) These states are waking states because the experiencer has partial or full waking awareness and access to cognitive functioning, even though the body may be "asleep" or otherwise immobilized. I have recorded dozens of spontaneous alternate waking states experiences which run the gamut from lucid dreams to precognitive visions to out-of-the-body experiences. Since the floatation experience has been a potent catalyst for me in the spontaneous production of alternate waking states, I have sought to develop methods to produce these states with a regularity and reliability which would facilitate structured investigations. In the following article I will introduce a technique christened the Alternate Waking States Induction Method (AWSIM) documenting the development of a technique which has proved effective in producing these ephemeral states of consciousness with a reliability allowing for laboratory study and practical application.

Tank Facilitated Lucid Dreaming and Beyond

In recent years there has been a rekindled interest in dream research, owing much to the pioneering studies being done with subjects who report "lucid" dreams, or dreams wherein the dreamer is aware that she/he is dreaming. Dr. Stephen LaBerge of the Stanford University Sleep Research Center, leads the pack, with many years of work training "oneironauts" or "dream sailors" to awaken within their dreams and carry out prearranged tasks, including signaling to the outside world. Dr. Laberge, having recorded hundreds of such dreams, has developed a method which he refers to as the Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams, or MILD, enabling willing subjects to experience lucid dreams with the regularity required for laboratory investigation. LaBerge believes that with enough motivation and practice, anyone can learn to dream lucidly and recommends following these steps:

1) As soon as you sense yourself waking up in the morning, try to keep your thoughts focused on the last dream you were having. Remember what the dream felt like, its texture and its setting, and memorize as many details as you can.

2) Spend the next 15 minutes reading, meditating, or doing any other activity that requires full wakefulness.

3) Then, while lying in bed, affirm to yourself, "the next time I dream, I want to remember to recognize that I'm dreaming."

4) Visualize yourself back in your last dream, with the difference that now you recognize that you're dreaming.

5) Repeat the affirmation and visualization until you feel that your intention is firm. Let yourself fall back asleep. If all goes well, you will soon find yourself in the midst of a lucid dream.

Having a keen interest in "altered" or, preferably, "alternate" states of consciousness, including dream and allied states, I eagerly attempted the above suggested method, experiencing moderate success until a modified version of the technique was developed, wherein results immediately increased in number and intensity. It was serendipitous to discover that a more mechanistic rather than mnemonic approach yielded results more consistently.

For one and a half years prior to this time, I had regular access (2-3 times weekly), to a floatation tank, where I spontaneously experienced "alternate waking states" (AWS). I experienced these unique states at a frequency of 2-3 per year. No pattern or prerequisite stimulus could be discerned, save the fact that it seemed necessary to lose consciousness, as if falling off to sleep, whereupon, I would "wake up" into an alternate space or reality. The states seemed to be characteristic of what the above dream researcher describes as lucid dreams, although the quality and intensity would vary, oftentimes seeming more akin to what is referred to as an "out-of-the-body experience" (OBE) as described in various parapsychology texts.

These peculiar states held a special fascination for me, so much that I decided to find a method for inducing and maintaining these states, in order that further observations could be made. Thus, Dr. LaBerge's MILD technique invited personal experimentation.

I then proceeded to employ MILD in the manner prescribed, experiencing at most, fleeting moments of lucidity, and those seemingly related to pre-dream (hypnogogic), or between dream states. One morning, however, approximately 3 weeks into experimentation with MILD, an unusual set of circumstances, (meeting friends for breakfast at 5 AM), forced me to awaken 2-3 hours earlier than usual and function for an extended period of time with full waking consciousness. I returned to sleep later that morning- and experienced a "full-blown" lucid dream. It appeared that the missing and important factor, at least in my case, was the insurance of a longer period of full waking consciousness. A modified MILD had yielded its first success. It occurred to me that if MILD would work inducing AWS in bed, then perhaps a further modified MILD would induce similar states in the tank. (Perhaps this could be referred to as WILD, for "wet" induction of lucid dreams!)

On the second day after having successfully induced a lucid dream during sleep, I proceeded with the modified MILD, but instead of returning to bed, I showered and entered the tank. At first it seemed as if sleep wouldn't come, let alone any unusual experience. But, after an initially uncomfortable period, I found myself awakening into a strange "vibratory" state where it seemed "another body" was rising up and out of the physical body. Then I was aware that I could "see" the inside top of the tank (though in total darkness), which reinforced the uniqueness of this state. I recall mentally telling myself to remain calm because the energy of this state evoked an initially fearful response. But, by maintaining a "calm mental resolve," I was able to overcome fear, whereupon I sensed I was moving through a tunnel, then out through the walls of the tank and out into the next room. I found myself able to move within a perceived environment that seemed to be a composite reality ordered according to laws peculiar to that state and my conscious fancy. I had access to all mental/cognitive powers inherent in normal waking consciousness. For all practical purposes, it appeared as though I had woken up "somewhere else."

I have since had many similar experiences, apparently owing to the above technique. Approximately 80% of attempts successfully generate AWSs. Also, spontaneous AWS experiences, both during sleep and in the tank have risen in conjunction with the above success - from approximately 2-3 per year, to 1+ per month. I have noted that even when my mind-set invited failure, i.e., experiencing doubt, frustration, discomfort, etc., - the AWS experience has continued to replicate itself, indicating that (at least some of) the important variables may be mechanistic. In fact, it seems that as long as a certain small set of requirements are fulfilled, the AWS experience will occur regularly.

The following steps represent a modification of the MILD technique (further referred to for our purposes as the "Alternate Waking States Induction Method," or AWSIM), incorporating the use of the floatation tank, which I have found conducive in the induction and maintenance of AWSs:

1) Gently awaken oneself in the last 1/3 of your normal sleep cycle.

2) Assure a period of "relaxed wakefulness" (as in the MILD method #2) where you perform a task that requires full waking consciousness while carefully maintaining the relaxed post-sleep state. In this case, showering before tank immersion seems effective.

3) Allow for a gentle re-entry into the sleep cycle while in a "novel" environment. The floatation environment is particularly suited to this stage as it seems to encourage and maintain transitional or in-between, i.e., hypnogogic states for extended periods.

4) In some instances it may be helpful to use non-mechanistic, internal processes, i.e., your imagination, emotions, mind-sets, etc., to create an ambiance of relaxed desire/expectation to further facilitate the experience. In my experience, it doesn't seem necessary that mental reinforcement be done upon awakening or prior to entering the tank. However, pre-programming in whatever manner one is inclined, may be helpful if done during the previous day or night prior to sleep. In other words, create an open-expectancy state, where you anticipate a unique experience, and are open to any possibility. Try not to (mentally) create your experience beforehand, as your AWS experience may very different from your expectations.

In summary, I have found that a modified version of lucid dream researcher Dr. Stephen LaBerge's MILD techniques, when used in conjunction with the floatation REST system, yields sometimes intense alternate waking states experience with regularity. I have noted that, although the effectiveness of mental programming in inducing such experiences can not be denied, a more "mechanistic" method works at least as well. The 2 major variables according to this view seem to be

1) the necessity of gentle interruption of the subject's sleep cycle, and

2) the subsequent immersion of the subject into the floatation REST environment. If one begins to re-cycle into sleep, one seems to, in more cases than not, experience an alternate waking state, similar to normal waking in that one has access to normal conscious faculties, yet unique in the phenomena experienced.

Since my initial personal investigations, I have introduced the AWSIM technique to others who have experienced similar results. Interestingly, and supportive of my hypothesis, is the fact that the AWS experience will occur in individuals across the board, regardless of their personal experiences or beliefs, as long as certain mechanistic variables are met.

II) AWS Phenomena Observed


Useful Parameters

To effectively describe AWSs I have found it helpful to utilize three subjective parameters:

1) self/ego awareness, or how intact/stable one's sense of self is,

2) intensity, a spectral measurement/assessment regarding how "real" the AWS experience seems in comparison to normal waking consciousness, and,

3) perceptual/psychomotor/cognitive functioning, that is how effectively an individual's sensory, psychomotor and reasoning abilities can be consciously utilized. Psychomotor functioning is considered here not in a physiological context, rather with respect to the degree an individual senses she/he is able to move through perceived space and manipulate objects within it

Though these parameters have been measured via subjective reports, there are indications that they may be objectively measured and quantified, i.e., intensity may be reflected in a change of EEG recorded brainwaves, or other changes in physiology indicating a heightened state of inner arousal. Levels of cognitive functioning may be ascertained via a subject's ability to respond to stimuli presented or to carry out specific, predetermined tasks, i.e., to move the eyes as in lucid dream research where dreamers signal to investigators when they awaken in a dream.

AWS Induction and Establishment Phenomena

A certain set of phenomena seem to consistently accompany transition from normal waking consciousness into AWSs. It seems necessary to enter into the sleep state and momentarily lose consciousness then subsequently reawaken gently and slowly, maintaining deep relaxation, where the body remains still, in a state of sleep paralysis. At this point, one can chose to rouse the body or continue to maintain mental and physical calm. In order to further the experience it is imperative to gently maintain a non-aroused, yet observant state. One needs to be simultaneously alert and relaxed.

If this state is maintained, certain phenomena begin to present themselves rapidly and in specific sequence. Usually the first phenomenological marker is an expansion of the auditory sense. One can "hear" clearly what is going on in the nearby environment (adjacent rooms, etc.). Often there is an unusual sound similar to that of clear bells or chimes and or a crackling, tearing or rushing sound. These sounds are usually prerequisite to a "vibratory" sensation felt as if in the physical body. Typically a sense of acceleration is experienced wherein the vibrations exponetionally intensify engendering a sense that one is about to energetically expand, explode or project out of one's physical body. Initially this dramatic sensation can evoke a fear response and a subsequent aborting of the experience. However, it was noted that if one retains a calm mental resolve, one will immediately continue to the next phase.

At this point, if one remains calm, there is a sensation that the vibratory energy, experienced as another body as it seems to be a locus and vehicle for self consciousness, feels as though it exits out of the physical body. It may then feel as if one is "floating" in the space above the physical body. If this stage is achieved, there arises a new sense of calm and freedom of mobility. Self and environmental awareness are heightened and clearer. The individual can move within the perceived environment according to inner mental directives.

The visual sense seems to remain intact albeit in a manner that enables one to "see" even in the total darkness of the tank, almost as if one were sensitive to infrared or other electromagnetic stimuli. In a better lit environment vision is comparable to normal vision, though clarity often varies. Auditory sensations at this stage are typically weaker, or less noticeable, though occasional loud or low frequency sounds are heard. There are no recollections of smell or taste occurrences.

However, the sensory/tactile sense remains and is noteworthy as one can "feel" the surface of objects as well as experience the unique sensation of a particular substance/material if one chooses to put a part or the entire body into or move through a surface such as the tank or room walls, windows, etc. It is as if one feels the material in question at the point where the body is "cross-sectioned" as it intersects that surface. Also, it was noted that on some occasions that a physical sensation and actual physical response could be produced by willing it in consciousness. For example, a sexual orgasm could be produced by willfully initiating and intensifying sensations of arousal even though the voluntary nervous system of the body is in a state of sleep paralysis. Implications in this regard may be profound, indicating that at least some autonomic physiological response patterns may be directly and effectively activated and modified by a willful mental process while in a certain AWS.

Cognitive abilities seem to remain and function with a rough equivalence to normal waking consciousness. The sense of self is comparable as well. Typically there is a strong feeling of curiosity and wonder at the uniqueness of circumstances and often a state of excitation which must be managed to prevent an excitement threshold which would abort the experience.

The AWS Spectral Environment

Although entry phenomena are often similar, there are notable variants in AWS environments. The AWS environment can be plotted along a spectrum, with one end favoring the lucid dream classification, the other, out-of-body-experiences. In lucid dreaming, the individual is aware of oneself and that she/he is dreaming. The perceived environment and objects within it seems to be more associative, that is, produced and maintained by the individual's unconscious, according to that individual's unique life experiences and the meaning she/he assigns to them. In this environment it is difficult to focus on a selected object without it changing in some fashion, or without the individual's awareness shifting or disintegrating.

Out-of-body experiences, however, differ in that the AWS perceived environment seems to represent the actual environment as it is perceptually experienced in normal waking consciousness. It remains relatively stable, allowing the experiencer to focus on particular objects with minimal or no changes or distortions. Awareness usually remains clear and integrated, even heightened.

In both "worlds," the environments seem to be ordered according to certain "laws" (perhaps comparable to laws of physics in our normal waking stated perceived universe) yet are somewhat malleable to consciousness. Moreover an individual seems to be bound by the rules of that environment only as long as she/he "agrees" to abide by them. For example, when one decides to move out of, or beyond a certain environment, it often fades or disappears, revealing a subsequently more discreet environment, increasingly dissimilar to our normal waking environment in terms of objects populating and laws structuring it.

Implications

Perhaps the most obvious implication, though not novel in context of Eastern and Western Esoteric philosophical systems and parapsychological research, is that consciousness may not be contained (wholly or in part) in or produced by the body and its brain. Also, implied is that there are other realities, comparable to our physical universe, that can be perceived and experienced in certain states of consciousness. This raises questions of far reaching order, however these are beyond the scope of the present paper. As of present, however, the author has not discovered any definitive evidence to support the idea that any of the phenomena experienced is indicative of a separate world and not a product of consciousness, but then, even our experience of our familiar physical world is dependent on our peculiar psycho-biological perceptions and cognitions.

It is clear, however, that there are other states of consciousness which are equivalent in intensity and complexity, which are as "real," as our normal waking consciousness. And, the average individual can learn to access and utilize these states for personal investigation and possible significant psychological, energetic and even physical change.

An Invitation to Further Research

Although the phenomenon and environments perceived and experienced in AWSs are, at this point difficult to substantiate, the states of consciousness with which they are associated hold the promise of objective analysis. Current EEG biofeedback and REM measuring instrumentation provide an opportunity to objectively monitor and record these unique subjective states. Research protocols, coupled with the richness of an AWS explorer's subjective reports could serve to map out a previously elusive, ephemeral and often questionable areas of human consciousness.

In conclusion, the REST induced and maintained AWS experience presents a unique opportunity for consciousness explorers and researchers alike. AWSIM provides a technique which consistently produces AWSs with a regularity allowing for structured laboratory investigations. It also allows interested individuals to expand and explore heretofore difficult to engender and maintain discrete states of consciousness. It is in the hope that this brief overview will stimulate an interest in the use of AWSIM for personal and research investigations, that this paper has been presented.

References:

1) LaBerge, Stephen, (1986) Lucid Dreaming. New York, N.Y.: Ballentine Books Inc.

2) Monroe, Robert A., (1977) Journeys Out of the Body. Garden City, N. Y.:
Anchor Press/Doubleday and Co. Inc.

3) Hutchinson, Michael, (1984) The Book of Floating. New York, NY.: William Morrow and Co.

4) Lilly, John C., (1977) The Deep Self. New York, N.Y.: Warner Books, Inc.

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deschainXIX
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Re: Adapted MILD technique using floatation

Postby deschainXIX » 11 Jul 2016 03:57

This is something I've never really thought of in relation to lucid dreaming. I think people have discussed on this forum the idea of a sensory deprivation tank, but no one has really connected it to WILD or MILD or the phase state between reality and unconsciousness. This was a fascinating treatise on the idea, and to be honest, I'm surprised I never thought of it before. Floating in water intuitively seems like it would enhance sleep paralysis induction.

The problem with this is that it is not a practice the common man can emulate. I'm wondering if one could simulate the effect by simply floating in a bathtub. :?: I might have to give it a try. Very tempting. :)
Well said.

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Pilgrim
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Re: Adapted MILD technique using floatation

Postby Pilgrim » 11 Jul 2016 05:04

Samwise, thanks for posting this article. It reminds me of Waggoner's discussion in Gateway to Inner Self where he tries to make distinctions between lucid dreaming and OBE in one of the chapters. I find my experience to be a hybrid, without the clear distinctions that Waggoner and others suggest.

Deschain, you appear suitable for water, but do be careful. I have a ginormous tub that I installed when making a custom master bath a couple of years ago, but I think I will stay dry.

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Peter
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Re: Adapted MILD technique using floatation

Postby Peter » 11 Jul 2016 09:27

I tried to get into a tank when I was on holiday a while back but there were none I could use and I build a quiet room in my house for Sensory Dep.
Its double layered and a home made anechoic chamber. Very quiet and had a few decent lucids in there but have not used it fully yet. Its good and very quiet so great for sleep catchup as well
Who are you I asked, the reply "dont be silly, we are your daughers" many years before they were born

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deschainXIX
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Re: Adapted MILD technique using floatation

Postby deschainXIX » 12 Jul 2016 20:01

Peter, having experience with sensory deprivation tanks, to what degree would you say a bathtub would work as a substitute?
Well said.

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Peter
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Re: Adapted MILD technique using floatation

Postby Peter » 13 Jul 2016 15:46

it is a good place to relax and lose some external sensory awareness so worth a go. Also try to be in a dark room and maybe some eyes shades as well.
I have an outside bath and can get pretty relaxed and play around with HI so it will work.

I have not been in a tank but have a room that I build and is very soundproof and good for dreaming in
Who are you I asked, the reply "dont be silly, we are your daughers" many years before they were born

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FloatGuru
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Re: Adapted MILD technique using floatation

Postby FloatGuru » 14 Jul 2016 21:13

I've been floating for about 3 1/2 years now, and I actually work at a Float Center in Bellevue, Washington. I have quite a lot of experience with these things, so if anyone would like to shoot some questions at me, I'd love to answer as best I can.

I've had two OBE's in the tanks, a small handful of lucid dreams, and quite a lot of short/brief dreams. Dreaming in a float tank is almost like a whole other genre of dreaming... and it's kind of hard to describe. I'll describe one of my OBE's in another post, but my shift is actually just about to end so I'm about to head out the door!

Achieving sleep in a float tank can take some practice. The method described above seems entirely feasible, and perhaps I'll give it a try next week. What I've found useful is using the tank as an intention setting space. I'll float late at night and really try to queue into my subconscious "The next time I'm dreaming, I will realize I am dreaming." This has proven effective on several occasions when I do go to sleep in my bed later that night. Typically in a float tank one can access the hypnogogic state very easily, and even get some hypnogogic imagery with relative ease. These hypnogogic images can be influenced and changed, however I don't qualify anything as a lucid dream unless it's full immersion REM dreaming.

As far as using a bathtub as a substitute... That wouldn't work at all. Don't get me wrong, a bathtub can be used for relaxation... but it's not going to work the same as a float tank. Here are a few reasons:
1) you would just be sitting in water, not floating. Float tanks use about 1,000 bounds of epsom salt. That's what makes you buoyant.
2) you wouldn't have control over the temperature. Float tanks are heated to 93.5 degrees F, which is external body temperature. They stay that temperature consistently throughout your float, and that specific temperature is what makes you feel like you're floating in nothing instead of floating in water. A bathtub would likely start hot, then cool over time.
3) space. A float tank is typically 4 feet wide by 8 feet long. Unless you have just the best master bathroom, you're not going to be able to lay completely on your back. In a float tank, you have plenty of space to lay completely horizontal and not propped up against the back of the tub.
4) Sensory input. Float tanks are going to be completely dark, and very little to no sound. A bathtub is going to have ambient light, as well as random noises permeating through your house.
Looking for the Time Travelers.

Samwise
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Re: Adapted MILD technique using floatation

Postby Samwise » 15 Jul 2016 15:40

Hi All,

Thanks for chiming in here. I, too, think this is really intriguing, and very much under-explored. It seems floatation produces a range of health benefits, consciousness exploration potential aside. But the idea of sleep interruption followed by floatation in particular really intrigues me. This I think is very much an under-explored frontier, and only really accessible for the very few people who have a floatation tank in their homes, or who work at a commercial float spa. But I think it would be interesting for others to replicate the described method and report what that they find.

On the good point made about issues of common man emulation of this, I'm currently out in Ethiopia doing research, but when I return to the UK I shall be ordering a Zen float tent from the US, with family chipping in a bit too. This is by far the most affordable floatation device going, it allows one to float in the comfort of their own home, and from my research it seems worth the investment. I've been talking to a few different Zen tent owners and doing a fair bit of research on it and am intent on this idea, so in the near future I shall definitely be experimenting with the method detailed here.

http://www.zenfloatco.com/

FloatGuru thanks a lot for your input here, I for one would be really interested to hear more about your experiences floating, particularly when it comes to experiences like lucid dreams and OBE's. I' be really interested to hear how dreaming compares when in the tank compared to being outside, and the particular OBE you mention.

Consciousness exploration potential aside, it seems like you get a great bang for your buck with floating (another reason to get your own...the monthly running and upkeep costs of a Zen tent are substantially cheaper than the cost of an hour's float in a commercial tank in the UK!!)...there is a range of other benefits that come with floating. This recent study may be of interest, notable for its large sample size (65) and it was looking at the effects of floatation on already otherwise healthy people.

Beneficial effects of treatment with sensory isolation in flotation-tank as a preventive health-care intervention – a randomized controlled pilot trial


http://bmccomplementalternmed.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1472-6882-14-417

Abstract

Background
Sensory isolation in a flotation tank is a method known for inducing deep relaxation and subsequent positive health effects for patients suffering from e.g. stress or muscle tensions pains. Very few studies have investigated this method as a preventive health-care intervention. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects in healthy participants after receiving a series of flotation tank treatment.

Methods
Sixty-five participants (14 men and 51 women) who were all part of a cooperative-health project initiated by their individual companies, were randomized to either a wait-list control group or a flotation tank treatment group where they participated in a seven weeks flotation program with a total of twelve flotation sessions. Questionnaires measuring psychological and physiological variables such as stress and energy, depression and anxiety, optimism, pain, stress, sleep quality, mindfulness, and degree of altered states of consciousness were used. Data were analysed by two-way mixed MANOVA and repeated measures ANOVA.

Results
Stress, depression, anxiety, and worst pain were significantly decreased whereas optimism and sleep quality significantly increased for the flotation-REST group. No significant results for the control group were seen. There was also a significant correlation between mindfulness in daily life and degree of altered states of consciousness during the relaxation in the flotation tank.

Conclusions
It was concluded that flotation-REST has beneficial effects on relatively healthy participants.
Last edited by Samwise on 16 Jul 2016 15:53, edited 1 time in total.

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FloatGuru
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Re: Adapted MILD technique using floatation

Postby FloatGuru » 16 Jul 2016 03:07

I'll touch on a few things here, and bold the different topics so the reader can pick out what interests them.

My Best Float OBE

I was laying in the float tank after a shift. This means I didn't have to stick to just an hour long session, and I could get out whenever I wanted. I was in the studio alone with the doors all locked up because we had closed for the night.

Approximately two hours into my float, I heard the filter system running in a different room. "Oh, I guess I forgot to turn that off. Shit. Well I'll turn it off after I get out. Doesn't really matter." (NOTE: the filter wasn't actually going off... it was just an auditory hallucination.) Shortly after this, I heard a sound. It's a challenge to describe this sound, as it was low in frequency but high in pitch. At this point I was aware that I was in the float tank, and I was aware of my body. However, the sound began increasing in intensity as well as pitch, getting higher and higher. While this was occurring, I felt my astral self begin to vibrate and disassociate from my body. There was a strong sensation in the base of my skull (that spot on the back of your neck at the top of your spine) where my astral self seemed to be coalescing around.

This process reminded me of tuning an old radio, where you have to turn the dial to change stations. At the beginning of the experience, I was tuned in on the "Conscious/Physical" station. The sound I heard was like the static between radio stations, and when the sound reached it's apex, I was tuned into the "Astral/Dream" station. At this point, I was aware that I was out of my body, and my astral self was floating just above my physical body.

I "sat up" and launched myself out of the tank. I landed on the floor just outside of the tank, but still in the room. I proceeded to the door, which I simply phased through and was in the hallway. I got on my hands and knees and began rubbing the floor to give myself some tactile information. I then proceeded to crawl to the end of the hallway rubbing the floor the whole way. Unfortunately when I reached the end of the hall, the experienced collapsed and I was pulled back to my body in the float tank.

Back in my body, I was blown away by the experience. I almost got out at this point to call it good, but I decided to take a few minutes before doing so. After about 10 minutes, I heard the SAME sound and went through the SAME experience of having my consciousness dial tuned into the dream station. Again, I was floating just above my body. This time, rather than getting out and attempting to go around the real world, I created a dream world for some fun. I created a mountain scene, put myself at the top of a ski run, and then proceeded to ski. The whole time screaming in the dream world "YEEEEEAAAAAHHHHH!!!!" because the sensation of skiing, the visuals of the ski run, the lighting, EVERYTHING was incredibly vivid. This went on for a couple of minutes before I fell while skiing, and as I tumbled through the snow, I landed back in my body in the tank.

I've had other OBE's originating from my bed that were longer than the one described above, but what made this one exceptional was the transition between the physical and dream world.


Differences Between Float Dreams and Normal Dreams

This is hard to describe. It's something you'll have to experience for yourself to have this fully make sense... so my sincerest apologies if I don't achieve that goal.

I don't know how it is for everyone else, but for me the dream world has a sense of familiarity. Sure, there are completely different scenes, different sensations, different experiences between dreams... but whenever I become lucid there's a "Ah, I'm back here!" feeling. Becoming lucid when I'm in the tank does not have that same feeling. It's the dream world, yes, but it has a distinct feeling that's separate from the usual realm I visit. An analogy would be: if having a lucid dream is like going to the moon, then a lucid dream in the tank is like going to Mars. You're not on Earth, but you're certainly not on the moon.

Another difference is duration. In normal lucid dreams, I'm often able to extend the experience for long durations. However, lucids in the tank are almost always short. However, the content is usually incredibly vivid and/or powerful.

The last difference I'll mention here is the waking up part. When you wake up in your bed, you're grounded. "Ah, I'm back in the real world!" Waking up in a float tank can often be incredibly disorienting. I've had several moments where I've woken up and thought "WHERE THE HELL AM I?!" before I recall that I'm in a float tank. It can be pretty ungrounding, but certainly a curious sensation.


Owning Your Own Float Tank

Samwise, that's really phenomenal that you're likely to get a Zen Float Tent when you get back to the UK! The practice of floating can be truly life changing. The Zen Float Tent is definitely the cheapest option for at-home floating. There are a few things that you should be aware of so you can plan accordingly. I don't know how much research you've done, so my apologies if any of this is redundant for you.

Salt. Gets. EVERYWHERE. When you get out of the tank, you're covered in the salt solution. It's going to drip on the floor, it's going to get on anything you touch (light switches, door handles, THE FLOOR!) The floor is the most noteworthy part. Any commercial float center is going to have the shower only a few steps away from the float tank. This minimizes the amount of floor that you're getting salty. But more importantly, if the space that you're going to put your tent has carpet, you're going to want to get something to cover it up... otherwise you're going to ruin the carpet because it will get caked in salt.

Also be prepared to maintain your tent. This means balancing PH levels, adjusting buoyancy (when you get out you take water and salt with you on your body. You'll have to add water and salt to keep the levels right. Since you'll have one at home, this likely won't be as much of a problem since you won't have as much traffic as a commercial studio.) You'll also have to get in and clean the inside of the tank on a semi-regular basis. The solution itself is so saturated with salt that microbes and bacteria can't grow in there. However, due to evaporation, water is going to get in all the folds in the fabric of the tent, so you'll have to go in and scrub it to ensure a peaceful and clean floating environment.

I've floated in several different styles of tanks, but unfortunately never the Zen Float Tent. As I understand it, they do a really good job of keeping the light out. Because they're made of vinyl, though, they don't have any sound deafening properties. That means that any outside noises like cars or whatever will bleed into your float. I might suggest getting a white noise maker that you can turn on when you're floating. That'll help block all the random noises in the real world and provide a consistency that your brain will shortly lose track of.

Experimenting with this Technique

I'm keen on trying the technique described in the article that started this whole thread. I work the opening shift on Thursdays, so I'm going to give it a try then. I'll just wake up a bit early and drive to work early so I can have a pre-work float. I'll post my results in this thread and hopefully be able to keep the posts somewhat consistent to provide some anecdotal feedback. Worth mentioning that since I work the closing shift all the rest of the week, my body clock is set to the night shift... so it's pretty challenging waking up early for me haha. You'll all have to forgive me if I miss a week because morning me wants to sleep a little more.
Looking for the Time Travelers.

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Peter
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Joined: 26 May 2011 08:02
Location: New Zealand

Re: Adapted MILD technique using floatation

Postby Peter » 16 Jul 2016 10:13

really interesting and would love to try one. the outside bath is good for relaxing in and i sometimes use it in the early hours of the morning. Like u say its not the same as a float tank and no debate there but is a good place to get HI in and I often get lucid after using it.

Sensory input. Float tanks are going to be completely dark, and very little to no sound. A bathtub is going to have ambient light, as well as random noises permeating through your house.


I tend to think the key to getting lucid is to shut off external input and get hooked into internal and then away into the dream. I have built a quiet room at home, pretty much a home anechoic chamber. A room inside a room and isolated from the main building on rubber mounts and its very dark and very quiet. The first thing you discover is that your body is noisy if thats the only noise around but its easy to tune into to this and then tune out but the lack of any external noise or light makes for some inter sting luicids and if nothing else great sleep.

I will admit that I am envious of your use of a tank and would really love to have a go in one.
Who are you I asked, the reply "dont be silly, we are your daughers" many years before they were born


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