General Perceptions vs. Actual Experience

FAQ – Is floating just new-age mumbo jumbo? Is this like Altered States?


This is a funny question, but also a serious one. Check any floating FAQ page, and you’ll likely find some form of these creative answers originally crafted by our friends over at FloatOn.

1. “Floating has been around for over 50 years and has oodles of published research to back it up. No mumbo or jumbo here.”

2. “Yes (it is like Altered States), but you’re not submerged in water, you don’t eat ritualistic mushrooms, and only a small percentage of floaters turn into proto-human monkeys.”

We really love their answers, so we’re copying them here! But, in all seriousness, we understand that this question comes from a feeling of concern towards having little-to- no frame of reference for the floating experience. So, let us take your questions seriously, and answer them in our own words.

First of all, floating has been around for over 50 years, it is not new-age mumbo jumbo, and there is a ton of research to back it up! Current research is looking at areas such as how floating can help people who struggle with various forms of anxiety and stress (even trauma-based stress, like PTSD), and how floating can help people who suffer from the autoimmune disease fibromyalgia. As you can see, float research is very tied to real-life concerns.

Still, we understand that the idea of lying-in- a-dark- tank-of- water-for- 90-minutes can sound questionable. It probably should! As humans, we’re designed to gawk at the unfamiliar. Doing so helps us survive! But, it can also prevent us from experiencing new, wonderful, territory. Even Justin Feinstein, founder of the Float Clinic and Research Center at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research in Tulsa, Oklahoma, acknowledges this. According to him, the mumbo-jumbo rumors come from the 50s through the 70s, when the scientific community was skeptical of founder (John C. Lilly’s) research around floating, psychedelics, and dolphins. Plus, the movie that made floating interesting to the masses, Altered States, depicts a fictional researcher who a combines floating with psychedelics. So, of course we understand why this “mumbo jumbo” question is asked so frequently. It’s just that these rumors, while entertaining, don’t provide a clear picture of floating.

So, when we answer your question by saying, “noo…it’s not like that at all, this experience is safe, relaxing, rejuvenating, and one that becomes deeply familiar the more you practice it…” we’re not just trying to placate you. You can trust our response. We are coming from the genuine real-life experience of floating, which is, by almost all accounts, really comfortable and effortless.

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