08 Mar How Does Floating Work? Programming Our Brains to Float
“All human beings, all persons who reach adulthood in the world today are programmed biocomputers.” – John C. Lilly, MD
Throughout modern psychology, we learned that our brains are built by the experiences we have in our lifetime. Neuroscientists to this day, still aren’t sure how much of our behavior is due to biological or environmental causes (nature vs. nurture), but it is clear that it plays a huge role on how we act in our day to day lives. During a floating session, nearly all incoming stimuli and sensations are reduced or completely eliminated. But how does floating really work? By experiencing total darkness and zero gravity in the float tank, the brain is able to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, causing you to feel more relaxed and rebalance the limbic system. This phenomenon also occurs every night when we fall asleep, as the brain undergoes the same type of process, even creating new brain cells referred to as neurogenesis. Essentially, floating helps lower cortisol levels and calm the nervous system, bringing the immune and hormonal systems back into balance.
Neuroscientist John C. Lilly, father of Flotation Therapy, wrote an incredible book called Programming and Metaprogramming in the Human Biocomputer, where he explains how one’s perspective revolves around their external experiences. By using sensory deprivation and mind-altering substances, Dr. Lilly was able to explore and map an enormous range of altered states of consciousness. Dr. Lilly used these experiments to develop theories on how the mind is structured and programmed, and created a “operating manual” for the mind, outlining ways to overcome mental roadblocks and reprogram the way we think for the better.
Floating can be used as a wonderful tool in bio-hacking our brain and body, due to the unique experiences that can occur when the senses are reduced, decreasing our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response). Meditation and flotation therapy are natural techniques we can use to explore the mind and be able to regulate our cognitive processes. Simply by being aware of your thought patterns and emotions and concentrating on them, you are able to tap into the subconscious part of your mind and explore the roots of who you are. A human has the cognitive complexity to be able to self recognize behavioral programs as they are operating, and choose between them. You may one day get sick of the program which forces you to smoke cigarettes, and attempt to rid yourself of it, for example. The next step is to use the insight you gained in the tank and apply it to your everyday life. Therefore, having flotation therapy be part of your health regimen can enhance your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.