POLICE Magazine

SEP 2018

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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98 POLICE SEPTEMBER 2018 ter that contains around 1,000 pounds of dissolved Epsom salt. is is called a flo- tation tank or a sensory deprivation tank. e air and water in these tanks is heated to skin temperature and, generally, the chamber is absent of light and sound. As the user, you simply lie supine in the tank while the salt water buoys your body. You float on top of the water for approximately 45 minutes to an hour. During this time, your body feels weightless so, in essence, it has nothing to "do," and the perfectly balanced temperature combined with the absence of light and sound mean that your senses have nothing to "do" either. As a result, you can purely and deeply relax. PERSONAL EXPERIENCE Right now, you may be thinking that your mind would run wild if your body and your senses had nothing to do. But, I can assure you that my first experience with the flota- tion tank was much better than I could ever have anticipated. I felt truly weightless and relaxed. It did take several minutes for my mind to quiet down, but, once it did, the ex- perience was like a floating meditation. As a 35-year meditation practitioner, I know that meditation can be hard to under- stand, learn and continue to practice. I left my first floating session convinced that the flotation tank can assist you with getting to that quiet place in your mind. Additionally, I slept deeply that night, and I experienced a great sense of well-being that continued into the next day. is continues to be my experience when I float. In fact, I benefited from the experience so much that I recommended it to a fellow veteran law enforcement officer who is also a good friend of mine. Now he goes floating even more than me. He purposely sched- ules his time in the tank on his first day off at the end of his long work week. is prac- tice helps him to reset and de-stress before enjoying his days off with his wife. He has told me that he loves the tank and will con- tinue the practice even after retirement. THE PROVEN BENEFITS OF FLOATING Before planning my first floating visit, I did my research by reading the relevant literature, watching video interviews with experts, and speaking to sports scientists. I learned that the sensory deprivation tank has been around since the late 1950s. Neuroscientist John C. Lilly, M.D., is cred- ited with creating the first isolation tank where he studied the benefits of floating in isolation. Since then, there have been a plethora of anecdotal and scientifically backed studies that have analyzed the benefits of using the flotation tank. is information shows that floating: • Reduces stress • Improves sleep • Reduces anxiety • Decreases pain • Enhances the feeling of well-being • Assists with relaxation • Reduces blood pressure • Balances the autonomic nervous system • Assists with recovery Officer Fitness rough my research, I also learned that many professional and collegiate athletes use the flotation tank to help re- lax muscles, reduce tension, lessen stress, and assist with their overall recovery pro- cess. In addition, members of the elite military community have been utilizing the flotation tank to assist with resetting their sleep patterns and helping them recover from the effects of concussions. Flotation therapy has enjoyed incredible reviews from both camps. MAKING FLOATING A PART OF YOUR RECOVERY REGIMEN With all this said, I realize that not ev- eryone in law enforcement has access to a place that offers flotation tanks. Even though the practice has been around for decades and is used by elite athletes and military members, it has only been work- ing its way into the mainstream for about 10 years. But, as my wife says, flotation centers are like cupcake stores and Cross- Fit boxes—they used to be a novelty and then, before you knew it, there were sev- eral within driving distance. So, if you do have access to a flotation center or one ends up coming to your area PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

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