The Romans soaked in large communal baths built over hot springs. The Dead Sea attracted travelers and visitors from all over the Mediterranean for thousands of years, where it’s extremely salty solution was revered for its healing powers. Around 30 B.C., even Cleopatra was floating in the Dead sea, reaping its health benefits.
An entire city, Venice, was built to float on the water, and many people there live their lives upon gondolas that drift up and down the canals. There were and are entire groups of people in the South Pacific that live their lives on boats that cruise from island to island. And the Polynesian people built their culture upon outrigger canoes with sails that guided them across the vast Pacific Ocean to discover new lands.
In Jamaica, by Montego Bay, there's a special bay that many of the locals visit early in the morning when it first opens. The water in that bay is revered for its healing waters. I went there everyday for 2 weeks, and saw many of the same people, generally older, floating and bobbing through the water. I think part of their youthful looks came from living in Jamaica. And the other part came from the water they immersed themselves in every. single. day. That bay is well known and I believe has been well known for a long time.
Jump forward a bit to modern day...there's sailing, fishing, canoeing, windsurfing, snorkeling and free-diving, water polo, extreme floating (I might have made that one up), and surfing. I can say from experience that even when the waves were small, I'd still take my surfboard out to my favorite surf spot in Hilo, Hawai'i and just sit on the board in the water. I'd stay there for a good hour, catch one wave, and call it a day. I felt so energized just floating in the open ocean, watching whales breach in the distance or seabirds fly over. I would even go float during the sunrise, and stay out on the water until the sun was far above the horizon.
All these cultures, past and present, revered the water surrounding them, and often went to float in these waters to bathe, relax, gather with family and friends, and heal themselves. In many cultures water was seen as holy, pure, and essential to any spiritual enlightenment or perfection of an art. There’s ritual baths across various religions, sweat lodges to purify and cleanse the body and mind, and therapeutic methods involving steam rooms, hot springs baths, and ice baths.
Why are we so captivated by water? Why does it feel so good just to go to the beach, slip into the shallows, lay back, and float on the calm sea?
One reason may be because the human body consists of 60-70% water (depending on your age, gender, and fitness level). At birth, water accounted for almost 80% of your body! Water lubricates your joints, helps distribute nutrients, minerals, oxygen, and energy throughout your body, and it removes waste products that your organs release. We sweat water to regulate our body temperature, so water acts like an internal air conditioner.
Even the brain is 75% water. If you start to feel a headache coming on, the first thing you should check is whether you’re drinking enough water. If not, your brain, and your body, may be dehydrated. And the more water we lose, the more our bodies deteriorate. Under 50% water concentration, we die. We are basically water, in the human form.
Our world is ¾ water, our bodies are mostly water, and we’re born from a watery and warm womb. It’s no wonder that we humans are attracted to water. It’s an innate behavior, given to us from the start, before our birth. We crave a warm, relaxing, freeing, environment… a place we can curl up or stretch out and let go of all the tension that just being alive places on us.
Floating is not a new fad. We’re born to float – whether it be in the womb, in the ocean, or in space. You could say we have a ‘Blue Mind’, so believes Wallace J. Nichols, a marine biologist. He expand on the Blue Mind by stating it’s, “a mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction within life in the moment,” – that’s triggered when we’re in or near water. In his book, Blue Mind: The Surprising Science that Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make you Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do. If his book sounds interesting to you, please check your local bookstore or your favorite online shopping center, it’s definitely worth a read.
In the end, you don’t have to go float in the a sensory deprivation tank if you have a place like the Dead Sea, an ocean, or a hot springs bath near you. But if you’re like me, in the middle of the United States, at least 900 miles or more away from any source of healing water or ocean, a float tank comes in handy. Nor do you need water to reach a mindful state or heal yourself. Rather, water enhances, helps, and can expand upon any practice you undertake – physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual.
But...if you want a space all to yourself, completely deprived of senses so you can focus only on yourself, a float tank is the perfect setting.
You can exercise in water, meditate by or in or on it, sail across it, drink it, or float in it. It’s your choice, and your body. You decide which method is best for you. Blue Oceans Float will be here for you, however, should you choose to float. Take the step to re-connecting with your ancient ancestors and the paths they took to heal themselves. If they were floating back then, why couldn’t it still work for us today?
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Nichols, Wallace J., and Celine Cousteau. Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected and Better at What You Do. New York: Back Bay /Little, Brown, 2015. Print.
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