By Marco Torres
Original Article: http://www.healthy-holistic-living.com/magnesium-calcium-key-healthy-bones.html?t=JV
By Marco Torres
Original Article: http://www.healthy-holistic-living.com/magnesium-calcium-key-healthy-bones.html?t=JV
This summer, I spent an hour floating in a 4-by-8 isolation tank filled with tepid salt water in a basement in Manassas.
No, this wasn’t a “Silence of the Lambs” scenario. It was an exercise meant to bolster my sanity, not endanger it.
Floating in a tank of skin-temperature water saltier than the Dead Sea is said to induce an ethereal, meditative state — one that doesn’t necessitate furtive handoffs on street corners or haggling with sketchy dudes who listen to Grateful Dead bootlegs.
Flotation therapy businesses have been popping up around the country, including Bethesda, where Kimberly Boone and Tomas Hyrman opened the Hope Floats spa in April, and Manassas, where Stillness Flotation, now called Om Float Spa, debuted last year.
“The tank teaches you things about . . . the noise in your head — stuff that’s toxic and self-deprecating” says Brooks Brinson, who runs Om Float from his Manassas townhouse.
Researchers aren’t sure precisely why floating is restorative. Time in the tank may induce a neurological state similar to sleep, dialing down the sympathetic nervous system — the part of our brains associated with fight or flight — while turning up the parasympathetic nervous system, associated with rest.
Research also demonstrates the many benefits of the “restricted environmental stimulation technique,” or REST, a fancy name for the therapy. Studies show that REST may help people manage pain, battle anxiety and depression, quit smoking and lower blood pressure.
“You lose contact with where your body stops and the water starts,” Brinson says. The company motto: “Relax . . . Rejuvenate . . . Reconnect.”
Some say its curative powers go further.
Anette Kjellgren, a psychology professor who has studied flotation at Karlstad University in Sweden since the 1990s, says floating can help with a laundry list of conditions, including stress, muscular pain, addiction, fibromyalgia and disorders associated with whiplash. The technique can also facilitate traditional psychotherapy and even help address ADHD and autism spectrum disorders, she said in an e-mail interview.
These apparent benefits have yet to be tested rigorously enough to prove flotation’s effectiveness. But some researchers are convinced enough that they have become floaters themselves.
“The first 10 minutes are very long,” says Paul Morgan, a research associate at the University of Pittsburgh and an avid floater. Morgan co-authored a paper showing that, after exercising, floating decreases lactate in muscles faster than just, say, lying down. “Then you have the anxiety of ‘Are my legs still there? Where am I in the tank?’ The next thing I know, I’m waking up,” he said.
“The first time, they forgot and left me in the tank,” Kjellgren said. Several hours in the tank offered “a very intense and interesting experience,” she said, and she has since floated hundreds of times.
“If they had taken me out after 45 minutes, as planned, I would probably never have become a flotation tank researcher,” she said.
For me, the experience was like Zen meditation: boring at first, then over in what seemed like seconds. Suspended in about two feet of 94-degree water filled with Epsom salt, I didn’t just feel relaxed, I felt like the giant baby at the end of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
But the positive effects of floating — a sense of peace, clarity and general good humor — didn’t stay in the basement. After I got out of Brinson’s tank and showered, I figured that was it.
“Your float is not done yet,” he warned.
My hour-long drive back to Washington proved him right. Though I found my return to everyday existence slightly irritating, colors — of cars, of buildings, of the sky — were more lush. The world seemed enhanced, like watching HDTV. Driving I-66, I felt like Neo fighting Agent Smith at the conclusion of “The Matrix,” navigating one of America’s most congested regions but feeling like I was lane-shifting in slow motion.
When I stopped to get gas and a snack, plantain chips never tasted as plantainy. I’m no banterer, but when I called my stockbroker from the road, I asked her whether she was having a wonderful day. And when I left a voice mail for myself at The Post so I wouldn’t forget a story idea, I cracked up. It’s me, I thought, leaving a message — for me!
Author: Justin Moyer
FLOTATION tanks, once associated with sensory-deprivation experiments in the 1950's and a decade later, with psychedelic self-realization schemes, have become increasingly popular tools to combat pain and reduce stress.
The tanks, typically nine-foot-long fiberglass pods or boxes filled with shallow, skin-temperature salt water, have been around in small numbers for nearly 40 years, largely as research devices.
Now, many people are installing tanks in their homes to help them relax. And in the past five years university researchers in Ohio, New York, Washington State and British Columbia have used the tanks to treat patients with arthritis, hypertension and cerebral palsy. Psychologists are recommending them to reduce stress, enhance athletic performance and modify behavior - helping people to stop smoking, for example, or to lose weight.
Flotation tanks still have their limitations, however. ''Warm, moist heat and reduced stress on joints are excellent forms of pain management, but floating is not a mainline therapy for rheumatoid arthritis at the moment,'' said Floyd Pennington, a vice president of the Arthritis Foundation, a national research and educational group with headquarters in Atlanta.
Increasingly, however, people stressed out by life's daily toils are turning to floating for relief. Tank sales have more than doubled in the past five years, although total number sold is still small, about 450 a year worldwide, according to the Flotation Tank Association. In addition, there are about 100 commercial floatation centers around the country, which charge between $20 and $50 for a one-hour session.
''I feel my creativity is really opened up after I float,'' said Adriel Heisey, a 31-year-old corporate pilot for the Navajo Nation in Window Rock, Ariz. ''My emotional ups and downs have moderated.''
Mr. Heisey, whose tank folds up to become a twin-size platform bed, said that he bought his first tank last year, but he hasn't broadcast that fact. ''It's so out of the mainstream, I don't tell a lot of people I have it,'' he said.
In using flotation tanks, the aim is to eliminate virtually all external stimulation and to create an environmental cocoon that reduces stress and tension. Physicians who use floatation tanks in treatment say that floating stimulates the production of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers.
The tanks are pools of saturated salt water, about 15 inches deep, encased with a clamshell or rectangular hatch that makes the units completely dark. About 1,100 pounds of Epsom salts are dissolved in 130 gallons of water, creating a personal Dead Sea for the floaters, who bob like corks flat on their backs. Unlike a hot tub, in which the hot water raises a bather's heart rate, the tank water is kept at normal skin temperature, about 94 degrees, virtually eliminating any sensation of hot or cold after a few minutes.
''Hot tubs are much more of a social thing,'' said Alison Whittaker, a 34-year-old fund-raiser in Corte Madera, Calif., who has owned a tank for 10 years. ''This is more of a spiritual experience. Usually, you float alone.''
Lying on your back in a silent, pitch-black tank (the floater also wears earplugs) is unnerving at first, and not recommended for anyone with claustrophobia. Experienced floaters say it takes a few one-hour sessions, the usual float time, to feel completely at ease. ''It's so relaxing that I've had people fall asleep in the tank or go off into some kind of meditative state,'' said Ms. Whittaker.
Flotation tanks are finding a broader market. Along with researchers, now individuals, health clubs, tanning salons, hospitals and physicians in private practice are buying them, usually for between $1,500 and $8,300. Enrichment Enterprises in Babylon, L.I., the nation's largest manufacturer, sold 175 tanks last year, compared with 100 in 1987.
''We have doctors who prescribe us to their patients,'' said Claire Coutier, an owner of Tranquility Place, a stress-management center in Santa Clara, Calif. In the past three years more than 2,000 people have used its tank, she said.
Nonetheless, floating has an image problem. ''In some people's minds, it's still a kind of flaky California fad,'' said Dr. Peter Suedfeld, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and a leading flotation researcher.
The so-called sensory deprivation tanks of the 1950's studied people's reactions to extended periods of isolation, driving some volunteers bonkers in the process. Contemporary tanks, equipped with stereo, interior lights and underwater jets, are more user-friendly. Because studies have shown that floaters in deeply relaxed states learn faster and retain more information, tanks are available with videotape players built into their hatches.
New studies on the effects of floating have produced intriguing results. In a recent pilot study at State University of New York at Stony Brook, L.I., for example, six young children with cerebral palsy who floated for 20 minutes a day over a two-month period increased their mobility and slept more soundly at night. In a separate study, Stony Brook researchers found that 15 patients with chronic hypertension reduced their blood pressure significantly after floating.
Floating may also speed recovery from injury. Two years ago, Frank Calfa was struck in the head with a wooden beam while building a church library in Old Westbury, L.I. As a result, Mr. Calfa, a 30-year-old engineer from Staten Island, suffered severe migraine headaches that failed to respond to the drugs his doctor prescribed.
''I was at wit's end,'' said Mr. Calfa, who as a last resort tried floating at a commercial float center in Bohemia, L.I. Since then, he said, ''The pain has lessened to the point where I only have to float about once every seven weeks. I feel great when I get out of there.''
Reaching that exalted state takes a little time and the willingness to learn how to relax, floaters and researchers said. ''You won't just step into the water and reach nirvana,'' said Dr. Wilfred B. Graham, a chiropractor in Ithaca, N.Y., who bought his tank two years ago for his own use. ''But afterward, you almost feel like you're on a high. You're so elated.''
Author: Eric Shmitt
Photo: Kara Cooper, Kara Cooper Photography.
On a Friday evening in May, 1,000 people lined the steps of Grace Cathedral, clutching blankets, pillows, yoga mats, eye masks and sleeping bags, awaiting entry to a sold-out event. A latecomer bounded up the steps, her disco jacket reflecting the scene in thousands of silver sequins. Her outfit offered flashes of color against the Patagonia-vested seniors and twentysomethings outfitted for camping trips.
Everyone here paid roughly $25 to experience a “sound bath.” That’s the popular name for the highly relaxing, deeply meditative and occasionally psychedelic experience involving practitioners playing crystal bowls, Tibetan singing bowls and planetary gongs, among other healing and ritualistic instruments on the night’s lineup. Guests absorbed this cosmic concert while lying bundled up on the floor. The pop-up sound bath is one of many eccentric meditation experiences that San Franciscans are seeking out — and, popularity-wise, one of the fastest growing.
Once checked in, attendees spread their sleeping gear in the aisles of the cathedral, awaiting instruction from host Sound Meditation San Francisco. The group, led by San Francisco organizer Simona Asinovski and Los Angeles sound healer Guy Douglas, is bringing large-scale sound baths to sacred and uplifting spaces around the city. “We’re clear about not having any religious or spiritual context behind what we do,” said Asinovski, who met Douglas on Venice Beach in Los Angeles. “It’s just about you and your experience.”
The concept of healing through sound and music has been around for 70,000 years, said Silvia Nakkach, a Grammy-nominated musician, author and educator at the California Institute of Integral Studies, where she’s run the Sound, Voice, and Music Healing Certificate program for the past decade. “The shaman was the first one using sound to achieve energy in the body and mind,” she said.
Asinovski and Douglas first tested their pop-up sound bath concept on the public last December, when they sold out 350 tickets in 15 minutes. Asinovski said they’ve dramatically increased their audience with each event this year — from 500 to 800 guests at the San Francisco Bahá’í Center and the Hall of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, and now they’ve hit 1,000 attendees. Their next sound bath will be at St. Mary’s Cathedral.
Douglas became a sound healer after experiencing a sound bath 10 years ago and wanting to help others feel similarly recharged. He said sound baths put people into a “forced meditation” state. “It really pulls out the mind chatter,” he said, “and allows you to tap into that zero point of meditation.” The Grace Cathedral sound bath (or “Holistic Chamber of Sound” as Asinovski and Douglas call it) is the group’s biggest event yet. Kathryn Goetzke, founder of the depression research and education foundation iFred, describes the sound bath as a visceral experience: “It really went through your entire body,” she said. “I could feel it in every cell.”
The noises resonating from these instruments are so powerful they occasionally trigger unusual light shows in the mind. Another Grace Cathedral attendee, writer and speaker Veronica Belmont, said that she experienced “behind the eyelid” visuals. “I got kaleidoscopic effects that changed with the tonality or the sound that was occurring,” she said.
Tibetan singing bowls are ancient instruments originally used in ritualistic ceremonies, Nakkach said, while crystal bowls are more modern inventions. They’re potent because they release “an incredible amount of harmonic frequencies at the same time.”
“You’re listening to thousands of notes being delivered,” Nakkach said. When sound enters the body, she explains, it might alter cellular tension or trigger a relaxation response in the brain. Delivered properly, she said, sound can influence neurotransmitters that help the immune system.
“Sound is the most powerful and the fastest energy to change energy, and to change emotional states,” said the former music psychotherapist. She warns that it’s important to experience sound healing from someone who has studied the science behind the practice. In the wrong hands, certain sounds or durations of performances can trigger things like depression or addiction, she said.
Sound bath pop-ups are just one stop on the journey to the experiential side of meditation. San Franciscans seeking off-the-beaten path meditation practices also take pilgrimages to the Integratron, just outside Joshua Tree in San Bernardino County. It’s touted as an acoustically perfect wooden structure, and it put sound baths into public consciousness starting in 2001, when owners Joanne, Nancy and Patty Karl started hosting them, using 19 crystal singing bowls in what the Karls say is “a remarkable soundscape environment.”
“It is trademarked and possibly did set a precedent for the experience,” write sisters Joanne and Nancy Karl in an email. “However, utilizing sound for spiritual practice and healing has been around for eons.” They add that Tom Kenyon, founder of Acoustic Brain Research, coined the term “sound bath.” “Tom used crystal singing bowls to benefit his patients in his psychotherapy practice,” they write.
The Integratron’s white sunken-Saturn dome, which was built by George Van Tassel, a man who believed in energy forces, time travel and alien life forms, is a popular photo op on Instagram. It gained mass recognition when Anthony Bourdain did a “No Reservations” segment there in 2011, and the magic of the place has been touted by members of Fleet Foxes and Arcade Fire. But the Karl sisters said it’s word of mouth that attracts over 1,000 people every month.
But there is an option closer to home: Adventurous meditators are also making appointments to float in the human-size pods populating San Francisco’s sensory deprivation tank centers. ESPN did a segment with then-Warriors teammates Stephen Curry and Harrison Barnes dipping into the Epson salt-filled float tanks at Reboot Float Spa, which founder Michael Garrett said he launched after having a profound ayahuasca trip. Float Matrix has been a Nob Hill fixture for nearly a decade, but owner Kane Mantyla said he’s seen an explosion in interest in the past two years.
Much like a sound bath, when you’re in a float tank, “the brain goes into a state where it emits theta waves,” said Mantyla, referring to the state commonly associated with deep meditation. He said upward of 300 people book sessions at Float Matrix every month — whether it’s for the novelty of the experience, the props celebrity MMA commentator Joe Rogan has given floatation tanks, or simply the need to discover new ways of relaxing mind and body.
“We’re living under chronic stress,” Mantyla said. “We don’t have the resources to process through all the stimulus. Floatation is a spectacular tool that allows your body to integrate at accelerated rates. The effect of that integration really is feeling like a kid again.”
By Jennifer Maerz
3D printing and architecture are two fields that are slowly but surely converging together. We have begun to see many architects and engineers all over the globe really move forward in utilizing 3D printing in the construction of buildings. It’s just a matter of time before the technology begins being used on a grander scale. For one company, called Meïsō, 3D printing has allowed for the construction of a type of dwelling we have not seen quite yet within this industry, and the end results turned out quite phenomenal.
No it wasn’t a 3D printed house, nor a 3D printed apartment building or estate. With the help of their co-founder, Alexandre Kournwsky, Meïsō created a 3D printed meditation cocoon, unlike anything we have seen before.
“As an industrial designer (ENSCI les Ateliers), I am very interested in meditation and how technology can help us achieve this particular and healthy state of mind,” Kournwsky tells 3DPrint.com. “I’ve discovered floatation tanks and realized it was not well known in France. I decided to create a float center in Paris, but instead of buying already made float tanks that were quite expensive, I wanted to make my own. I didn’t have much money and I had to start from something. I had a MakerBot 3D printer under my desk that I used for my work and I decided to use it to build the first molds of the tank’s shells.”
So Meïsō spent 3 full months 3D printing 500 individual bricks, which when combined together form the 3D printed float tank. Once all of these brick were completely finished, they were assembled, prior to being coated in order to ensure a smooth finish. It took the team about 2 additional weeks to coat and sand the float tank, before painting it and then coating it in fiberglass. This ultimately became the company’s first mold in the design process.
“This 3D printed piece enabled us to make our first shell that has been used to make our real mold (in fiber glass), that has been used to make a second tank and will be used again and again for the next tanks to come,” Kournwsky tells us.
The process of 3D printing this tank saved the company a tremendous amount of money in the fabrication process. It cost Meïsō approximately €4,000 to create the 3D printed pre-mold, another €1,000 to fabricate the industrial mold, and it allowed them to save an incredible €60,000 in the process.
“An already made float tank costs approximately 30,000 euro,” he said, “but the tank, the cost of a sound-proofed, salt-proofed, water-proofed room, fully equipped with the shower, ect., is between 70-90,000 euros.”
The prototype is now ready to be installed in the La Paillasse float space in Paris, which will be opening to the public in March of this year. Anyone who is curious about trying these unique float tanks is welcomed to do so. Whether you are someone interested in achieving alternative states of consciousness or someone just curious about eactly what these float tanks are capable of, it is recommended that everyone try these tanks out at least once.
Some individuals who may be interested in used these tanks, as Kournwsky tells us, are those who have an interest in these methods of meditation. This includes people with chronic back pain, those suffering from stress who need an efficient way of relaxing their bodies and minds, pregnant women in their last trimester, and athletes who either need a rest after a significant physical activity or want to partake in guided imagery as mental training.
“From what we have seen so far, men are as much interested by floatation than women,” says Kournwsky. “The young generation (25-35) and the post 68’s generation seem to be more interested than the 40-50 (generation).”
Regardless, this goes to show how much money 3D printing can save companies whether it is in the production of large scale buildings or more simplistic cocoon-like dwellings like these float tanks. What do you think about Meiso’s unique use of 3D printing? Discuss in the 3D printed float tank forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video of the 3D printed float tank being constructed below.
by Eddie Krassenstein