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Can Float Pod Boost Creativity?

I have written in this space before about how float pod sessions can help with various health issues:

There are, then, a number of ways in which floating in isolation can help to heal what ails you. But what if you have no anxiety, no insomnia, and no pain? What if you are the very picture of good health and mental and emotional balance? Can floating do anything for you? In fact, there are researchers who have shown that floating, which they call REST (for restricted environmental stimulation technique), boosts creativity.

According to the Psychology Dictionary, a “twilight state” is your lack of awareness of your current environment. If it occurs in someone who doesn’t expect or want it, it is usually pathological: a transitory narrowing of consciousness that often involves visual and auditory hallucinations. But the relaxed state just before sleep is also considered a twilight state, and most of us have experienced the phenomenon of finding the answer to a difficult problem in the pre-sleep twilight state. That’s why creative people, from standup comedians to physicists, generally keep note-taking materials on their nightstands.

The float pod also induces a twilight state. When you are floating in the soundproof, darkened chamber of the float pod, there’s nothing to watch and nothing to read. You don’t even feel the effects of gravity, and you begin to lose any sense of where you end and the rest of the world begins. Some users report feeling as if they are the only person left on the planet, which may sound frightening, but can be very pleasant when it only lasts an hour. The resulting lack of focus can set your mind free. This is why, if you go into the float pod with an intractable problem in your mind, you are likely to make real progress in solving it. You may come out with a new way of looking at the problem, a previously unsuspected connection between components of the problem, or a visualization of how life might look with the problem solved.

A 1987 article, “Enhancement of Scientific Creativity by Floatation Rest (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique),” in Journal of Environmental Psychology described float pod’s ability to put people in a twilight state. Five psychology faculty members each engaged in six 90-minute sessions of sitting quietly in their offices and six one-hour sessions of REST. After each session they dictated ideas about their research into tape recorders. The subjects reported entering twilight states during REST but not during the office sessions. They found that the ideas generated during REST were “better” (i.e., more creative) than those generated during office sessions. Furthermore, “Mood ratings showed that REST was associated with trends towards a higher level of vigor and lower levels of tension, anger, depression, fatigue and confusion. These findings support the prediction that REST would facilitate high-level creative behavior and positive affect.”

If you’re faced with a difficult problem or a major creative task, a series of float pod sessions may be just what you need to make progress. Book one today.

Image: “images” by Nicola Preti. Creative Commons license.