Floating in Quiet Darkness

Welcome to the online press kit for Floating in Quiet Darkness

Floating in Quiet Darkness

In their new book, floatation tank pioneers Glenn and Lee Perry reveal how this space for deep meditation rejuvenates our awareness and creativity


Floatation tanks are the ideal portal to rejuvenation for everyone from pro athletes and celebrities to stressed-out entrepreneurs and creative artists seeking a distraction-free environment for deep meditation, relaxation and self-discovery. In their new book, "Floating in Quiet Darkness: How the Floatation Tank Has Changed Our Lives and Is Changing the World,” floatation tank pioneers Glenn and Lee Perry explain why.

Glenn and Lee created the first commercially available floatation tanks in 1972; ever since, they have been perfecting them with their Samadhi Tank Company and spreading the word on the benefits of floating. “Floating in Quiet Darkness” includes a selection of vivid personal narratives and photos depicting the depth and breadth of experiences people encounter when floating.

The floatation tank, also known as the isolation tank, was invented in the 1950s as part of scientific research probing the frontiers of human consciousness. Today the tank offers myriad benefits for our over-stimulated, distracted, and stressed-out society, including giving harried humans a time and place to engage in the deepest kind of meditation.

“Many people today experience being stressed or not having enough time away from phones, emails, Zoom meetings and news updates.” Glenn says. “Incessant inputs and internal mental chatter crowd out our ability to think clearly, focus and reflect on what matters most. The tank provides a unique space that allows us to be with our thoughts, our intentions, our deeper self. We become much more present.”

Made famous by celebrities such as Joe Rogan and in pop staples such as “Stranger Things,” floatation tanks are soundproof, lightproof enclosures with less than one foot of water heated to skin temperature. Epsom salt dissolved in the water allows a person to float effortlessly in what feels like zero gravity.

“Floating in quiet darkness with no outside distractions allows adventurous souls to reboot the brain, access a sense of deep calm and reconnect with childlike creativity,” says Lee Perry.

A brief history of float tanks

In the 1950s, scientists wondered what would happen if people were cut off from all sensory stimulation and interactions. Dr. John Lilly created the first isolation tank in 1954 at the National Institutes of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Lilly, whose experiences were fictionalized in the 1980 science fiction film “Altered States,” discovered that the brain does not shut down when cut off from outside stimuli, but becomes highly active and creative.

Glenn was working as a computer programmer at Xerox in the early 1970s when he first tried Lilly’s invention. Previously so shy that he avoided talking to more than one person at a time, he emerged from the tank able to recount his experiences to a group without feeling nervous.

“I thought: if something could make me able to open my mouth in front of a group of people —wow, it must be really incredible!” he recalls in “Floating in Quiet Darkness.”

In 1972 Glenn designed a prototype isolation tank based upon Lilly’s specifications, selling a few to friends. Lilly suggested the name Samadhi to Lee and Glenn; Samadhi is the Sanskrit word for the deepest state of meditative contemplation. In 1974 Glenn and Lee developed and began selling commercial floatation tanks.

Convinced of the tank’s ability to change people’s consciousness for the better, the Perrys began offering floating to first-timers at their California home that year, and opened the first commercial floatation tank center in 1979. They have spent their lives perfecting distraction-free tanks used in hundreds of floatation tank centers worldwide.

Creative floating with your inner child

Dr. Alison Gopnik, a child psychology professor at UC Berkeley, has studied how young children solve problems like scientists — by thinking without the constraints we acquire later in life; what many refer to as “outside the box.” One reason: children have less developed default mode networks— the brain connections adults use to track sensory input and correlate them with past experiences.

Long-term meditators have a less-active default mode network, but it takes them years to achieve this state, Gopnik notes.

The floatation tank allows adults to access this state, Glenn says. “The reason children are so good at learning is because they're present and are able to focus. That’s where creativity comes from,” he says. “The tank is the perfect environment for this.”

Optimizing performance through magnified meditation

University athletic departments, professional sports teams, and computer coders all use floatation tanks to access higher levels of performance through meditation, notes Josh Leibner, one of Lee’s three adult children. Some examples:

* Two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry and NFL player Carl Lawson use tanks for rest and recovery.
* NFL teams including the New England Patriots, Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints use floating as a way to increase players’ quality of sleep and aid recovery.
* For Super Bowl XLIX, both the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks rented a local float spa in the week leading up to the event.
* Track and field superstar Carl Lewis used in-tank visualization techniques to prepare himself for his gold medal long jump at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Floatation tanks also provide a form of mental training that’s beneficial in demanding professions such as software engineering. Glenn recalls how using the tank in his earlier career as a systems programmer allowed him to debug code “by being able to see it clearly.”

Instant vacation on demand

For centuries, people around the world have engaged in practices such as yoga and meditation “to transcend physical and mental phenomena, and realize a state of consciousness in which nothing is happening,” Glenn notes. Floating in quiet darkness gives people access to this state.

“The rest, relaxation and rejuvenation are so profound that the floating experience is like taking a vacation in an hour,” Lee says.

A place to face and overcome fear

“Floating in quiet darkness can be fearful to some people until they understand they are totally in control of the situation,” Lee says. “They should use it however it is most comfortable for them; they can leave the door open or exit whenever they like. As their mental chatter subsides, they can access a deep sense of serenity, self-awareness and increased creativity.”

“We all have fears, especially today, and what better place to look at them and deal with them because we can do it at our own rate of speed.”

After a year of pandemic and stress, floatation tanks hold tremendous potential for helping people be more calm, centered, and creative.


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PRESS RELEASE 1/28/21 Floating in Quiet Darkness

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