Do you ever feel like life’s stressors are weighing you down, and you just need a break from everything? If so, a sensory deprivation tank might be just what you need to relax and de-stress! Also known as an isolation or flotation tank, a sensory deprivation tank is a soundproof and dark tank filled with salt water that’s less than a foot deep. The first tank was created by an American physician and neuroscientist, John C. Lilly, in 1954, and it was designed to study the origins of consciousness by cutting off all external stimuli. Nowadays, you can find sensory deprivation tanks in spas and float centers all over the world. Floating in a sensory deprivation tank can offer a range of benefits, including improved muscle relaxation, better sleep, decreased pain, and reduced stress and anxiety.
During a sensory deprivation therapy session (normally one hour), the process is straightforward. You arrive at the spa or flotation center, remove all clothing and jewelry, and shower before entering the tank. Once you’re inside, gently lie back and let the buoyancy of the water help you float. Music is played for the first ten minutes to help you relax, then all external stimulation is removed – including sound, sight, and gravity. The water temperature matches your skin temperature and is nearly saturated with Epsom salt, which provides buoyancy so you can float effortlessly. As you float weightlessly in the silence and darkness, your brain is supposed to enter into a deeply relaxed state. While floating in the sensory deprivation tank, you might experience hallucinations which can lead to enhanced creativity, originality, imagination, and intuition. There’s also evidence that sensory deprivation may improve focus and concentration, and lead to clearer and more precise thinking, all of which can improve learning and enhance performance in various careers and athletics. Music is played again for the last five minutes to signal the end of your session.
A session in a sensory deprivation tank can cost anywhere from $50 to $100, depending on the location. If you want to buy your own tank, it can cost between $10,000 and $30,000.
In addition to treating stress and anxiety-related disorders, it’s effective in treating chronic pain, tension headaches, muscle tension, and stress-related pain. Furthermore, floating in a sensory deprivation tank can induce deep relaxation that improves sleep, leading to improved cardiovascular health. Give it a try and see if it works for you!