Sensory deprivation tanks are temperature-regulated tanks filled with water containing 1000 pounds of Epsom salts for buoyancy. It is soundproof and lightproof and is designed to block out any kind of sensory inputs from you while you are in it. It’s being raved as a new-age wellness trend which is guaranteed to give people 2 hours of solitude with one’s mind.
Floating in sensory deprivation tanks is also known as Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy (REST) or floatation therapy. The first float tank was invented in 1953 by neurophysiologists Dr. John C. Lillly and Dr. Jay T. Shurley at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland. The float tanks available today are more advanced versions primarily meant for relaxation.
Mode Of Action Of Sensory Deprivation Tanks
When you float naked in tanks filled with water that’s close your body temperature in a dark room, it can be terrifying initially. But once you bear with the initial discomfort you will slowly start experiencing the benefits. While floating, you feel relieved from the constant physical stress of gravity on your bones, muscles, and joints.
The Epsom salts in the water keep delivering a large transdermal dose of magnesium which is a scientifically proven natural muscle relaxant. External bodily sensations become zero as your eyes and ears are closed too. Vagal nerve stimulation occurs that slows down your autonomic nervous system leading to lower heart rate, blood pressure, and slower breathing.
Your mind chatter reduces a wave of relaxation engulf your body thanks to rising endorphins, dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin levels. On the other hand hormones like adrenaline and cortisol start falling. Even your brain waves shift to theta frequency of 4—7 Hz which stands for deep meditation or light sleep.1
Benefits Of Sensory Deprivation Tanks
The important benefits of floatation therapy stem from the idea that in an overly-connected world, even a few minutes of no external stimuli can be quite life-changing. Following are the 5 benefits of undergoing this therapy.
1. A Great Way To Relax The Mind And Body
The time you spend alone in a dark room minus any distractions is a great way to quieten anxiety and come to terms with personal issues that need closure. The magnesium-rich salt water can soothe chronic pain, inflammation, migraines, hypertension, muscle tension, fibromyalgia, arthritis, migraines.
2. Enhances Cardiovascular Health
During floatation therapy, your body’s parasympathetic state is activated that’s responsible for repair and regeneration. Your heart and blood vessels don’t exert much force while pumping blood and this state of relaxation boosts your cardiovascular health.
3. Reduces Anxiety And Stress
Individuals suffering from mental health distress seemed to be better in control of their condition after undergoing several sessions of floatation therapy. It’s especially beneficial for those who survived a traumatic life event and have post-traumatic stress disorder.2
4. Gives You Better Sleep Quality
Studies prove that sessions spent in sensory deprivation tank clam the mind and body to such an extent that sleep quality is greatly improved.
5. Heightens Awareness And Mindfulness
The more time you spend with yourself devoid of any distractions or external stimuli, the more attuned you will be with your feelings and thoughts. People claim that it’s easier to adopt meditation as a daily practice after experiencing floatation therapy. It can promote spiritual healing and growth.3
Being in a sensory deprivation tank can be a one-of-a-kind experience. It’s up to you try it out and analyze whether a couple of hours of blissful buoyancy works for you or not.
|↑1||Bood, Sven A., Ulf Sundequist, Anette Kjellgren, Gun Nordstrom, and Torsten Norlander. “Effects of flotation-restricted environmental stimulation technique on stress-related muscle pain: What makes the difference in therapy-attention-placebo or the relaxation response?.” Pain Research and Management 10, no. 4 (2005): 201-209.|
|↑2||Bood, Sven Å., Anette Kjellgren, and Torsten Norlander. “Treating stress-related pain with the flotation restricted environmental stimulation technique: Are there differences between women and men?.” Pain Research and Management 14, no. 4 (2009): 293-298.|
|↑3||Lilly, Cunningham John. Gold, E. J. Tanks for the Memories: Floatation Tank Talks. Gateways/IDHHB, 1995|