You may have heard about sensory deprivation tanks or isolation tanks before. Both of these are commonly referred to as “float tanks,” a type of restricted environmental stimulation therapy. What are float tanks, and are they worth your money and time?
What Is A Float Tank?
A float tank or sensory deprivation tank is a way to achieve personal meditation, by restricting environmental stimulation and allowing the body to reach a natural, therapeutic, low-frequency state that’s otherwise not possible. This dark and soundproof tank is filled with 10 inches of water and 800 pounds of epsom salt. When emerged in the salt water your body becomes incredibly buoyant. This buoyancy creates a sense of rest and relaxation that calms the muscles and soothes the skin. The removal of external stimuli, including light and sound, relaxes the nervous system and creates space for you to transcend to new levels of consciousness.
While the initial research into float tanks might have been somewhat controversial because of its creator’s propensity for using LSD and hallucinogens, modern float tanks are entirely free of drugs or negative influence. Commercial float tanks have been studied since the 1970s and have been used for both physical and mental health benefits.
These days there are many float tank centers, and finding a sensory deprivation tank is pretty easy. Spas and float centers offer float tank therapy all across the world, and their increase in popularity has been because of noted studies in the scientific community. Time spent in a float tank has a host of health benefits such as decreased stress, decreased pain, sleep promotion, full muscle relaxation, reduced anxiety, depression, and more.
The Effects Of Sensory Deprivation
Float tanks work by heating the water to match the temperature of your skin and the air, creating a holistic sense of deprivation that’s both relaxing and meditative. With the natural buoyancy of the saltwater due to the Epsom salts, your body floats. You lay in the tank nude, and are cut off from outside stimulation including sight, sound, and even gravity. When the tank’s lid is closed you float in weightless silence, allowing your body to enter a deeply relaxed state that’s otherwise very difficult to achieve.
Your float tank session is also tailored to you, so if you find the lack of sound or light too disorienting you can listen to music or turn on the light.
Sensory deprivation tanks are a unique sort of therapy that promote positive brain effects, such as welcomed hallucinations or enhanced artistic creativity. Many people report positive hallucinations and effective dreams while slipping between sleep and wakefulness in a float tank, and the sensory deprivation nature can even induce a psychosis experience in some users.
The meditation that’s evoked via the sensory deprivation methods of the float tank feels different for everyone. Aside from boosting creativity, float tanks can increase originality, intuition, and imagination. They relax both the body and the mind, melting away the stress that builds up from home life, work, commutes, and more. There is evidence that float tanks and sensory deprivation can improve focus and leave you feeling clearer and more precise. Float tanks can improve and even enhance learning performance at work or school, and make you feel more active and relaxed to continue your career.
Float tanks can also improve athletic performance and overall well-being. The effects of sensory deprivation tanks have been found to be effective in improving recovery after strenuous physical activity. Because of pure muscle relaxation and low-frequency relaxation, float tanks can help dissipate lactic acid and restore torn muscles.
The Benefits Of Float Tanks
There are a host of psychological, physical, and medical benefits associated with float tanks. Sensory deprivation tanks can help treat many disorders such as chronic pain, insomnia, stress, anxiety, depression, and more. Many scientific studies have shown that the zero-gravity floatation of a float tank in a single-hour session can significantly reduce anxiety and improve mood. If you experience consistent and impactful stress, a single float tank session might be able to do wonders for you.
Those with generalized anxiety disorders might notice their irritability and fatigue lessen, as float tanks promote better natural sleep. Float tank sessions can also treat tension headaches, chronic pain, muscle tension, general soreness, and stiffness. These sessions have helped patients restore their range of motion and treat whiplash, as well as reduce the mental stress associated with the causes of these conditions.
Your skin and muscles absorb the health benefits of magnesium sulfate while in the session, while the water helps regulate your heartbeat, restore the strength of your hair and bones, and dissipate lactic acid. Whether you stay completely awake or you fall asleep during your session, you will achieve the same level of health benefits. Epsom salts promote wellness, relaxation, and healing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Float Tanks Make Me Happier?
Float tank users have reported feelings of intense and overwhelming happiness after their sessions, as well as pure euphoria. Float tank sessions improve a person’s well-being and create a holistic sort of meditation.
Are Float Tank Sessions Expensive?
Home tanks can be very expensive, with single float tanks costing as much as $30,000. In contrast, the average spa or float tank center will charge you between $50 and $100 for a single float tank session.
What Should I Expect From The Process?
Float tank sessions are supposed to be relaxing from beginning to end and include toiletries, private showers, and toilets, as well as music. Music typically plays at the beginning and end of your session but you can also request it the whole way through. It’s recommended you eat something 30 minutes before your session to help you relax. You should also avoid caffeine before your session. We do not recommend shaving or waxing prior to the session.
Do Float Tank Sessions Really Reduce Stress?
During your float tank session, you will enter a state of complete calm that exists between sleeping and waking. This low-frequency level of relaxation helps your consciousness turn off those pesky intrusive thoughts so that you can enjoy all the health benefits of your session.
Is It Okay To Fall Asleep During My Session?
It’s okay and totally safe! Some patients worry about “wasting” their session by falling asleep, but sometimes this is necessary. Your body and mind want to achieve perfect relaxation and equilibrium during your session, and sometimes this means you will fall asleep.