What if you could go into your own world for an hour of the day? Enter a place where you could take a moment, take in the silence, and feel nothing but serenity surrounding you. With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, this idea – this oasis – could be a heavenly gift. I’ll let you in on a little secret: it exists! This gem of a place is known by three names:
- Isolation tanks
- Sensory deprivation tanks
- Float tanks (yup, this one sounds a bit friendlier)
What is a Sensory Deprivation Tank?
Don't be alarmed. Sensory deprivation tank sounds scary, but it really isn't. Try to imagine this:
You enter into a pool of water. It’s shallow. The water is not too hot and not too cold – it’s just right. You lie on your back and float effortlessly, without even trying to stay afloat. The water relaxes your body, you begin to relax, and even close your eyes. Deep breath in, deep breath out – finally a piece of solitude during the day.
A sensory deprivation tank, also known as an isolation tank or float tank, is pretty much what it sounds like. It’s a chamber where you are alone and deprive majority of your senses. It is place to relax and perhaps even meditate. Inside one of these tanks you will find it is:
- Filled with salt water
- Very shallow
- Typically 8ft in length and 3-4 ft wide
Of course, tanks can vary from place to place. I have read about tanks that are the size of mini pools and tanks that are small, to say the least.
What are the Benefits of a Sensory Deprivation Tank?
Sensory deprivation tanks are known for the therapeutic benefits that they provide to the body. A few of which include:
Float tanks are filled with around 800lbs of Epsom salts – this is why you can float effortlessly in these tanks. A key characteristic of Epsom salts is that they are made up of magnesium and sulfate, which are very easily absorbed by the skin. Magnesium and sulfate bring a variety of benefits to the body, like:
- Reducing inflammation
- Relaxes nerves
- Helping the absorption of nutrients
- Assisting with enzyme functions
- Flushing toxins
- Improving skin appearance
- Soothing muscles and limbs
- Improving sleep
- Healing cuts
- Boosting the immune system
- Alkalizing the body
The Epsom salts also help keep the deprivation tanks clean (that’s always an added benefit)!
Pain and StressSensory deprivation tanks help to eliminate stressors from your internal and external environment. The elimination of senses, alongside with the feeling of floating, helps relax the body. In turn, levels of cortisol are reduced and endorphins are released in the body, helping to reduce pain and stress.
Stressors are reduced from the external environment by depriving your senses (get it: deprivation tank). The dark tank, ear plugs, and the body-temperature water help reduce your ability to see, hear, and feel. You become one with the water, one with the tank, and may enter a subconscious state that will eliminate all stress away.
Lower Blood Pressure and Maximizes Blood Flow
Floating in water that is the same temperature as your body will dilate blood vessels. The result is lower blood pressure and maximized blood flow.
Meditation and Clears the Mind
Let’s face it – you’re in a dark chamber, floating in water from 60-90 minutes. It’s only natural that you’ll mind will clear. If you’re lucky, and with practice, you may just enter a state of meditation.
What to Expect You First Time in a Sensory Deprivation Tank
So are you intrigued? If so, there are a few pro-tips/housecleaning rules to look for:
- You will be asked to wash your body before and after your time in the sensory deprivation tank. This will ensure that you enter the tank clean and your body of excess salt afterwards.
- It is a normal custom to enter the tank naked. This helps remove the strain of clothes on your body and will help you feel “one” with the water.
- A normal session last between 60-90 minutes.
- Your first time in a tank, it may take you up to 45 minutes to get comfortable. The more frequently you go, the easier relaxing will become.
- For people who suffer from claustrophobia – many people overcome this fear when visiting a float tank. But, if you don’t think you can overcome this fear, do some research and you might find a company that offers float pools.
- A reputable organization will have a filtration system in place that helps clean the tank, using no toxic chemicals.
Have you been to a float tank before? Share your experience below :)