A sensory deprivation tank, also called an isolation tank or flotation tank, is used for restricted environmental stimulation therapy (REST). It is a dark, soundproof tank that is filled with a foot or less of salt water. Their increase in popularity may be due in part to the scientific evidence. Studies suggest time spent floating in a sensory deprivation tank may have some benefits in healthy people, such as muscle relaxation, better sleep, decrease in pain, and decreased stress and anxiety.
The water in a sensory deprivation tank is heated to skin temperature and nearly saturated with Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate), providing buoyancy so you float more easily. You enter the tank nude and are cut off from all outside stimulation, including sound, sight, and gravity when the tank’s lid or door is closed. As you float weightless in the silence and darkness, the brain is supposed to enter into a deeply relaxed state. Sensory deprivation tank therapy is said to produce several effects on the brain, ranging from hallucinations to enhanced creativity.
There is some evidence that sensory deprivation may improve focus and concentration, and may also lead to clearer and more precise thinking. Besides, Flotation has been found to be effective in reducing anxiety. A 2018 study showed that a single one-hour session in a sensory deprivation tank was capable of a significant reduction in anxiety and improvement in mood in the 50 participants with stress- and anxiety-related disorders. A 2016 study of 46 people who self-reported generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) found that it reduced GAD symptoms, such as depression, sleep difficulties, irritability, and fatigue.
The various effects of sensory deprivation tank therapy on athletic performance are well documented. It has been found effective in speeding up recovery after strenuous physical training by decreasing blood lactate in a study of 24 college students. In addition, The effect of sensory deprivation tank therapy on chronic pain has been confirmed by several studies. It is shown to be effective in treating tension headaches, muscle tension, and pain.
Flotation session process
Though the process may vary slightly depending on the flotation center, a session in a sensory deprivation tank usually goes as follows:
- You arrive at the flotation center or spa, showing up early if it’s your first visit.
- Remove all of your clothing and jewelry.
- Shower before entering the tank.
- Enter the tank and close the door or lid.
- Gently lie back and let the buoyancy of the water help you float.
- Music plays for 10 minutes at the start of your session to help you relax.
- Float for an hour.
- Music plays for the last five minutes of your session.
- Get out of the tank once your session has ended.
- Shower again and get dressed.
To help you relax and get the most out of your session, it is recommended that you eat something approximately 30 minutes before your session. It’s also helpful to avoid caffeine for four hours beforehand. Shaving or waxing before a session is not recommended as the salt in the water can irritate the skin.
|Take away tip
When used properly, a sensory deprivation tank may help relieve stress and ease muscle tension and pain. It can also help improve your mood. Sensory deprivation tanks are generally safe, but it may be a good idea to speak to a doctor before using one if you have any medical conditions or concerns.
Q&A: What are the possible psychological benefits of flotation therapy?
If you have the answer kindly send it to (email@example.com) and receive 10% discount on the upcoming (CSS) certified SPA specialist course from FACTS.