Sensory deprivation tanks are becoming much more popular, and many people are trying them out as a way of keeping a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Before you jump into one, though, you will want to explore the benefits and what this can do for you.
This concept was originally designed in the 1950s, but it’s taken a little while for the tanks to become mainstream and known for their health benefits. In the 1980s, the tanks were studied for their health benefits but they quickly became outdated and weren’t used or popular again until recently.
There is some thought that the massive amounts of sensory overload most people experience today, most of which comes from cell phones, computers and other advancements in technology, is the main reason this kind of therapy is becoming popular again.
As the name sensory deprivation tank may bring some negative associations, some companies have renamed this kind of therapy. Most companies who rename it pick a name that has something to do with floatation therapy.
What Is a Sensory Deprivation Tank?
The name is pretty good at explaining what this kind of therapy is, but it might be unclear how it works or how it is set up.
These tanks have about a foot of water in them, and then have about 800lbs of Epsom salts added to the water. The addition of this salt helps to make it that much easier for you to float and you won’t be submerged under the water.
Keeping you on top of the water helps promote a state where you will be very deeply relaxed but still awake while floating.
When users get into the tank, and close the lid, they will get this experience where all outside sights, sounds, smells and touch will be eliminated.
Going through this experience is said to get the user into a deep state of meditation and it can relieve the user of any outside pain or discomfort they may have.
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Health Benefits of Using a Sensory Deprivation Tank
Now that you know what a sensory deprivation tank is, you probably want to know how it will benefit you and why you should consider a couple sessions in a float tank.
Improved Concentration and Focus
There has been some research leading to regular sessions in a float tank leading to better focus and concentration, but individual results may be different. There has also been reports of float tank usage leading to clearer, much more precise thinking. These things combined together can lead to improved learning in school or higher performance in your career.
Floatation therapy has been found to lead to a reduction in anxiety for those who are living with it. Those with generalized anxiety disorder did report they have fewer symptoms (depression, irritability and sleep difficulties) after just one session in floatation tank.
One of the biggest reasons people try out a sensory deprivation tank is to relieve some of the pain they’re feeling. In these tanks, users are floating so they don’t feel the effect of gravity on their bodies, which can actually help with relieving a lot of pain.
In addition to that, sensory deprivation tanks can also help with tension headaches, muscle tension, and even the pain that comes with whiplash-associated disorders. There is also evidence it can help to relieve stress-related pain.
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Improve Cardiovascular Health
When you’re in a floatation tank, you’re in a state of deep relaxation – almost like sleeping – and that can help to reduce your stress levels.
As your stress levels decrease, you will likely see an increase in your quality of sleep. How does that help? Well, chronic stress and lack of quality sleep have been linked to higher blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
Better Quality of Sleep
As mentioned previously, a sensory deprivation tank introduces a state of deep relaxation that is almost like being asleep. When you are that relaxed, it can help you get a better night’s sleep and better quality of sleep.
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Process for Sensory Deprivation Tanks
Each floatation center will have its own process for how to use their tanks, but there is generally a process for how to use them to make sure you get the most out of your experience.
- You’ll have to remove all clothing and jewelry before getting into the tank.
- Most places will allow you to wear a bathing suit if that makes you more comfortable.
- They will have a shower for you to rinse off before you get into the tank.
- Get into the tank and close the lid.
- Lay back gently – the salt in the water will help with buoyancy and keep you afloat.
- A lot of places will have music that plays for about the first 10 or 15 minutes of your session to help you relax.
- Then you will float for about an hour (or maybe more, but most sessions are 60 minutes in length).
- Music will play for the last 5 or 10 minutes of your session to bring you out of the relaxation.
- Once you get out of the tank, you’ll need to shower again to make sure you get all of the salt off of you.
- Get dressed and go home.
Each floatation place may place additional regulations, depending on their specific setup or additional local regulations. They will let you know of anything else you need to know about before you go in.
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Cost of Using a Sensory Deprivation Tank
The really neat thing about this kind of therapy is that you can purchase a tank for your own personal use if you really enjoy it and want to have it available to you as needed.
In the 1980s, it was much more common to buy your own tank and have it at home as they didn’t have the floatation centers as they do now. The cost to purchase your own tank, now, could be anywhere between $10,000 and $30,000. This may seem like a really big investment but if it’s something you’ll be using all the time it could definitely be worth it.
If you aren’t going to purchase your own tank because you don’t use it enough to make it worthwhile, you can use therapy centers whenever you feel like you could benefit from a session.
The cost per session will largely depend on the area you live in, and perhaps the facility you use, but you can expect to pay between $50 and $100 per session.
Otherwise, you can make your own sensory deprivation tank.
Tips for Using a Sensory Deprivation Tank
If you have never used one, but based on the health benefits you’ve decided you want to give it a try, here are a few basic tips before you get into one.
- Shower before and after using the tank
- Try to avoid any kind of caffeine for several hours before using the tank
- This is because caffeine can inhibit your ability to relax, so it could affect your experience in the tank and you may not get the most out of your time in there.
- Eat a little snack about 90 minutes your appointment
- Do not shave of wax right before a session
- Since the water in tank has a lot of salt in it – to help with floating – it can result in a little burning for recently shaved skin.
- If you wear contact lenses regularly, it may be best to wear glasses to your appointment.
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Is There Anyone Who Should Not Use a Sensory Deprivation Tank?
While there are a lot of benefits to using a sensory deprivation tank, that doesn’t mean it will work for everyone or be the right decision for you. There are a few reasons that people shouldn’t use one of these tanks
- If you are epileptic, especially if you have seizures that are not well controlled with regular medication
- If you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- If you have an infectious disease
- If you have any open wounds or cuts
- If you are currently having any thoughts of suicide or self-harm
- If you have an active psychosis
If you have questions about whether this kind of therapy will work for you, you should always consult with your doctor.
Is It Safe for Pregnant Women?
Women who are pregnant should always check with their doctor to make sure it’s ok for their specific situation. In general, though, many women who are pregnant have safely used floatation tanks – especially in the later stages of pregnancy – as they have reported that the floating is extremely beneficial for relieving the pain they are experiencing with the added weight of pregnancy.
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Trying out a sensory deprivation tank for the first time can be a little awkward, and you might not know what to expect. There are a lot of benefits to using a floatation tank, even if you only use it once in a while, as you will likely notice you’re sleeping better and feel like you can focus and concentrate more.
In addition to that, if you live with chronic pain floatation tanks can help give you some relief from the physical pain. If you’re curious about trying out a sensory deprivation tank, look up floatation tanks or floatation therapy in your area and book an appointment today.