Floating (sensory deprivation) therapy review

What is floating?

Floating, also known as sensory deprivation or isolation therapy, is a practice in which an individual lies in a float tank also known as a sensory deprivation tank.

The tank is filled with 20cm of water with Epsom salt. The water is heated to body temperature, and the high concentration of salt allows the individual to float effortlessly on the surface. Flotation tanks are usually soundproof and lightproof, allowing the individual to experience complete sensory deprivation.

floating tank sensory-deprivation tank

When floating came about?

The origins of floating can be traced back to the 1950s when John C. Lilly, a neuroscientist and psychoanalyst, began experimenting with sensory deprivation as a way to study the effects of isolation on the human mind. He found that by removing external stimuli, the mind was able to enter a state of deep relaxation, which he referred to as the ‘tank state’.

Is floating a nice experience?

The experience of floating can vary depending on the individual, but many people report feeling a sense of deep relaxation and a reduction in stress and anxiety after floating therapy. The lack of external stimuli allows the mind to enter a meditative state, and the buoyancy of the water can also have a soothing effect on the body. Some people also report experiencing vivid hallucinations or vivid dreams during the float.

What are the main benefits of floating?

As you float weightlessly in the silence and darkness, the brain is supposed to enter into a deeply relaxed state

Floatation therapy offers many benefits, including reducing muscle chronic pain and joint pain, improving sleep, and increasing creativity. It has also been used as a treatment for conditions such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

While floating may not be for everyone, it is generally considered to be safe, and many people find it not only a relaxing but a rejuvenating experience. It is important to note that people with certain conditions, such as high blood pressure, or suffering from a heart condition or wearing a pacemaker, or having asthma or allergies (particularly to salt, bromine or magnesium sulfate), should consult with a doctor before trying to float.

Overall, floating is an experience that allows the individual to enter a state of deep relaxation and disconnection from the external world, which can have a variety of benefits for both the mind and the body. It is a unique and effective way to reduce stress and tension, and it can be beneficial for people suffering from mental and physical conditions.

Many wonder if floating will make them ‘happier’ ?

According to this paper floatation tank sessions put highly stressed individuals at ease, there were also considerable improvements seen for people suffering from burnout when taking sensory deprivation sessions.

My experience with floating

I visited a sensory deprivation tank in London ( Floating Hub on Old Street) today (29/01/23) and I liked it. I think I noticed some positive effects.

I planned on using a bikini to wear when floating but then after taking a pre-floatation shower, I took the earplugs and entered the tank nude. After 5 mins with some tank lights and gentle music, I got cut off from all outside stimulation, (sound, sight, and gravity). I then closed the tank’s lid/door.

At first, I felt a bit uneasy about the total darkness and was wondering how I will stay ‘calm’ and unoccupied for 60 mins while not asleep πŸ™‚ Restricted environmental stimulation therapy may seem impossible for people ‘always on’, however the longer I was floating the easier it got.

Some people say they can fall asleep when floating that the sensory deprivation tank is so peaceful and relaxing that they literally ‘float away’…That wasn’t my case but I tried to rock sideways and then finally lie down still and try to enjoy the stillness n float!

5 mins ahead of the end of the floating session the lights and music came back on.

At first, the biggest problem for me was the itchiness from the Epsom salt in the floatation tank (don’t shave or wax before your session so the salt in the water doesn’t irritate the skin –> it wasn’t my problem yet I felt itchy – I suppose I have a rather sensitive skin hence this sensation..) However, it calmed down in the second hour of the floatation therapy.

I wanted to use floatation therapy to see if it will reduce my stress and muscle tension as last week was rather intense at work so my neck was in pain… I believe after my session I did see a small improvement in my mood with an increase in serenity, relaxation, happiness and overall well-being… I am yet to see if it will help me fall asleep seamlessly.

Lately, I didn’t suffer from my tension headaches but I m sure it could help with relieving those when they arise. I am super grateful for acupuncture which keeps me de-stressed too!

Suddenly motorcycling back home after the session was somehow more ‘enjoyable’ in spite of the rain, well motorcycling always is but not necessarily when its raining πŸ™‚

Give it a go and enjoy! Live &eat well, decompress, destress and try this surprising relaxation technique if any other spiritual experiences failed you!


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