05 Jul Sensory Deprivation vs Float Tank
For those that haven’t figured it out, our title is a bit tongue-in-cheek. The difference between deprivation and float tanks is like that between books and reading. You need one to do the other.
Sensory deprivation is what one experiences inside of a float tank. By removing sight and sound, it’s to be completely cut off from the outside world. Without any external stimulation, the occupant can find peace for at least a little while and oftentimes they’ll come away with so much more.
To some, this sort of thing may sound like science fiction, but since its inception in the early 1950s, float tanks have earned a rap as a rehabilitation tool and method of meditation. In this post, we’ll go over the fundamentals of floating, including its origin and application for relief.
The World’s First Float Tank
In 1954, neuroscientist, Dr. John C. Lilly, invented the world’s first float tank. Attempting to learn what would happen if one were to remove themselves from the outside world, Lily designed his tank to isolate the brain from any external stimuli. This would entail an absence of sound and light, limiting stimulation to the minimum possible level. During his experimentation, Lilly found “that he could relax his mind and dream, but his consciousness was always there, ready to take charge.”
It wasn’t until 1973 that float tanks began to look more like they do today. Up until this point, they had been filled with fresh water or a low-level saline solution. Lilly had relied mostly on a manual form of floating – inhaling and holding his breath – so buoyancy had always been an issue. It wasn’t until Glenn and Lee Perry – future owners of Samadhi Tank Company – decided to increase the salt content, that one could stay on the surface unassisted.
So What Exactly is a Float Tank?
Float tanks come in many shapes and sizes, but all serve the same purpose. That is, to cut its occupant off from the outside world.
How we do that is fairly simple. Each tank must be both soundproof and sealed: not allowing any light in. The float tanks are then filled up with roughly 1000 litres of water and over 1200 pounds of dissolved Epsom salts. This will allow the occupant to rest easily atop the water without worry of sinking. In order to complete the experience, the water is warmed up to body-temperature, so it becomes quite easy to forget you’re floating in water at all.
While some float tanks still resemble what was used in 1954, there are now many more options to choose from. For example: pods, cabins and rooms are all common for commercial use. Here at Pro Float, we specialize in cabins, which, due its size, can accommodate a vast range of floaters.
Anything Else I Need to Know?
Floats typically last between one and two hours, but seasoned floaters may go even longer. In this time, the occupant will drift into a semi-conscious state, relieving themselves of mental and physical stress.
Now, you might be wondering what salt water will do to your skin. Unlike regular sea salt, Epsom actually rejuvenates your pores and leaves you silky and smooth. In fact, many walk away feeling refreshed for several days.
As far as cleanliness is concerned, float tanks are completely uncontaminated for a number of reason. For starters, Epsom salt kills close to 100% of all bacteria, and the minimal amount of bromine added afterwards works as a disinfectant too if it is required. On top of that, tanks are equipped with a high-filtration system that injects ozone and UV in between each float. As a result, we’re left with incredibly clean tanks that no one has to worry about cross-contamination.
What are the Advantages of Sensory Deprivation?
When one submits themselves to sensory deprivation, they engage in what is called REST, or: Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy. REST has been studied for decades and the advantages attributed to it our tremendous. For instance:
- Stress relief
- Muscle healing
- Pain management
- Mental health treatment
- Increased mental activity
The list goes on. Furthermore, there have been a number of professional athletes who have endorsed sensory deprivation as a fantastic form of post-game therapy. There have even been instances where people have turned to floating to handle their post traumatic stress.
Promote the Float!
By now, you should have a pretty clear picture of what a float tank is and what it can be used for. Stay tuned for more great content on sensory deprivation and float tanks. If you’re looking to purchase any sort of industry product, check out the rest of our website at Pro Float Inc.