Sensory Deprivation Tanks – What Are They – Their Benefits

Many people suffer from depression and anxiety. At the same time, some experiences sleep issues, physical pain, and heart health. Fortunately, there are some steps to relieve these health issues.

woman relaxing in sensory deprivation tank

For one, you can do deep breathing exercises, talk to a counselor, and use aromatherapy if you have depression or anxiety. Moreover, if you have sleep issues or insomnia, you can use natural herbal supplements, such as lavender and chamomile. This is one type of stress reduction strategy, along with other practices like using a meditation pillow, which is a way to relax your mind. Another good example is doing aerobic exercises and eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help promote heart health.

With the development of technology, another alternative to address these health issues is to float in a sensory deprivation tank. But what is this tank all about?

What Are Sensory Deprivation Tanks, And How Do They Work?

Sensory deprivation tanks, also called isolation tanks, were introduced in medicine and therapy during the 1970s. You can often find them in recreational places, such as spas. These spas are trendy and usually visited by individuals who want to attain the various health benefits of experiencing these tanks. They believed it could heal the body, mind, and spirit.

Likewise, the design of sensory deprivation tanks is often ideally long for you to lie down and tall enough to sit in. They also involve shallow water heated to skin temperature and saturated with 300 millimeters of Epsom salt. Because they contain such salt, you can float effortlessly in the water.

These tanks are usually dark and soundproof. The original reason it was designed that way is that it will help you be more aware of your consciousness by limiting outside stimuli and noise. It was created to study how people respond and how their bodies recover in particularly isolated, quiet, and dark spaces.

3 Tips Before Using Sensory Deprivation Tanks

The time you spend in a float tank is usually up to one hour. Just like any other physical or mental exercise, it's best to come early and prepared. The facility requires ample time for preparation before one can use it. Before diving in, consider these tips to maximize your session:

  1. Eat Before You Use The Tank

Ideally, it's good to eat 30 minutes before the floating session. You must also refrain from taking caffeine for several hours. Initial eating allows you to relax and reduce hunger or uncomfortable stomach growls. Likewise, you must also limit the use of drugs and alcohol for safety reasons. For one, taking these substances increases the likelihood of drowning in the tank.

  1. Take Time To Relax

The main reason why you undergo a floating session is to relax and be comfortable. You should consider such a goal as something essential. So, to relax more inside the tank, you can spend some minutes preparing yourself before going into the session.

Some ways to prepare are to read a novel, shut one's eyes, or perform deep breathing exercises. Additionally, you can silently say a mantra as you shower before using the tank. You can discreetly repeat two examples of mantras: ' this moment is for me' or 'I am secure right now.'

  1. Float With No Clothes On

The ideal way to spend the floating session is to bathe naked. Doing this allows you to make the most of the experience. For one, it reduces one form of distraction. It's because clothes like a swimsuit can rub against your skin and can break your concentration. Likewise, wearing baggy board shorts can drift and touch your leg carelessly. The same goes for the tie on your swimsuit.

Benefits Of Sensory Deprivation Tanks

Now that you have learned what a sensory deprivation tank is and how it works, it's time to learn more about its potential benefits.

  • It May Help You Sleep Better

A common health issue experienced by many is insomnia and other sleep problems. When an individual has a sleep problem, some adverse outcomes that can happen are:

  • Unstable mood
  • Concentration issues
  • Fatigue
  • Memory problems
  • Reduced energy
  • Decreased performance

Fortunately, you can go to a sleep therapist to find help. Also, you can take Magnesium Glycinate, exercise, and limit smartphone use. Floating in an isolation tank may also help with various sleep problems.

There are reasons why a floating session may help with different sleep disorders. Some potential effects that floating tanks offer are:

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces chronic pain
  • Reduces cortisol levels which can lower stress

You may consider these benefits if you have difficulty falling asleep at night.

  • It May Help With Depression

Depression is a mental health issue that leads to a constant feeling of sadness. It also causes a person to lose interest in activities and hobbies once enjoyed. Also called clinical depression, it can negatively impact how you think, behave, and feel. It can also result in different physical and emotional issues.

The good news is that a sensory deprivation tank may also assist with this issue. There are some reasons why floating can potentially benefit a depressed person. Some of those reasons are:

  • It may lower cortisol levels by offering a way to relax and self-reflect.
  • It may boost endorphins (stress-relieving chemicals).
  • It may reduce stress by releasing theta waves.
  • It may improve the overall life quality.

You can consider a floating session as a potential solution for depression. You can use it along with other healthy coping strategies, such as having a consistent exercise routine, meditation, and avoiding alcohol.

  • It May Help With Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are a typical form of mental health issue. In the United States alone, around 31.1% of adults have undergone stress at one point. The good news is that floating therapy may reduce this type of issue.

Floating therapy might help address general anxiety disorders, panic attacks, and social phobia. It may achieve such a benefit by calming the person and encouraging reflection on events and actions resulting in anxiety.

Though studies regarding the positive effect of using sensory deprivation tanks for anxiety are still limited, the majority of the progress leads to the fact that it can result in a deep meditative state. Such a state is ideal for reducing this mental health issue.

  • It May Ease Physical Pain

Another benefit floating therapy may offer is that it might relieve physical pain. The buoyancy one can experience inside a tank may help relax skeletal muscles. Relaxing such muscles are thought to reduce muscle spasms and pain resulting from musculoskeletal disorders.

Additionally, a sensory deprivation tank might eliminate external stimuli, allowing you to focus more on your internal state. This can reduce distractions and provide your body and mind with a calm state. When you're relaxed, it may help reduce your pain. The reason behind this is that your body can override pain signals. It does so by taking your mind off the pain and altering your perception of such an issue.

Another beneficial experience of the floating tank is that it may boost endorphin and enkephalin levels (natural painkillers). It does so by floating the person weightlessly and reducing sensory inputs. Also, it may improve blood flow to the bodily parts that require healing, thus reducing such a health issue.

  • It May Aid Your Heart

As floating therapy might be good for physical pain, it may also be good for your heart. Firstly, the deep calmness you can feel when undergoing a floating session may reduce cortisol levels and blood pressure. Reducing these two elements can have a positive effect on your heart health.

Secondly, floating in an isolation tank may affect your heart rate variability (HRV). HRV is a measure of the differences in time between each heartbeat. Your autonomic nervous system (ANS) automatically handles such heartbeat variation. ANS is also responsible for managing digestion and breathing.

Thirdly, a sensory deprivation tank contains Epsom salt, which has a high magnesium level. Magnesium allows your body to process insulin. This can be good as high insulin levels lead to type 2 Diabetes. It's proven that type 2 Diabetes increases the risk for heart disease and thus can endanger heart health.

  • It May Improve Athletic Performance

Using isolation tanks have been widely used by well-acclaimed athletes. They use these tanks for recovery and other sports-related issues. Likewise, they also use them to improve athletic performance.

One reason for this is that it can potentially reduce lactic acid. The excessive lactic acid in the body can cause stomach pain, nausea, and rapid breathing.

The Epsom salt found in the tank contains magnesium sulfate. This type of magnesium can limit the production of such acid. Similarly, the buoyancy that can happen while floating may also reduce lactic acid in the blood.

As sensory deprivation tanks may reduce lactic acid, it might limit the chance of lactic acidosis. Lactic acidosis is a health issue in which lactic acid production goes beyond the typical lactic acid clearance. Because floating in tanks may reduce the risk of this health issue, it might prevent muscle aches and burning sensations, which can affect athletic performance.

Lastly, using a sensory deprivation tank may offer better recovery as it might aid in proper sleep. This is because sleep relaxes the muscles, particularly during the rapid eye movement stage. Such quality rest allows the body to recover energy. Thus, athletes can perform better in the field when they are more energetic, and their muscles are more relaxed.

  • It May Help With Addictions

Medical experts prescribe medication, rehabilitation, or therapy to treat addiction. These approaches are essential to recovery, yet floating therapy may be another alternative for such a problem.

People with substance abuse problems may benefit from a sensory deprivation tank. These tanks have been used to address nicotine and cigarette addiction for about a decade. But how does it help people with addictions?

One possible reason why an isolation tank might be good for addiction is that it promotes rest, reduces cortisol, and offers a meditative state. People who smoke too many cigarettes or abuse recreational drugs do so to cope with stressful situations. As floating therapy may limit stress, it reduces the need for addictive substances. And so it can lead to a discovery of having more control and disrupting unhealthy habits.

In addition, whenever someone takes substances, it releases endorphins, which play a role in being happy. However, a person can take more substances to get the chemicals. This process changes the biochemistry of a person. Fortunately, sensory deprivation tanks might help with this.

These tanks can change biochemistry more positively. Relaxation and expansion happen to a person's biochemistry and nervous system whenever a person undergoes floating therapy. Because of this, a person's desire to do addictive behaviors is reduced. The reason is that endorphins are also released in this therapy, thus decreasing the desire to find an alternative route to become happy.


Plenty of health issues can happen to a person. Some examples are anxiety and depression, sleep problems, physical pain, and heart issues. For such a reason, it's ideal to know some strategies to address them. You can do physical activities and routines, practice breathing exercises, and take supplements.

Likewise, you can also consider sense deprivation tanks which may help you in such a regard. Sensory deprivation tanks, also called isolation tanks, were initially developed to study an individual's consciousness by reducing stimulation and noise from the outside.

One potential benefit of using these tanks is that it's thought to reduce anxiety and depression by limiting cortisol levels and releasing endorphins. Likewise, it could also help in having a proper sleep. Floating in a tank might achieve it by lowering blood pressure and reducing chronic pain.

In addition, it may also ease physical pain. It does so by relaxing your skeletal muscles and overriding pain signals. Lastly, it may help with addictions because a floating session releases a person's natural endorphins. And so, it reduces the urge to take substances just to get the same chemicals.

Ultimately, there are other possible health benefits of using such tanks. Yet, studies on the use of sensory deprivation tanks are still ongoing. So, it's still good to visit a medical specialist if you have a severe health issue.

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