FAQ About Sensory Deprivation and Floatation Therapy

floating in the water

What is Sensory Deprivation?

It is a trendy form of deep physical and mental relaxation. It involves effortlessly floating in a sensory deprivation tank, which is full of Epsom Salt that creates a sort of gravity-free environment. The goal is to deprive yourself of any external stimuli such as smell, noise, sight, and hearing.

In that way, the mind completely switches off, thus achieving an unparalleled state of relaxation. Read more in the beginner’s guide to sensory deprivation.

What is Floatation Therapy and is it the same thing as sensory deprivation?

The most common method to experience sensory deprivation is floatation therapy. This involves laying in a floatation tank loaded with Epsom Salt in order to achieve maximum buoyancy. However, both terms are different.

Sensory deprivation can be experienced by means, different from floatation therapy. For instance, you can be locked in a dark isolated cell that will deprive you of any external stimuli. Sometimes this is a method used by government forces to break convicted criminals and make them talk.

What is a sensory deprivation tank?

It is a tank full of water heated at skin temperature saturated with Epsom Salt. It creates a lightless and completely quiet environment in which individuals float. Often, it is also called an isolation tank, a floatation tank, or an isolation capsule. The size can differ from one manufacturer to another but usually, a tank is approximately 8 feet long, 5 feet wide, and 5 feet tall.

How much does a sensory deprivation tank cost?

The prices vary depending on the different models. The cheapest one on the market is the home float tank, courtesy of ZenFloatCo. It starts at $1940. The i-sopods designed for commercial use can reach a price of $30 000 and more. Check out this article for more information.

What is the floatation experience like?

Honestly, it is personal for everybody. To put it in a framework, you feel decomposed and completely relaxed in the tank. Imagine having time only for yourself. There is no one and nothing else around you.

There is no noise, no smell, no light, and no sight. By practicing regularly, you will start reaching a blissful meditative state. You will also feel how the tension in your muscles goes away.

What is Epsom Salt?

Epsom Salt is a natural compound of magnesium sulfate. It is named after the English city it was first discovered. The salt is indispensable for achieving buoyancy in the water in the float tank. Learn more about Epsom Salt and its benefits.

Where can I float?

The most common method, for now, is to visit a float spa center. The best way to find one is to type in Google ‘float centers near me’ or to visit this portal.

Is it possible to float at home?

Absolutely! The good news is that it is more affordable and accessible than ever before. Home float tanks are seizing the market and have become the preferred solution for thousands of floaters around the world. Who wouldn’t want to experience sensory deprivation from the comfort of his home without being obliged to search for a float center, book a session in advance, and drive many miles to arrive there?

Not to mention that if one has a regular float practice, a home floatation tank would save tons of money. Read more about the two most celebrated home tanks – the zen float tent and its upgraded version the zen float tank.

Are there any scientific proofs in favor of the widely spread benefits of the floatation therapy?

Yes, there are many. Clinical research and various scientifically conducted studies show that floatation therapy has proven beneficial effects on many physical and mental conditions such as stress, anxiety, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, etc.

What is the history of the floatation therapy?

The ‘father’ of the sensory deprivation tank is the famous neuroscientist John C. Lilly who created the first version in 1954 in America. His purpose was to study how the brain reacts in a sensory-deprived environment.

The commercial use of the floatation tanks started a bit later in 1973 when the company ‘Samadhi’ was established.

What should I do in order to take the most out of my floatation experience?

The answer lies in what you shouldn’t do in the floatation tank. Read more about the 5 things not to do while floating and achieve an ultimately relaxing float session.

How much does it cost for a float session?

Typically, the price is in the range of $40 – $80.

How long is a typical floatation session?

At spa centers, you pay for 60 – 90 mins. If you float at home, you can do it as long as you wish until that makes you feel good.

How often should I float?

There is no straight answer to that question. It all depends on how you feel it. However, if you want to achieve maximum results in terms of relaxation and mind comfort, it is preferable to float as often as 2 – 3 times per week at least.

What should I expect from my first float?

Your first float will probably feel strange and awkward. This is completely normal and it happens to many beginners. In the first minutes while in the tank, you will feel edgy. You will almost physically sense the many thoughts racing through your head.

You will think mostly about being in that bizarre thing resembling a futuristic sleep capsule called a floatation tank. But after a while, you will begin feeling more at ease. You will feel that your mind is calmer and your entire body is in such a relaxed state that you have never experienced before. You will be self-aware while effortlessly floating in nothingness. The right term is mindfulness.

couple enjoying a floatation therapy session

What is the water temperature in the tank?

The water is heated to body temperature meaning that it is 93.5 degrees Fahrenheit or 36 – 37 degrees Celsius. The goal is only to float in the water and to feel nothing.

How does the floatation tanks work exactly?

The technology behind the sensory deprivation tanks is innovative and well thought out. They have a heating and filtration system incorporated in them and they are filled with 10 inches of water. They are also perfectly insulated. Read more about how these intelligently build devices work here.

Is it hygienic to float in a tank in which many people float?

Yes. Thanks to the advanced filtration system that the tanks have the water is constantly kept exceptionally clean.

Are there any side effects of sensory deprivation?

If you stay locked in the tank for days you may start having hallucinations and panic attacks. You may also experience high anxiety and depression. But this happens only following unusually prolonged float sessions. When practicing floatation therapy for 1-2 hours, several times per week the effects would be no different from beneficial to your wellbeing.

What does it take to build a sensory deprivation tank?

While many enthusiasts claim that this is a very cheap alternative to buying a home floatation tank, it requires a certain set of skills, hard work, and time. You have to carefully consider a lot of things such as size, weight, safety, filtration, heating, etc. Moreover, the expenses wouldn’t be much lower compared to those coming from purchasing a cheap and quality-certified home floatation tank such as the zen float tent, for instance.

Is sensory deprivation safe?

It is completely safe. In its most popular form – floatation therapy, it is a highly relaxing and therapeutic experience.

What are the others saying about their sensory deprivation experience?

Honestly, everyone loves it! We haven’t heard of anyone who tried it and didn’t like it. Watch some truly fascinating sensory deprivation tank experiences here.

Can I float if I am pregnant?

Yes. It is totally safe for you and the baby.

Can I float if I am claustrophobic?

Yes, you can still float and forget all fears. You can go out of the tank at any time. You are not locked and you are not restricted.

Can I meditate in the tank?

This is the best thing to do in a sensory deprivation tank. In fact, there is no better environment more conducive to meditation than a float tank. This is one of the main purposes of floatation therapy.

What happens to the brain during sensory deprivation?

When you enter this relaxed, meditative state, your brain produces theta waves. This brain frequency is beneficial not only for our mental state but also for our physical wellness. The theta waves unlock creativity, self-awareness, and concentration. Read more about the powerful mind benefits of sensory deprivation.

What is holistic medicine?

It is a philosophy that strongly relies on the belief that a person’s health depends on the emotional and mental balance that he has in his life. The origin of all illnesses is the distorted energy balance in the body. Acupuncture and EFT tapping are popular forms of holistic medicine.

I am a woman and I am menstruating. Can I still use the floatation tank?

You sure can! If you can be in the pool or in the sea during your period, you can be in the float tank as well. There is no difference.

I don’t have any physical or mental issues. Can I still float?

It is a common misconception that one has to suffer from something in order to justify float sessions. This can’t be farther from the truth. Here’s why: floating not only maintains good health, it also enhances it in many ways, thus creating a shield that protects you from many diseases.

I am an athlete. Would floating bring some benefits to me?

Floatation therapy is a proven wellness tool that helps physical recovery and mental recreation. It provides relief for muscles pain, stress, and anxiety. That is why many athletes include regular sensory deprivation therapy as part of their pre or post-workout. Check 7 accomplished athletes that regularly float and learn how floatation therapy makes them better performers.

I want to start a float center. What should I do?

Load yourself with patience and money! Seriously, this is an ambitious goal that can be achieved with careful market research and consideration of some important factors. There is a great online source that you consult on the way. Check it out here.