Sensory Deprivation


Benefits of Sensory Deprivation

We live in a world that is overbrimming with sensory stimulation. Our brains take in this information and look for warnings of potential danger. This was an efficient system when the only fast moving objects around us were lions pouncing out of bushes to attack. However, our modern world of blinking advertisements, speeding cars, and honking buses overwhelm this system. Our fight-or-flight response is constantly firing, creating unwarranted levels of emotional and physical stress.
When you’re in a float tank this system is at rest. Our brains look for sights and sounds for warnings, but there are none. The float tank gives us a feeling of safety and comfort that is unparalleled by any other environment. Our fight-or-flight regulates many of the hormones associated with stress, including adrenaline and cortisol. When our fight-or-flight goes dormant, the production of these hormones drops lower and lower, allowing us to relax on a biological level. In response to feeling safe and relaxed, our brains start pumping out dopamine, a neurochemical our body uses to reward us with pleasure, encouraging us to repeat the actions that got us to this state.
This relaxation also acts to downshift the frequency of our brainwaves. Humans spend most of their waking day in the what’s known as the Beta and Alpha brainwave states. These are very high frequency brainwaves that are associated with high-functioning logical thinking and action. We use these states to help us monitor our surroundings and react quickly to incoming danger. As we sink into our REM sleep, we use our lowest frequency brainwaves, putting us into what’s known as the Delta state. In between these two extremes is the Theta state. These are brainwaves that have a frequency of 4-8 Hz, and are experienced briefly every night as we drift off into sleep, and every morning as we come back to waking.
The float tank gives us an extended period of time in the Theta state. This is not something most people are accustomed to experiencing on a regular basis. Practiced meditation is one place that people can find long periods of Theta. Peak performance during vigorous athletic activity is another (e.g. Runner’s High). We also all basically live in the Theta state when we’re children. From ages 2 to 6 our primary mental activity is done in Theta. Many people have flashbacks to early childhood memories in the float tank as a result of this.
Theta waves are generated primarily from the right hemisphere of our brain. Because of this, float tanks are amazing at enhancing our right hemispheric activities, such as creativity, inspiration, and non-linear thought. Our usually dominant left hemisphere (responsible for things like fight-or-flight, spatial reasoning, our language center, our physical connection with our body) falls into the background. This allows people to let that inner-monologue in their head go quiet (a significant relief to most “Type A” personalities), and allows them to have out of body experiences. From the research that has been done, scientists have come to know the Theta state as a place of healing, rest, and emotional rejuvenation.
The benefits we receive from putting our bod¬ies into a place of sensory relief is profound, and the following list is hardly exhaustive.
but expedited physical rest can mean a lot to people who are training their bodies. Doing an upper body workout usually requires letting your upper body rest for 48 hours before it will be beneficial to work that same part of the body again. With a float tank, an athlete can simply float after their upper body workout, and then get right back to it the next day.

Benefits of Sensory Deprivation

This alone could be a packet of information unto itself. Stress is rampant throughout our culture, and the havoc this can have on the human body is well documented. Our fight-or-flight system basically gives priority to a select number of our bodies faculties at the expense of most of our basic regulatory functions. This is an effective means of surviving a tricky situ¬ation, but it not how our bodies are meant to be constantly running.

A plethora of ailments arise from our bodies not being able to return to their comfortable homeostasis. Severe enough stress can even completely stunt growth in the human body. Float tanks are possibly the most relaxing en-vironment we can put our bodies into. Stress relief comes almost instantly from floating, and simply gets stronger and lasts longer the more you float. Consistent floating can help alleviate all of the following.



(high blood pressure) Apoplexy or stroke

(related to hypertension) Coronary heart disease

The highest leading cause of death in the United States
(about 1 out of 6 deaths as reported by the CDC)

Migraine or tension headaches
Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis
Burn out syndrome
Fertility issues
Temporomandibular (TMJ) Syndrome
…and more
Research is showing more and more ail¬ments to be closely related to stress.

The float tank is an ideal environment for working through traumatic or painful memories without the emotional charge they usually carry. The reduction of stress hormones prevents the body from triggering the same emotional stress cycles usually created when reliving painful memories, allowing us to repro-gram our brains to dissociate these traumatic memories from the stressful neurochemicals they usually release.
(Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) – This is another exciting application for float tanks because there are so few effective treat¬ments for PTSD right now. This is made more significant by the fact that there is a huge increase in PTSD patients recently due to our fervent inclination towards war.
Studies have shown that PTSD can be profoundly helped by floating. Although time alone in the tank can bring up traumatic memories, the floater’s body is sending out signals via dopamine, reduced cortisol pro-duction, and physical relaxation that ‘everything is okay.’ As a result, they are able to process through experiences and remove them from their painful associations.
Psychiatry or therapy is another large market that could benefit from the integration of float tanks. The tank is a place of natural introspection and self-realization that pairs perfectly with the therapeutic process. Industry wide, there are consistent reports of people coming out of the float tanks and open up to us about personal break throughs and emotional growth.
People with autism generally have a lot of trouble filtering the sensory information around them. While a healthy brain can simply ignore background noise, this is not the case with Autism. Autistics are often overwhelmed by the world around them, which makes a float tank an especially relaxing environment. This is only added to by how good Epsom salt is for Autistics

Stress relief is incredibly effective at helping people sleep at night, including people with insomnia. In addition to this, many people have trouble falling asleep because their brain has trouble downshifting from their Alpha waves into the Theta waves that act as the gateway to sleep. By floating, people’s brainwaves are naturally dropping into this Theta state, meaning their body can easily make the transition into the Delta waves required for REM. Float On had an intern with se¬vere insomnia his entire life, sleeping no more than 3-4 hours a night. As he was interning, he floated once a week for 6 months, and reported that he got a full night’s worth of sleep for several days after his first float. By the second month he was able to sleep soundly for the entire week between his floats, without a remission back into insomnia.

Floating can help reset your sleep cycle. Not only does it help with jet lag, but it can relieve a cramped body created from flying, and will make sleeping on the next flight much easier.

Most physical addictions are a result of a certain drug becoming our brain’s main source of substantial dopamine release. As our bodies become more and more dependent on that drug, the dopamine released during our routine lives becomes less effective at satisfying that craving. The float tank provides a natural source of substantial dopamine release in our brain. Having a healthy source for this gives an addict’s brain somewhere to look other than their addiction. In effect, the float tank weens the brain away from a drug dependency by enabling them to have a natural, internal alternative.


According to a congressional testimony by the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, Americans now consume 80% of the world’s opiate painkillers. The BBC reports that 14,800 deaths a year are related to prescription drug abuse, more than heroin and cocaine combined. This number is rapidly growing, with very few remedies being presented. Float tanks have time and time again been an incredible tool for assisting in the process of breaking a pain killer addiction. Float On reports that two of their most regular customers have used the float tank to quit their pain killer addictions cold turkey. One floats so regularly that they had to create a custom 16 float/month membership just for him. The other has told us that floating has been so effective for him that he wants to open a drug rehabilitation center focused around the use of float tanks.



Smoking cessation is another large industry unto itself. Sensory deprivation has been shown to have an incredible success rate in helping people quit smoking. In fact, about twice that of other traditional treatments (the nicotine patch, etc.). When combined with behavioral therapy, these success rate go into the 70-80% range. But what’s really impressive about sensory deprivation is the effect it has on the duration of smoking abstinence people maintain. While most conventional treatments drop dramatically in their success after 1-2 years, sensory depri¬vation studies have shown only a nominal decrease when compared along the same timeline.


Like smoking, sensory deprivation has de-monstrably shown significant success in reducing alcohol consumption, both immediately, and for several years to follow


Drug rehabilitation centers would benefit greatly from the use of float tanks. Sensory deprivation is an effective means of helping with any substance abuse treatment, and integrating the tanks into drug rehab cen¬ters is another huge untapped market.

There is both anecdotal and experimental evidence to support the enhanced creativity that the float tanks provide. Float On ran an art program, creating a book of artwork from 150 artists (a tactic that we plan on mimicking). The reports of creative breakthroughs, and of personal inspiration, abound.

There are also lab studies showing increased skill at jazz improvisation, and other creatively taxing activities. Both technical skill, and overall depth and quality of creations rose in conjunction with floating.

EEG readings taken in relation to sensory deprivation show an increased synchronicity of brainwave frequencies across our left and right hemisphere. This indicates a level of mental efficiency, health, and clarity that is still being explored by scientists today. So far, both research and anecdotal evidence has shown:

  • Enhanced problem solving
  • Enhanced cognitive ability
The float tank is the prime environment for absorbing information. Free from distractions, our minds are ready to devote themselves to learning and retaining knowledge. Being that we are spend most of our developmental years in the Theta state, that is where our brain is accustomed to rapid learning and retention. The float tank allows you to take full advantage of this.
Skill acquisition
Our bodies use what are known as mirror neurons as a vital tool in learning physical skills. Mirror neurons replicate actions we see others doing in our own body, so that we can physically build a muscle memory, simply through observation. Even without a float tank, visualization techniques allow up to 70% the skill acquisition one would receive from actually physically practicing a skill. The float tank simply enhances this ability. With the use of video in the float tank, a person could simply watch the perfect tennis swing and improve their own without stepping a foot onto the tennis court.
Language acquisition
Our ability to learn language has been shown to go up an order of magnitude in the Theta state.
Our bodies use periods of Theta and Delta waves as a time of consolidation and strengthening of neural synapses. As we acquire memories and knowledge throughout the day, this is our brains time to solidify it. As such, memorization is greatly enhanced in the float tank. This can be incredibly useful for any sort of studying, from an actor learning their lines, to college students crunching for finals.

Many studies have used this heightened sug¬gestibility to boost the effects of both the float tank, and the behavioral pattern that is trying to be ingrained. The combination of these can significantly increase success rates with things such as smoking cessation and weight loss.

Floating allows the activation of the parasym-pathetic nervous system, otherwise known as our “rest-and-digest” system. This is where our body does many of its regulatory activities. As you can imagine, our “rest-and-digest” system activates our metabolism, leading to weight loss. In addition to this, when combined with motivational weight loss recordings played in the tank that attempt to influence people’s behavioral pattern, floaters were found to have continued weight loss for up to 6 months after a single session in the tank.

As subjective as this sounds, there is actually a psychological evaluation that attempts to quantify people’s general well being, which float tanks have been shown to dramatically improve.

Are you ready to transform your life?