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
Temporomandibular (TMJ) Syndrome
Research is showing more and more ail¬ments to be closely related to stress.
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
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.