The Science that Underpins Sensory Deprivation Tank Therapy

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Sensory deprivation tanks as most of us are already aware of involves individuals being placed in floatation tanks or pods that allow us to limit our own sensory reach. Our sensory apparatus is in fact what keeps the average human brain occupied for most of the time throughout our entire lives. The concept or idea behind the development of sensory deprivation tanks or pods began in psychedelic era, and was for the most part undermined and ridiculed until empirical evidence of its effectiveness began to emerge over the years. The empirical evidences revolved around subjects being in better moods, better immune systems, faster healing and higher ability to focus despite hectic schedules.

It has come to pass that medical practitioners have come to find that sensory deprivation tank therapy is an effective method to treat some of the most incessant health issues that plague most people. These ailments that medical practitioners have identified include chronic headaches/ pain, discomforts related to PMS, spinal related problems to recovering from different types of physical injuries. Some reports even indicate that sensory deprivation tank therapy treatment is also effective against arthritis, gout, anxiety and depression. The beauty about floatation is that it helps to limit the impact of the above ailments without use of drugs or any form of invasive surgery.

It is due to this reason that medical facilities have included sensory deprivation tank therapy as an auxiliary medical treatment program that help patient’s speed-up their respective recovery process. A report in the European Journal of Integrative Medicine states that floatation’s theraputic effectiveness is directly attributed to the ‘deep relaxation’ that the therapy induces. This ‘relaxation’ relieves the mind from having to contend with our sensory apparatus (sight, sound, heat, smell and gravity). This window of reprieve brought forth during the therapy releases the mind from having to cope with external stimuli.

The brain, hence stops focusing on everything external and reroutes the brains resources towards ‘inward healing’ which is critical towards balancing our biological structure. Apart from that other elements of sensory deprivation tank therapy that also plays a significant role within the scope of the therapy is the Epsom salt used in the solution. Epsom salt contains magnesium which is a critical element for neural transmitter functions. Epsom salt is used in the solution that the subject floats on as it prevents them from sinking below the waterline due to the buoyancy that becomes present. During this time the magnesium in the water is absorbed by the skin (studies show that magnesium deficiency is common in most humans).

In order to make a long story short, an enormous amount of brain power is present when external stimuli which generally keep our minds engaged is reduced. When stimuli is reduced our mind renders the environment that we are in as ‘being safe’ and our fight or flight response is minimised to a level where it becomes possible for our brain to moves into a state of deep relaxation. This is the level of relaxation that individuals who have practiced meditation for years arrive at, sensory deprivation tank therapy can hence be considered a short-cut to arriving to the same state of mind.