Health

3 Things That Made Me Fall In Love With Sensory Deprivation Therapy

By Andrea Mew··  7 min read
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Your brain is overstimulated. My brain is overstimulated. We’re all experiencing sensory overload as we build up hours of screen time while glued to our screens for work and then trying to keep up with social media for recreation.

Even for those who don’t work digitally, it’s easy to feel as though your brain is constantly overstimulated and you’re drowning in thoughts, unable to cope with it all.

What’s the right escape? A drunken night or an indulgent cheat meal? Sounds like a recipe for regret. Maybe you’re itching for a more wholesome way to zone out without compromising your values.

Hey, girl… you should just float.

Wait, What in the World Is Sensory Deprivation Therapy?

Sensory deprivation tanks are not a new concept but their popularity has ebbed and flowed. Float tanks, isolation tanks, or are dark, soundproof pods filled with more than 800 pounds of magnesium sulfate in the form of Epsom salt. The buoyant water in this chamber is a comfortable body temperature, and even if you tried your hardest to push your limbs underwater, you really just float. The tanks are tall and wide, which helps break the common misconception that you may feel as though you’re in a watery tomb.

Float tanks are dark, soundproof pods filled with water and more than 800 pounds of Epsom salt.

So you can’t see anything, and you can’t hear anything. You laze in water as if you’re in a different dimension, and the experience is ultimately meant to encourage a calming, meditative state. You feel relaxed in a profound, unique way and might lose sight of time, when in reality you’re only in the tank for about an hour. 

Why I Fell in Love with Sensory Deprivation Therapy

Think about it… when was the last time that you have been entirely without sound, sight, and touch? Probably not since you were in the womb. Once I tried it out for the first time and evaluated the benefits these tanks promised and how much they actually delivered on, I realized how sensory deprivation therapy could make a positive impact on the lives of many of us stressed out, overstimulated young professionals.

It Helps Your Mental Health

There has been a devastating surge in reported cases of depression and anxiety, especially after measures taken during pandemic lockdowns. In recent times, there has been a disproportionate mental health burden on women and young adults which has led to an increased use of SSRIs, or antidepressants. These medications can disrupt women’s hormones, yet it has become quirky and cool in the mainstream narrative to relinquish control of your body and rely on artificial drugs like SSRIs to control your mood.

The psychology behind sensory deprivation tanks checks out – no SSRIs needed. Numerous studies have suggested that this therapy helps release endorphins and decrease the stress hormone cortisol, ultimately helping generalized anxiety disorder symptoms like depression, insomnia, irritable moods, and chronic fatigue. One study even showed that just a single session alone made a significant improvement in mood and reduction in anxiety in all of the participants observed. 

Sensory deprivation therapy is proven to alleviate generalized anxiety disorder symptoms.

After my first session, I left the float tank in a deeply relaxed state. The wicked road rage I usually feel while driving home on Southern California freeways was somehow lessened. I slept that night in such a restorative, deep sleep that the next day I felt more refreshed and as if I could achieve a higher level of mindfulness. In addition, I felt more present in my thoughts and in my approach to decisions.

The best part of this mental health antidote? It’s 100% natural, safe, and you reap beautifying and enriching physical health benefits too!

It Helps Your Physical Health

Have you ever swum in the Dead Sea? I have been fortunate enough to experience the naturally occurring, high salinity body of water, and before I took a dip I was promised beautifying benefits to my skin.

There’s a reason why Dead Sea salt products are all the rage for smoother skin, and why your Epsom salt soaks for aches and pains growing up may have made your knees, elbows, hands, or feet softer: it softens layers of dead skin and then penetrates hydrating properties deep into new skin.

So, the magnesium salt water that you’re engulfed in is bettering the outside of your body, but it’s also doing wonders on the inside of your body too! Magnesium in the form of Epsom salts is deeply effective as a therapy for chronic pain. 

Wherever it may be your body holds pain, tension, or soreness, magnesium has been confirmed to reduce what’s hurting you. In this topical application, it draws lactic acid out in your body to reduce soreness and heal your tired muscles. 

Magnesium reduces muscle soreness and blood pressure.

Magnesium also works wonders to reduce blood pressure and slow down a quick heart rate, which ties right back into the calming aspect for your mental health. Your heart health is wealth, and many who are magnesium deficient are putting themselves at risk for cardiovascular complications. 

Consider this chilling statistic: over half of patients hospitalized or deceased from cardiovascular disease were deficient in magnesium. It’s a more common deficiency than one might normally hear about, but can be easily supplemented…especially if you’re regularly supplementing magnesium topically by soaking in a big, old Epsom salt mausoleum!

When you take into consideration how common high blood pressure and hypertension have become, it’s hard not to want to equip yourself with the best defenses possible. One sensory deprivation session won’t prevent you from having a heart attack, but consistent floatation therapy can ease your chronic pain and help contribute toward calmer heart health.

Not Gonna Lie… It’s a Great Date!

“Okay… but how did you even find out about this?” Well, when you’re in a relationship with a man whose main love language is quality time, you may find yourself hunting online for unique couple’s activities to spice up your routines. Or maybe that’s just me, but I digress.

I came across sensory deprivation therapy when I was trying to scheme up a good date night. My husband and I were feeling pretty open-minded toward trying something that we had never heard our friends, family, or colleagues trying out and gave it a go. 

Though you don’t get to float naked with one another in the same chamber – and believe me, you probably wouldn’t want to if you’re looking to really achieve that life-changing, intense relaxation – it’s still fun and intimate to know that you’re both undergoing an experience at the same time. 

My husband and I enjoyed comparing our experiences: from the downright bizarre thoughts that crossed our minds, to the music that started playing in our heads, to the altered perceptions of time or meditative moments where we drifted off into sleep and back again, to the feeling of our skin after having showered off all the salt. 

Closing Thoughts

Ditch the couple’s massage just once to try out what will certainly be a unique moment that enriches your mind, body, and soul! I fell in love with sensory deprivation therapy both for the experience I felt when I floated alone and for the adventure that my husband and I took together. 

In 2022, we’re acknowledging our overstimulation and doing something productive about it. The rejuvenation, relaxation, and physical and mental health benefits I gained when I took up sensory deprivation therapy have better equipped me to fight back not only against physical aches and pains, but also against my constant mental stimulation. We’ll all float on okay!

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