by Adam Barnes: Sensory deprivation tanks, or float tanks, as they’re commonly called, are dark, soundproof tanks designed to create an environment devoid of sensation.
- Sensory deprivation tanks create a sound- and light-free space that many find deeply relaxing.
- Evidence suggests floating may help improve focus and relieve anxiety, depression, and pain.
- If you’d like to try it yourself, ask nearby spas and wellness centers if they offer float sessions.
A float tank is usually long enough to lie down in and tall enough to sit up in. They contain water at a shallow depth, heated to skin temperature and saturated with enough epsom salt that you’re completely buoyant in the water, able to float effortlessly. When the tank’s lid is closed, you lie in the tank with no sound, light, or sense of gravity.
You might wonder, why would anyone want to do that? Well, supporters of floating tanks believe the practice has many benefits for the nervous system, including helping relieve stress and anxiety.
While float tanks were originally developed in the 1950s by researchers interested in sensory deprivation’s effect on the brain, it wasn’t until the 2000s that floating began to become popular among the general public. You can now find float tanks in many spas and wellness centers.
Beyond helping ease stress and anxiety, float tanks may offer other benefits, including improved sleep, pain relief, and more.