Facts About Sensory Deprivation Tanks
There are so many things that can be said about sensory deprivation tanks. While some of it stands somewhere in between speculation and fact, there are hard facts available. Is it safe? Who started it all? Can one actually have an out of body experience? The questions are endless and luckily there is a whole lot of information currently on ground. The diverse experiences many have recorded while using these tanks makes them seem quite enigmatic. Based on that here are some handy facts about sensory deprivation tanks for curious minds everywhere.
What Are Sensory Deprivation Tanks
Also widely referred to as float or isolation tanks, these are dark or dimly lit soundproof tanks filled with about a foot of water and Epsom salt to facilitate floating. The idea behind it is to limit the senses relied on the most in order to create a higher sense of awareness. While in this meditative state, people have a range of experiences that are actually quite therapeutic, both physically and mentally. Some have been said to experience hallucinations while others have testified that it helped get their creative juices flowing.
Who Created Them?
These tanks have been around for quite some time and date back all the way to 1954 when a neuroscientist named John C. Lilly designed the first one. He was trying to grasp the concept of consciousness while blocking out all external influences. In the 1960’s, he began to tread on controversial grounds after the addition of hallucinogenics and anaesthetics in the mix. Nevertheless, his creation stayed afloat because about a decade later, it was being used commercially in a bid to unleash its therapeutic potential.
Can Sensory Deprivation Produce Adverse Effects?
Just like everything else in the world, too much sensory deprivation can produce horrific results. It can actually be used as a form of torture; which such a case recorded in 2007, on a convicted terrorist known as José Padilla. Unlike most therapeutic sessions which last about an hour, José was restricted to a small cell void of sound and light for days at a stretch. This did not bode well for his mental and physical state afterwards.
What Are The Immediate Effects?
As aforementioned, everyone has different experiences in a sensory deprivation tank and individuals have been recorded to have a range of experiences every time they indulged. A handful of people, over the years, have reported that they experienced symptoms of psychosis, increased creativity and intuition, enhanced focus and concentration as well as a boost in strenuous physical activities. There are actual studies to back this up and though people are recording different experiences every day, these stand out as the most likely effects of sensory deprivation.
How Much Does It Cost?
There is no doubt that since the earliest days of their commercialization, sensory deprivation tanks have come a long way. Best believe that it still costs a mean buck to either own one personally or undergo a session. The cost of actually owning one range between $10,000 to $30,000 which is quite steep. Nevertheless, when factoring in the fact that a float session at the spa costs about $50 to $100, perhaps owning one could save cost for someone who indulges quite often.
Is Drowning In A Tank Possible?
Originally, sensory deprivation tanks were filled with about 160 gallons of water and everything but the top of the head was submerged. The new design totally eliminates the need for total submersion and involves the use of shallow water saturated with about 800- 1000 pounds of Epsom salt. This makes it so that the water is incredibly dense and anyone in it will be caused to float. Based on that, drowning is practically impossible, anyone in it is more likely to get salt in their eyes.
Other Adverse Effects
Every coin has two sides, so as great as sensory deprivation tanks are wonderful on so many levels, there are certain downsides that come with using them. Studies have shown that depending on the different methods by which these tanks get cleaned out, both internally and by the spa attendants, certain unhealthy microorganisms could survive and infect anyone that goes in the tank. This is why it is important to carefully vet the spa keeping it in mind that tanks do not make use of strong cleaning agents such as chlorine.
Does It Aid Interdimensional Travel?
Thanks to John C. Lilly and pop culture, there are certain myths surrounding the use of sensory deprivation tanks. A handful of people believe, while some hope to believe, that it can serve as a way to travel between dimensions. It could have been the introduction of LSD and Ketamine into the mix, but Lilly claimed that he often travelled to other dimensions and even got the chance to interact with different creatures from worlds more advanced than ours. Is it true? It would seem that he was experiencing hallucinations, but it’s altogether nice to hope.
Has Anyone Died While Floating?
Unfortunately, someone has been reported dead after a session in a sensory deprivation tank, but it was not as a result of ‘drowning’ or any other obvious reasons. Not many people have kicked the bucket while floating, but there was one instance that stood out glaringly. The National Institute of Health recorded the death of a 50-year-old woman who died as a result of ethanol toxicity, her cocktail of drugs and hypothermia. It is quite unfortunate that this occurred while she was part of a study intended to highlight the improper use of a sensory deprivation tank in which she happened to draw the short end of the stick.
Do We Have It All Figured Out?
Though these tanks have been around since the ’50s, there is still so much to be discovered and understood about the practice. In fact, the research is still in its budding stages.