This past Sunday I was able to cross another item off my summer bucket list. I have been wanting to meditate in a deprivation tank for a while after completing some research about the positive effects of this experience. Sensory deprivation in a flotation tank is a method that is known for inducing deep relaxation and stress reduction. It involves floating in a highly concentrated Epsom salt solution within a confined space. The participant is devoid of sight, sound, and gravity as they buoyantly drift around the deprivation tank letting go of stress, muscle tension, and thought. The main goal for me was to see if I could reach a deeper level of meditation through the process. Before going to try the experience for myself I wanted to do a little more research on the benefits of this increasingly popular fad. A brief write-up of my findings is listed below.
Through my research I have come to the conclusion a regular recurring sensory deprivation program can alleviate negative psychological issues such as stress, pain perception, depression, insomnia, and anxiety. A study done by the US National Library of Medicine was conducted to analyze the beneficial effects of treatment with sensory isolation. Sixty-five participants (14 men and 51 women) were enlisted as part of a cooperative-health project initiated by their companies. Participants were randomized to a wait-list group or a flotation tank treatment program lasting several weeks with a total of twelve flotation session. Results showed that there was a significant reduction in anxiety, pain, stress, and depression within the flotation-REST group. Sleep quality also significantly increased within this group. No significant results for the control group were seen (Kjellgren & Westman, 2014).
After conducting my research I thought it was time to schedule a float. I found a small place in Denver called Easy Float and scheduled a time with a friend. I was pleasantly surprised when I ventured into the downstairs of this small establishment. The owner was extremely nice and went over the process of floating since it was my first time. He discussed the benefits of floating and gave me a tour of the facility. The facility included 4 different rooms. Each room had a shower area, as well as a float tank. I said me goodbyes to the owner and locked the door behind me. I proceeded to get undressed, put wax earplugs in my ears, and slipped into the 95 degree salt water. there was a soft blue light illuminating the water while I got situated. The owner instructed me earlier that the light would shut off when the 90 minutes started. Two minutes later I found myself floating in the pitch black as my mind raced around varying thoughts. 20 minutes into the session and I was still having a hard time meditating and kept focusing on the fact that this experience was going to last 90 minutes. 40 minutes into it and I started to let go, my mind stop wandering and I let myself go. I’m not sure if I was in deep mediation, or if I fell asleep because the 90 minutes seemed to fly by. Soft music began to play which I knew was a cue from the owner that the session was almost up and the lights would come on soon. I exited the tank and showered before venturing back into the world. I felt rejuvenated! My entire body especially my spine felt like I was a child again. It is amazing what ninety minutes of no tension or gravity on your spine can do. Whether it be for meditation, relaxation, or physical ailments, I think there is something to be gained through a deprivation tank experience for everyone. It might be a fad nowadays, but it is a fad that I would graciously be a part of on the regular.
Kjellgren, A., & Westman, J. (2014). Beneficial effects of treatment with sensory isolation in flotation-tank as a preventive health-care intervention – a randomized controlled pilot trial. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 14(1). doi:10.1186/1472-6882- 14-417
Bood SÅ, Kjellgren A, Nordenström K, Nordström G, Nordström L, Norlander Eliciting the relaxation response with the help of flotation-REST (restricted environmental stimulation technique) in patients with stress-related ailments. Int J Stress Manag. 2006;13:154–175. doi: 10.1037/1072-5245.13.2.154.
Below is my 2017 Summer Bucket list. I plan to write a post when I complete each item on the list recounting my experience. Each crossed off item below is linked to the initial blog post and the list will continue to grow and be updated as the year passes.
2017 Summer Bucket List
LEARN TO FALL WITH STYLE
- OVERCOME MY FEAR OF NEEDLES
MEDITATE IN A SENSORY DEPRIVATION TANK
- JUMP OFF SOME COLORADO CLIFFS
- LEARN TO FIGHT WITH A SWORD
- HIKE THE NEVER ENDING STAIRS
- YOGA ON THE ROCKS
- COMPLETE THE EPIC SKY TREK CHALLENGE
- GLIDE ACROSS EVERGREEN LAKE
- DUST OFF THE OLD ROLLER BLADES
- SUNRISE SWIM IN CHERRY CREEK
- ROCK CLIMBING
- ADVENTURES WITH AN EQUINE FRIEND
- COMPLETE (PADI) OPEN WATER DIVE CERTIFICATION