Why is Sensory Deprivation good for you?
Today, it’s almost impossible to escape from technology. Our eyes, our ears and our minds are being constantly stimulated. You could say that our senses are overloaded.
While we’ve all come to accept that smartphones, tablets and 24-hour email are a part of our lives, we need to make sure we find time to switch off the mind and power down.
Sensory deprivation does precisely that. It gives you the chance to eliminate all outside distractions and completely rejuvenate the mind and the body. One of the most popular sensory deprivation tools is a floatation pod.
For first time users of a flotation pod, it can all seem a bit futuristic. You step into a space-age looking chamber, isolated in relative darkness. As you lay back, your body becomes weightless, floating in a tank of magnesium concentrated water.
The truth is, this form of therapy isn’t new. It was developed in the 1950s by neuroscientist and psychoanalyst John C.Lilly, MD. He studied the effects that sensory deprivation floatation had on anxiety, addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder. His results prompted him to develop the first commercial float tank/pod, and there are many good reasons why floatation therapy remains so popular today.
The science behind floatation therapy
Floatation therapy, also known as Reduced Environmental Stimulation Therapy (REST), has experienced a resurgence in the last decade. It may seem like a bit of a novelty or a great gift idea for someone, but the science behind the therapy is very real.
Anyone who works-out regularly has experienced ‘the burn’. Essentially, it’s when the body releases lactic acid to help prevent damage to the muscle cells. Whether you are a professional athlete or a weekend warrior, the burn can sometimes linger longer than expected. However, at the , their research has discovered that a float session can help to significantly reduce the lactate levels within the body and help maintain an optimal level of fitness.
So, how does floating help reduce your body’s lactic acid? One key element is the level of magnesium in the water. The magnesium, which is present due to the use of Epsom-salts, soaks into your muscles and helps flush out the lactic acid. The actual act of floating, being weightless, can also help to diminish the lactic acid in your body.
Anxiety and stress
Today, people are much more open about their challenges with anxiety and stress.
Due to the increased public attention, many organisations have carried out studies around reducing anxiety and other stress-related issues. The researched the effect that floatation therapy had on anxiety and the results were quite definitive.
After just a single one-hour float session, all of the research participants reported a reduction in their state of anxiety and a noticeable increase in their happiness, serenity, energy levels and positivity.
Only one participant reported feeling extreme anxiety before their session. After 20 minutes, this feeling had begun to disappear and by the end of the session, her fear was replaced by extreme positive feelings.
Another study reported on noted that all the participants in their research experienced substantial reductions in anxiety and muscle tension after their float session. The reduced anxiety levels were most likely a by-product of the float environment, which acts to minimise any external triggers of stress.
What should you expect from your float session?
We all live such busy lives – our home life, our work life, our online social media life. For many people, the issue is not being able to switch on. The issue is switching off.
Will your first float session change everything? Probably not.
Most people find that their first float session is a bit disjointed. Many thoughts will be racing around in your head. Do I leave the light on or off? Will I really float? What if I fall asleep? It can sometimes take a while to ease into relaxation mode.
As we have become so wired to be constantly doing something, like checking our phone or our email, the thought of doing nothing for 60 minutes seems very foreign. It’s often in the second and third session where people start to relax and fully experience the benefits of sensory deprivation.
So, before your phone ‘bings’ to remind you about another urgent message, look into float therapy and find out how you can escape the world… if only for an hour.