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Experiencing a Sensory Deprivation Tank and It's Benefits
Plenty of Room to Float Your Troubles Away
Yoga, massages, and facials are well known ways to relax and rejuvenate but a lesser known route is submitting yourself to the experience of a sensory deprivation tank. These tanks often called isolation tanks or flotation tanks offer the adventurous an uncommon experience.
Flotation tanks look like oversized coffins, each contain 10 inches of highly salinized water warmed to 93.5F, the average skin temperature. Dissolved Epsom salts in the water creates a very dense solution and allows the body to float effortlessly. The head also is effortlessly buoyant, keeping the nose and mouth well out of the water and alleviating concerns regarding drowning.
There is no smell associated with the water or tank effectively cutting out the sense of smell. Once the tank door closes all light and sound is blocked, shutting out your senses of sight and hearing. The temperature of the water is calibrated to match the human body temperature which effectively reduces the sensation between body and water. And, unless you are licking the water your taste buds are not involved in the experience. The shutting off of all external stimuli coupled with the removal of gravity allows the mind and body to gradually enter a deeply relaxed state.
My experience with SpaceTime Tanks located in Chicago, IL was intensely satisfying. When I walked in I immediately noticed the warm temperature, scent of incense and dim lighting. A sign asking all to turn off their cell phones and remove their shoes greeted all guests at the door and contributed to the spa-like atmosphere. Fresh flowers, a large fish tank, low volume music and small statues of Buddha, Krishna and Shiva completed the zen atmosphere.
Once it was my turn; I was led to my personal tank room which included a very nice shower area where plush towels, shampoo, and bodywash were provided. I was instructed to take a shower and then enter the flotation tank where I would be given an hour to enjoy the experience.
Thankfully I am not afraid of closed spaces but I did have a fleeting moment of discomfort once I closed the door of the tank and all light was banished. The fact that there is enough room for a person to sit up in the tank relives the feeling of being entombed which calmed my initial reservations. Floating was effortless and the time passed quickly. My mind relaxed and I seemed to enter hypnagogia the transition state between wakefulness and sleep. Reaching and maintaining this state and the benefits it confers is one of the goal of regular meditation. At the conclusion of my floatation experience I felt completely relaxed as if I had hours of deep sleep. My skin felt supple and soft one of the many benefits of bathing in salinized water. I typically hold tension in my neck and shoulder area however these muscles showed a remarkable improvement. Proponents of flotation tanks claim the floating posture allows postural muscles to deeply relax more so than in typical bed rest where local contact pressure points inhibits blood flow and requires regular adjustment of position whereas when floating there is no need to adjust posture and one can float immobile for many hours. My muscles which felt as if I had received a massage seem to support this claim.
My calm relaxed feeling lasted the rest of the day, and later that night; I had some of the best sleep of my life. Surprisingly the sleep benefits were noticeable for at least the next week. I would heartily recommend this experience to all.
© 2013 ShalinaNicohl