What is Sensory Deprivation Therapy?

Float Spa

Sensory deprivation is defined as the deliberate removal of stimuli from one or more
senses, and in the case of floatation therapy, all of them. This therapeutic practice involves a
cabin filled with 11” of water and up to 1400 pounds of dissolved Epsom salts. Although floating
is not zero-gravity (like outer space), the density of the Epsom salt solution does create the
maximal amount of the force of gravity to be dispersed across the greatest surface area of the
body. The floater is free from external stimuli such as sight, sound, touch, temperature, and the
force of gravity. Floating is effortless in water calibrated to match average skin temperature
(93.5°F). Regular floating aids stress reduction, pain relief, and deeper states of rest and
meditation helping to relax, rejuvenate, and heal the body, mind, and soul. Living in a city with a
constant buzz or hum, our systems rarely experience the isolation and true silence that the float
pod environment provides. The sensory deprivation cabin or pod eliminates as much external
stimuli as possible, allowing our nervous system to have a break, which is uplifting and
revitalizing.

In the late 1960’s, Neurophysiologist and psychoanalyst John C. Lilly, M.D. had the idea
of floating in a supersaturated solution of Epsom salt to further his exploration of the limits of
human consciousness. By completely enclosing the water, maintained at skin temperature, Dr.
Lilly was able to create a unique environment for meditation and scientific research. Since then
it has been picked up by other pioneers like Peter Suedfeld and Rodrick Borrie who performed
experiments with sensory deprivation. They named their technique Restricted Environmental
Stimulation Therapy (REST). In 1982 the International REST Investigations Society (IRIS) was
formed which gave scientific researchers the network to share their findings. Scientists around
the globe have experimented with sensory deprivation relating to couples counseling, children
with autism, visualization for improved athletic performance, rehabilitation and recovery from
injuries.

Over the last few decades this integrative healing tool has been applied to many areas
of human development. Frequent floating has shown to improve overall health without the use
of drugs, which has sparked the interest in the field of medicine. The stress reduction and
increased rate of recovery has made the floating experience very appealing to fitness
enthusiasts and trainers alike. Presently, sensory deprivation therapy rapid trend has sparked
the opening of many float centers around the world to help the average person relax and feel
rejuvenated. As this therapy gains more world wide support from the health and science fields of
research we will individually and collectively truly uncover the deeper benefits.

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