Isolation Tanks just for Stress?

Isolation tanks are well known for the effects they have over stress and anxiety and the benefits associated with it. It is actually becoming trendy to say yes when someone asks if you have been inside a sensory deprivation or isolation tank. Everyone is talking about the benefits that floating has reducing stress, anxiety, calming the mind and reaching the Tetha state.

Floating in sensory deprivation or isolation tanks also has a wide range of benefits for another segment of the population which sometimes we neglect to mention. Individuals that are dealing with chronic pain, Fibromyalgia, sports injuries and lower or back pain, just to mention a few, also benefit from a float session in an isolation tank or pod. Many of these individuals walk into our float center, after having tried everything, including traditional and non-traditional medicine, looking less than hopeful and saying something along the lines of “Someone told me to give this a try and who knows….”. Some individuals are not looking for Sensory Deprivation, they are looking for pain relief and relaxation in an isolation tank.

As owners and managers of SensaFloat Spa, we don’t make any promises or give anyone higher than normal expectations of what they can or cannot achieve during the float session. It is a unique experience. In floating nothing is written in stone. We just give the new floaters the tour of the premises, and let them be. We explain the benefits of Epsom Salt and Magnesium, answer any questions that they may have and we leave them to enjoy their float.

Isolation tank

Isolation Tank

Isolation Tanks have other Benefits besides Stress Relieve 

It is such a wonderful experience to see, after the end of each session, how the new floaters come out of the sensory deprivation or isolation tanks, with very few exceptions, smiling and rejoicing about their new experience. In some new floaters, it is easy to detect, even a change in the facial expressions. A change that says “I am Pain-free”. It is at this moment, that as owners and managers we can brag about the benefits of floating in enriched Epsom Salt water and we can confidently say that isolation tanks have multiple benefits.

Carolina Barreneche
SensaFloat Spa


Why Seek Sensory Deprivation?

Sensory deprivation seems like the opposite of everything we have been taught

Sensory Deprivation seems to go against what we are exposed to and expected to react to. The world welcomes us with light, music, voices, and lots of information. As we grow up, we continue to be overloaded with information, lights, music and tons of noises and an increasing amount of input.

Our brains go from being a clean slate to having to continuously process a multitude of inputs, store information and, in a demanding world, produce high quality results. In an ever-changing society, our minds have to adapt to the changing technology and to different forms of communication. How different life was 50 years ago; few hours of television, few telephone calls and no mobile phones. At night, people were able to rest. Now a days, many people don’t even have eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. Cell phones ring, text messages give notifications and we communicate with people on different time zones.

Our brains are constantly working. that is why we seek Sensory Deprivation, to allow our senses time to rest. A calm and quiet hour for the mind, for the body and the soul. One hour without lights, music or external inputs.

An Hour of Sensory Deprivation

Every night, when we go to sleep, we let our body rest and our muscles take a break, our senses also need to rest. Rest according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary is “A bodily state characterized by minimal functional and metabolic activities”. No mention of the senses; The senses also need to rest and that is when R.E.S.T. comes into play through flotationSensory Deprivation tank - float pod therapy.  R.E.S.T. meaning Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy. While floating in an isolation pod or tank, the sensory input is restricted and the senses can take a much needed REST when we float in a isolation pod or isolation tank.


Sensory Deprivation Tank vs Float Tank

A question we frequently get asked. Are float tanks and sensory deprivation tanks the same? Can I achieve the same results that I achieve in a Sensory Deprivation Tank inside a Float Tank?

An ambiguous answer. Yes and no. Float Tanks and Sensory Deprivation Tanks are not the same; each have their own unique characteristics. However you can achieve the same results in a Float Tank as you do in a Sensory Deprivation Tank.

Sensory Deprivation practices started as a therapy that attempted to provide the individual with Sensory Deprivation. The best way to enjoy Sensory Deprivation was by being inside an isolation tank or isolation chamber. Tanks provide auditory and visual isolation, b1072274_556723667718325_713930947_olocking outside stimuli while the individual floats in Epsom Salt and enjoys zero gravity. Isolation of the senses and zero gravity. Tanks definitively provide this Sensory Deprivation.

As time went by, many individuals began to appreciate the benefits of floating in Epsom Salt and zero gravity. Individuals with chronic pain, fibromyalgia, sports injuries, stress, anxiety, and addictions began to seek Float Therapy as an alternative therapy.

As the needs of the population changed, so did the industry. Different Float Tanks appeared to fulfill those needs. Float Tanks provide individuals with the same benefits of an Isolation or Sensory Deprivation Tank with some added features that cater to those individuals not necessarily looking for sensory deprivation or that want to ease slowly into it.

Float Tanks, just as the Sensory Deprivation Tanks, provide auditory and visual isolation, block outside stimuli and allow floating in Epsom Salt at zero gravity; however, Float Tanks provide additional features that can be controlled by the floater and give the floater a sense of empowerment.

  • Lights that can be turned on and off from inside the tank by the floater
  • Music that can be programed in advance for the whole session or for part of it
  • The possibility to float with the lid completely open or half way open. Ideal for those that are claustrophobic

Back to the initial question “Are Float Tanks and Sensory Deprivation Tanks or Sensory Deprivation Chambers the same?

Yes and No

Claustrophobia and Floating

1072274_556723667718325_713930947_oThree or four years ago, I didn’t know what an isolation tank was and was not really interested in any of the health benefits associated with it. Once I became acquainted with flotation therapy, as many people do, my first words were “There is no way in the world that I am going to get inside one of those things, I am claustrophobic”. Nowadays, I hear my clients repeating these same words and I sympathize with what they say.
Very valid assertion. If you consider yourself Claustrophobic a sensory deprivation tank is not very appealing; however, today people suffering from Claustrophobia can enjoy the same sensory deprivation experiences as people who are not afraid of being “locked up” in a tank.
Today the sensory deprivation chambers have evolved into beautiful, modern and technologically advanced pods where the floater can control the lights and the music. However, the most important feature the new pods have is that the floater can control whether to float with the top open or closed.
Once the claustrophobic person floats for the first time and overcomes his/her fears they become great floaters. I have noticed the following behaviours tend to develop:
1. They become more self-confident and feel proud of themselves
2. They tell everyone how they were able to conquer their claustrophobia and start helping other people do the same
3. They can fully relax and enjoy their float while being liberated of the fear and the anxiety caused by Claustrophobia. In addition and most importantly, they start enjoying all the health benefits associated with the high content of Epsom Salt and pain relief achieved while floating
4. Usually the newly acquired confidence leads them to try new things such as floating with the top half closed or moving into closing the top completely
5. At the personal level, they start taking more risks. I have heard many stories of people feeling so confident that they decide to start that project that they had been thinking about for a while or to change jobs, or move to another city
Definitively Claustrophobics make great floaters!

Jet Lag

Jet lag is experienced by almost any individual after a long flight over different time zones. The body is used to some sleeping patterns and when the biological clock or this sleep patterns are disrupted, there is an overall feeling of tiredness, uncontrollable desire to sleep, fatigue, irritability and difficulty concentrating just to mention a few of the symptoms.

The nap pods provide in 30 minutes the ability to catch up on sleep through an energizing a relaxing nap. This nap will allow the individual to synchronize the  biological clock more easily and adapt to the new time zone in a less traumatic way.

A symphony of music and vibration combine to give you a neuromuscular massage. The neuromuscular massage travels through the nervous system allowing mind and body to relax and fight insomnia, fatigue and jet lag.

“The comforting vibration fills your body, leaving you in a state of peaceful tranquility” Is how the Neurospa official website describes the sensation experienced. It’s a revitalizing experience.


Today nap pods / neurospa stations are being used in many airports to help passengers and airline personnel overcome the symptoms of jetlag.


Floating a Growing Trend For 2016


Last night, I attended a business network event where, for a voluntary contribution to a charity, we could promote our businesses. Everyone seemed very excited setting up. All the ladies around me seemed to know each other and there I was trying to promote my new business and feeling uncertain as to what the reaction was going to be.

When I started looking around, I realized that I just had some brochures and some business cards that I had somewhere in my purse, that was it. The other ladies at the other booths had great displays with lots of products and colours, they even had ordering pads. “Wow” I thought “this is going to be a long night and I don’t think it is going to be the best because I don’t have much to display”.

As time went by, I noticed that more and more people gravitated towards my not so well decorated booth. People started gathering around my table and not only talking to me but also talking among themselves. Here I was, with my business speech prepared, and suddenly I realized that rather than asking me lots of questions, of course there were some questions asked, they were telling each other about the experiences they had while floating.

So many people knew about it. Some said that they loved it and wanted to do it again while others, just two to be fair, said that they had already tried it and where thinking if they wanted to repeat the experience or not. Most of them agreed with the fact that the two determining factors for having a good floating experience were being able to see and confirm that they were floating in clean water and that they didn’t feel claustrophobic. “What a relief” I thought “our float pods meet both factors, we pass the test with flying colours”

Some people talked about the benefits of floating, the Epsom Salt and the Magnesium. But I never expected what happened next. When my turn came to present my business, we were all siting down in a circle, I started to give my speech and suddenly this young and very trendy lady interrupted me and started talking about floating. But not about what we usually talk when we talk about floating. This is pretty much what she said.

“Floating is going to be In thing to do in 2016. It is going to be the trendy thing for next year. Last Saturday, I was looking it up on the internet because I was curious about it and found that it is what all the actors and actresses in Hollywood are doing. It is the new thing to do, and what people are talking about. If any one of you needs something interesting to talk about on a date or when out with a group of friends, floating is the thing.  Make sure you know what it is, give it a try and read about it; otherwise you are going to be the quiet one on the corner without knowing what to say. Besides it has lots of benefits and it is natural, you are not putting any chemicals in your body.” After she finished her speech, I didn’t have much to add. Needless to say, more and more people came over to my booth after her speech.

Then I realize that 2016 is going to be one of the best years for the Float industry.



At First Sight – a Movie About Sensory Deprivation??

Well not really, but it gives us a wonderful perspective about the senses and visual overload.   I had never seen this movie or even heard about it. The closest I had gotten to it was when a friend’s daughter had a cochlear implant and she full of joy informed me that her daughter’s implant would be turned on and off until she got used to “hearing”.

Here I am watching this movie, all excited to see how this man is soon going to recover his sight. He has gone thru a lot during his lifetime being blind and suddenly this great opportunity opens up. Yes, he recovers his sight. Wonderful! That is what I thought. But was I wrong.

This man that had always been blind, was overwhelmed by sensory, in his case visual overload. His brain couldn’t process so much information, he couldn’t handle it either. We hardly ever think about this. We go thru life “seeing”.  Seeing so many things.

Sometimes our eyes get tired, if it is too bright our eyes get teary and we close them but we never stop to think about the amount of information that our brain has to process when we simply “See”. Just look around you and “see” all the objects that surround you, tables, pencils, lamps, carpet the list can go on and on, the little things, every little tiny object that we see is seen by the eye but processed by our brain.

This is where Deprivation Therapy comes into play. Deprivation therapy gives your senses a rest. The beauty of it is that while awake, the senses can REST Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique, meaning that in a restricted environment with almost zero stimulation you can have your senses get a deserved temporary rest.

In the same way in which in the movie, Virgil Adamson, is overwhelmed by the visual overload and needs to close his eyes to let his brain rest, not his eyes so much but his brain, we also need to give our senses some rest in order to recharge and continue our journey.   The Theta state achieved during floating therapy allows us to achieve this REST. Our Senses can REST.