Sensory Deprivation? What is it?

Sensory deprivation or perceptual isolation, According to Wikipedia, sensory deprivation is the deliberate reduction or removal of stimuli from one or more of the senses. Simple devices such as blindfolds or hoods and earmuffs can cut off sight and hearing, while more complex devices can also cut off the sense of smell, touch, taste, thermoception (heat-sense), and ‘gravity’. Sensory deprivation has been used in various alternative medicines and in psychological experiments (e.g. with an isolation tank).

An Isolation tank, pod or chamber removes stimuli from light, sound, thermoception and gravity. The float tank (float pod) is filled with 11 inches of water and between 800 to 1000 pounds of Epsom Salt allowing you to float experiencing zero gravity; water is heated at skin temperature removing thermoception, lights are turned off removing visual stimuli and there is no music or sound removing any acoustic stimuli.  A 60 minute session of sensory deprivation is relaxing and conductive to meditation, introspection and healing.

Sensory deprivation helps the floaters enter a state of deep relaxation calming the nervous system and increasing the immune function of the body. While floating the brain reaches the Tetha State, the body releases Endorphins, suppresses or regulates the output of the Stress hormones, cortisol, and the body gets rid of harmful chemical reducing pain, fatigue, stress and muscular tension.

When did Sensory Deprivation start?

Sensory deprivation was first developed by the American physician, neuroscientist, psychoanalyst, psychonaut, philosopher, writer and inventor John C. Lilly in 1954. He found that the isolation tanks provide an overall feeling of body, mind and spiritual wellness and tranquility. In theses isolation tanks people floated in total darkness, and silence in an enclosed environment. Dr. Lilly’s idea was to study the origins of consciousness; He tried to study consciousness by cutting the brain off from all stimuli.

In the first Sensory Deprivation tanks people where standing with only their heads above the water, eventually tanks were filled with 800 pounds of Epsom Salts making the water so dense that people could float effortlessly. Over the years, and with the changing needs of the floater population, the isolation tanks evolved from isolation chambers into beautiful float pods where floaters can customize their float and experience total or partial sensory deprivation according to their needs and preferences.

It wasn’t until the early 1970’s that people began using float tanks / Isolation chambers as places to meditate and heal becoming very popular in North America, Europe and now all over the world.

At SensaFloat Spa our clients can experience total Sensory Deprivation or customize their float experience.


 Float tank sensory deprivation pod

Sensory Deprivation - relaxation

Sensory Deprivation tanks where you can control which stimuli to remove