relaxation experiment: sensory deprivation tank

I’ve been reading a lot lately about sensory deprivation tanks, also known as isolation tanks or float tanks, and their association with deep relaxation.

So yesterday I visited The Float Space which recently opened at West End for my first float as part of my relaxation experiment. 

A modern float tank is filled with shallow water at body temperature containing 500 kilograms of Epsom salts which makes the water so dense you instantly float on its surface. Floating on the surface allows you to relax and forget about holding any posture – and the idea is to close the lid and turn off the lights to create a completely dark and silent chamber for 1 complete hour. 

I spent the first 10 or 15 minutes eyes closed floating on my back with my arms in a U position beside my head trying to not think about anything but my breathing. Trying not to think about anything is very hard for an anxious person so I was getting anxious about not relaxing!

Soon I drifted off into a deep relaxation where I lost track of the remaining 40 odd minutes and all I can remember is waking with the gentle music playing under the water. 

I was surprised that despite being anxious about relaxing I was able to enter a theta state during my float and I woke up feeling like I’d just had a pretty nice longer sleep. 

Whilst it felt good at the time and soon after, I didn’t see any longer term relaxation effects as yet. From what I’ve read the float tank centres recommend at least three sessions to see longer benefits. I’m not sure I can commit to another two sessions as they’re pricey at about $75 each. 


Before float: 7 (fairly tense)

15 mins into float: 8 (moderately tense – anxious about thoughts)

5 minutes after float: 4 fairly relaxed

2 hours after float: 5 slightly relaxed

1 day after float: 8 moderately tense (usual state – no effect 1 day later)

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