Posted on 09 July 2011.
The Taste of Water: Water Isn’t Tasteless
We usually think of water as being tasteless, odorless, and colorless. However, this is a misconception. In fact, we like our water to have a taste—in blind taste tests, we prefer tap water to distilled water. Most taste testers agree that water should have a taste, but that it shouldn’t stand out.
How the Taste of Water Varies
Several factors influence the taste of water. Tap water taste changes depending on where you live and the water treatment process in your area. We commonly associate municipal water with the slightly acidic taste of chlorine. Carbonation levels affect carbonated water’s taste. Greater amounts of carbon dioxide make the water taste more acidic—drinkers call this acidity “spritzy” or “sharp,” and may enjoy or dislike this taste based on their own personal preferences. Bottled water brands mislead consumers into thinking that bottled water tastes better than tap water: blind taste tests show that most consumers prefer tap water. When water is used as an ingredient, the water’s taste in turn affect affects the foods and drinks that it helps make.
How We Judge the Taste of Water
We think of water as being tasteless, but subconsciously we are always judging its flavor. We consider water’s saltiness, its softness, its earthiness. When most people talk about tap water’s “taste,” they are really referring to its flavor. While taste is merely what one perceives with the tongue, flavor takes into account smell and touch, or mouthfeel, in addition to taste. Our 100,000 taste buds are assess the four basic stimuli of sweetness, sourness, bitterness and saltiness of all of the water that we drink. Most taste testers agree that water should have flavor, but shouldn’t stand out. Most taste testers also agree that water’s flavor is enhanced when we filter out chemicals like sulfur and chlorine.
Why the Taste of Water Varies
All water molecules are made up of two hydrogen atoms combined with one oxygen atom. However, water’s taste nevertheless varies. The taste of water varies because water is a universal solvent. That is, water dissolves a little bit of everything it touches. As water travels, it picks up dissolved mineral traces from everything it touches, traces that affect the way the water tastes. This is why the taste of water varies depending on where it comes from.
Posted in Taste
Posted on 08 July 2011.
What is an isolation tank? You may have heard people talking about isolation tanks recently, but you may not know what they are yourself. An isolation tank is a lightless, soundproof tank in which a person floats in skin temperature salt water. Isolation tanks employ sensory deprivation as a tool for meditation and relaxation. Some consider isolation tanks a form of alternative medicine. Isolation tanks go by many names, such as float tanks, sensory deprivation tanks, and floatation baths.
What Is an Isolation Tank: Tank Design and Use
Isolation tanks are designed to cut off all stimuli. The water in isolation tanks is filled with Epsom salt, which increases the water’s salinity and density, allowing users to float more easily with their faces above the water. Because the users’ ears float below the water, hearing is reduced. Other users use ear-plugs to further cut off sound. Users float with their arms by their sides, reducing skin sensation. To reduce smell, the water is treated as little as possible. The water temperature is carefully matched with the air temperature, cutting down one’s feeling of having a body boundary. In short, the isolation tank is designed to eliminate as many stimuli as possible.
What Is an Isolation Tank: How to Use an Isolation Tank
People usually use the isolation tank while naked. While users can technically wear swimsuits, this is discouraged because the elastic on swimsuits can uncomfortably compress skin, producing extraneous negative stimuli. Because the water should be altered by external forces as little as possible, users must bathe before entering the tank. After their isolation tank session, users must bathe again to cleanse their skin of the Epsom salt. For this reason, a shower is usually installed in the same room as the tank. This allows the user can switch directly from the shower to the tank and the tank to the shower.
What Is an Isolation Tank: The History of the Isolation Tank
The isolation tank was created in 1954 by medical practitioner John C. Lilly. John C. Lilly, a trained psychoanalyst, wanted to experiment with sensory deprivation. Several theories about sensory deprivation were circulating in Lilly’s. These theories held that the brain could go to sleep if all stimuli were cut off to it. Lilly decided to test these theories with the isolation tank, an experimental environment that would isolate the individual from external stimulations. He used this experimental environment to study awareness and consciousness. Experimenters at other universities continue his studies today. What is an isolation tank? A relaxation technique whose benefits are still being researched today.
Posted in What Is/Are...?