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.