When it comes to managing your pain, the first choice seems to be heavy medications or nothing at all.
There is a middle ground for pain management, relaxation, reduced blood pressure, and reduced anxiety: float tanks.
These float tanks are a bit of an investment upfront but the multitude of benefits make it a great choice for anyone who wants to get away from using medication and turn to more holistic methods.
Float tanks offer not just physical benefits for anyone looking for pain relief but also help with emotional and mental issues like anxiety and improved sleep.
Choosing a float tank takes time to sort through all the different features on each one.
We’ve brought together some of the best ones on the market so you can quickly glance through some of the features and choose the one that fits your family best!
What Is a Float Tank
Float tanks or sensory deprivation tanks offer a whole different kind of therapy for you at home or a spa. The easy-to-set-up design and immersive experience are some of the best on the market for dealing with a host of issues.
This float tank is typically used for restricted environmental stimulation therapy or REST.
The design of the float tank is simple. Each one is a dark, soundproof tank that is then filled up with a foot or so of saltwater. The first tank of this style was created in 1954 by a neuroscientist who wanted to study the origins of consciousness.
He achieved this study by cutting off external stimuli and creating an area that was deprived of any sensory issues.
After the devolution of the study by this neuroscientist in the 1970s, these commercial tanks were starting to be created and then began being studied for health benefits. During this time, scientists regularly experimented with sensory deprivation and hallucinogenic drugs including LSD.
This quickly caused major health problems within the test subjects and the experiments were abandoned. Now, float centers and spas offer this therapy regularly.
Studies have been conducted over the years and have proven the supposed health benefits from these float tanks. Even if you’re healthy, float tanks offer great benefits like muscle relaxation, quality sleep, the ability to lower your pain, and less stress and anxiety.
While more studies have yet to be completed when it comes to showing all the benefits sensory deprivation might have, there are plenty of benefits that make it a great choice for pain management and anxiety reduction.
How Does Sensory Deprivation Work
Sensory deprivation on its surface can seem like a medieval torture system! But sensory deprivation and float tanks are completely safe and offer a unique way to help deal with a whole host of issues.
The water inside the float tank is first heated up to skin temperature before being saturated with Epsom salt. This isn’t just a sprinkle of bath salts like you might use in your tub at home. This is a complete saturation of the water which then helps keep you afloat while you’re in the tank itself.
You then get into the tank without clothes or a swimsuit and you’re shut off from any outside noise, light, and sight. With the saturation of the Epsom salt, you’re cut off from gravity as well and this leaves you floating in the dark.
While this may seem like an unnatural state at first, your body will enter a deep relaxing mode when you’re floating, weightless, like this. This simple time floating in a sensory deprivation tank offers your mind a chance to shut off everything else and has been known to produce hallucinations and enhanced creativity.
The sensory deprivation tank shuts off all sound, light, and even gravity. Your mind can easily turn inward and gives you lots of time to just focus on relaxation.
This leeches away any anxiety and stress and any physical pain is lessened as you float in the water. The overall effects for each person will be different depending on the issues you feel like you’re dealing with.
Best Sensory Deprivation Float Tanks
Heading to your local spa each time you need a bit of relaxation or sensory deprivation can end up being costly and will have you driving all over the neighborhood once or twice a week. Instead, investing in your float tank can give you all the support you need and a place to shut out the world for a time.
You’ll want to start with a solid budget and stick to it as you shop.
There are many different options available when it comes to floating tanks for at-home sensory deprivation so keep your budget and your needs in mind as you shop!
Your home is not dedicated to the idea of being a spa or a professional float center so you’re at-home float tank should conform to your home! The Zen Float Tank includes all of the normal sensory deprivation features but has a new design that works better in your home than older designs.
The shape of the tank allows for condensation from the water to run down the sides of the tank instead of dripping off the ceiling. With the water rolling down the sides instead of dripping from the roof, your sensory deprivation time won’t be interrupted by an annoying drip or two on your forehead.
The footprint of this tank is just 4×8 feet so it’s small enough to fit nearly anywhere in your home but still big enough to accommodate a comfortable float during your sensory deprivation time.
All of the materials used in this floating tent are BPA-free and undergo serious 7P testing. Parts for the tent remain under a warranty so you’re protected at all times if anything should break.
The up-front cost for this unit is $1,700 so you’ll have a hefty investment to just get started. This float tank weighs in at 106 pounds without water and once water is added, the entire thing will weigh about 2200 pounds.
The unit is designed to be energy efficient so you won’t be wasting electricity each time you get in for afloat.
- High-quality design and well-made
- Well-designed for pain relieve
- Easy to set up and maintain
- Affordable to run and use
- May not be available outside of the US
- Epsom salt isn’t included in the kit
Same company, different float tank!
This is the same company and a different design for this float tank. The entire thing is inflatable which makes it easy to set up and affordable for anyone who wants to get started with their sensory deprivation tank.
This tank is bigger than the original so the footprint will take up quite a bit more room than others on the market. The weight of the empty tank is much heavier than the original coming in at 175 pounds versus 106 pounds.
Included with this tank is a whole new stitch technology that makes this a durable tank for repeated use.
The tank also includes an inline carbon filter, mechanical filter, ultraviolet light sterilizer, and under-tank radiant heaters. The low profile of the tank makes it unobtrusive in any room and may even add to your overall aesthetic!
Compared to the original Zen Float Tank, this one is a level up in price. Coming in at a whopping $5,250 just for the float tank, this is a serious investment for anyone who wants to get into sensory deprivation pain or anxiety management.
You’ll also need to factor in any additional equipment, time, and repairs into this cost.
- Easy to set up
- Simple maintenance
- Inflatable which makes it easy to move around within your home
- Cost-effective use
- May not cancel out as much light as some other alternatives
- Noise-canceling could be improved to make it even more deprived
Samadhi Tank at Home
This is the company that created one of the first commercially available flotation tanks in 1972.
Since then, they’ve been tweaking and perfecting the design to make it easier to use for anyone at home. In addition to offering commercially available floatation tanks, the Samadhi Tank Company has been educating people on the power of floating.
There are two different tanks available from the Samadhi Tank Company a basic package and an all-inclusive one. The basic package offers a tank that’s 95.5” long and 47.5” wide. The filtration system is submersible and the heating system is precise and reliable. This package is simple but gets the job done for anyone who wants to get into floating at home.
The all-inclusive package has a few more bells and whistles available! The tank boasts a condensation-free system which helps enhance sensory deprivation. The filtration system saves you space inside by being external.
Speakers are included if you want to skip the sensory deprivation and focus instead on meditation or other types of float therapy. Ultraviolet light helps enhance your experience and boost your mood.
One of the biggest things you’ll want to consider when you’re looking at a float tank is the cost. The basic package comes in at $9,650 and the all-inclusive package includes $13,750.
Both of these are hefty price tags and you’ll also need to factor in shipping and Epsom salt into the start-up costs. The warranty details are vague too so you might not be able to get the parts needed to fix things up if anything goes awry.
- Both tanks provide good insulation and sound-proofing abilities
- Temperature control is precise and direct
- Extra options available for both tanks
- High-quality and durable materials and design
- Best experience only comes with add-on options
- Expensive to get started
This tank is a solid example of sensory deprivation tanks and is designed with residential and commercial settings in mind.
The capacity for this tank is 180 gallons and the dry weight is 700 pounds to start. Once you fill it with water the cost jumps up to 2600 pounds.
Even though this tank starts with a heavyweight, the cost of maintaining and getting it set up is low. The tank itself is energy efficient and made of quality and durable materials. You can choose between internal or external equipment options to make your experience even better.
There are four levels to this tank ranging from copper to platinum. The copper package is one of the more basic and offers a 10gpm pump, blue light, and an in-line heater.
The silver package is a step up and includes a 24gmp, UV plus ozone, and sound, and an intercom to keep you safe and connected. There’s also a maintenance kit, multicolor line, an in-line heater, and under-tank heaters.
The gold package goes a step farther even and includes a 35gmp, all of the same parts as the silver package, and an included 900-1100 pounds of salt.
The platinum package takes care of everything! There’s even a 10-year no-fault guarantee and free freight to North America. This is a high-end deal that gets you everything you need to have the best float experience possible in your own home.
One of the biggest downsides to this tank and all the different packages is the price. The starting price for these is $12,293 and runs up to $25,325. There are some warranties included including a 5-year warranty on the structure and shell and a 1-year warranty on the surface.
- The company offers great customer service
- High-quality and durable
- Easy to use and set up
- Several different packages and prices available
- Very expensive
- Heavy and hard to move
Benefits of Sensory Deprivation Tanks
When you look at a sensory deprivation tank you may start by thinking that this is just a fancy bathtub that takes up precious floor space in your home.
But beyond a bathtub, this sensory deprivation tank offers some serious benefits for anyone whether you’ve just had a stressful day at work or you’re dealing with some chronic health issues.
Studies have been concentrated on floatation-REST and found that it’s extremely effective in reducing stress. A single hour-long session has been shown to reduce anxiety for anyone dealing with anxiety and stress-related disorders.
The key things that sensory deprivation tanks help with are depression, sleep difficulties, irritability, and fatigue.
Whether you’ve been diagnosed with these disorders formally or you just feel like you could use some help on your own, sensory deprivation tanks give you a chance to tackle the problem without the need for constant medication.
Dealing with chronic pain or even occasional pain can be, well, a pain!
The most common solution is to start taking the medication regularly. This can quickly lead to addiction or other side effects that may end up being more serious than the original problem.
Sensory deprivation float tanks help you treat tension headaches, muscle tension, and pain within your body. Neck pain and stiffness and limited range of motion can all be tackled with time in the float tank. Stress-related pain is also another one that’s been shown to be handled more effectively by sensory deprivation tanks over time.
Your heart is the hardest working muscle in your body and as we age, it can become weaker over time. One simple way to improve your cardiovascular health is to work with a sensory deprivation tank. The deep levels of relaxation help reduce stress levels and improve sleep which can benefit your heart over time.
Lots of stress and sleep deprivation are often linked to high blood pressure and heart disease. By spending time regularly relaxing and meditating in the sensory deprivation tank, you reduce the risk of these more serious issues.
One of the things that have long been a myth about sensory deprivation tanks is that they can induce hallucinations. While they may give you hallucinations and a deep feeling of euphoria, most people experience mild euphoria and increased well-being.
After you get out of the tank, you might feel more optimistic for a time! Some people have even reported having spiritual experiences, a new, deeper inner peace, spiritual insight, and a feeling of being born again.
Sensory Tank Process
Before you buy your sensory deprivation tank, you might want to go to a spa or floatation center to get a sense of what you’ll be getting into.
When you arrive at the flotation center or spa you’ll remove all of your clothing and jewelry and shower. You’ll then enter the tank and close the door or lid and lay back in the water.
As you lay back in the water you’ll let the buoyance of the water help you float. Music is usually played for about 10 minutes to help you relax to get started and then you’ll float without any music or noise for about an hour. The music is then turned back on for the last five minutes of your session.
You’ll then get out of the tank and shower again before getting dressed and heading home.
Experts recommend that you eat about 30 minutes before your session and avoid caffeine before you go into the session. You’ll also want to avoid shaving or waxing before a session which can become irritated by the salt during your session.
Sensory Deprivation Tank Risks
There are limited risks when it comes to these tanks and tubs but there are a few things that stand out when it comes to tackling the tub.
The biggest thing that stands out when people use the tubs is that some people experience hallucinations which can be scary and disturbing. The lack of any sensory input can be overwhelming for some and may have people slipping into a psychosis-like hallucination while in the tank.
The tanks are regularly smaller and in tighter quarters than many people enjoy. This can lead to feelings of panic and claustrophobia which can be extremely scary for some users.
If you’re feeling this way, calling out through the intercom and getting the attendant’s attention at the spa or floatation center is the best way to deal with the problem. When you’re doing the session at home, you may want to make sure another person is home in case you have problems!
There is a chance that you can drown while using a floatation tank. The odds are small but the chance is there. The best way to keep this from happening is to skip the session in your tank if you’re high or otherwise intoxicated.
Most tanks utilize just a foot of water but you could drown if you get flipped over or can’t get turned around again. This is another reason you should have an attendant at a center or another person at home with you while doing a session so they can monitor your progress.
The side effects of a floatation tank are small, especially when compared to the side effects of other heavier medications. The use of simple water and Epsom salts makes it an easy way to get great health benefits without any additional side effects that can wreck your health.
Frequently Asked Questions
There is a lot of mystery and mystique that revolves around sensory deprivation with some of the most notorious stories revolving around experiments done involving sensory deprivation and drug use. There’s a good chance you’ve got some serious questions about what will happen when you go into a sensory deprivation session and how it will affect you after you’re done! Get all of your questions answered before you head in so you’re prepared when you get there.
Will Sensory Deprivation Make Me More Creative?
Studies have been done on sensory deprivation tanks that have shown after several sessions, increased creativity. The lack of light, sound, and gravity leave participants with only the contents of their mind to think about, and this forces you to focus more on your creativity. For the most part, creativity is focused and expanded when in the tank itself but there have been several instances where creativity continues even after the session ends.
Will a Float Tank Improve My Concentration and Focus?
New studies haven’t been conducted recently but older information shows that sensory deprivation may improve focus and concentration. The lack of sensory input leads to clearer and more precise thinking for anyone who decides to take part in the sessions. The sessions have also been shown to increase performance in school!
Can a Sensory Deprivation Tank Improve Athletic Performance?
Athletic performance is one of the most closely studied and monitored sections of society. Many studies have been done that show using a sensory deprivation tank for athletes has helped speed up recovery after strenuous training. The tanks reduce the amount of blood lactate which gives muscles a much quicker recovery time. By recovering more quickly, athletes can avoid injury and get back on the field in a much shorter amount of time.
Do Float Tanks Work?
Hundreds of studies have been done over the years showing the benefits of float tanks. Studies have mostly focused on hypertension, relaxation, and pain but there have been dozens of different benefits that have popped up over the years. There are a million different ways that sensory deprivation is beneficial to anyone who wants to take part. It’s also a medication-free way to deal with pain and health issues.
When it comes to dealing with your chronic pain or health issues, the first place most people turn is to heavy-duty medication. This medication can cause side effects and issues and there’s a chance you may even become dependent on it.
Sensory deprivation tanks utilize water and Epsom salt for a simple way to deal with chronic pain and overall relaxation.
Investing in a tank of your own for at-home float experiences is a good way to help you deal with pain and anxiety without the need for heavy medications. You’ll need to calculate not just the initial cost for the tank but also the cost for any additional equipment and Epsom salt you need.
Tanks run from $1,000-$25,000 to get one at your home. If you’re planning to use it frequently, investing in your own is a great option!
If you just need a few sessions over a longer period, sessions at the local spa or float center are usually $50-$100 per hour.
Sensory deprivation has been studied for a long time and there are dozens of great benefits for any healthy person who wants to take part.
You’ll be able to relax, feel tension ease away, and even benefit your heart health through just a simple hour session. Participants have also seen their creativity blossom and grow during these sessions and have it carry over into their everyday life!
Investing in a float tub through a reputable company is a great way to keep you and your family healthy and safe.