What is a Sensory Deprivation Float Tank?

using a float tank for the benefit of your health

The sensory deprivation tank, also known as the float tank or isolation tank, was developed by a medic and neuropsychiatrist, John C. Lilly, in 1954. During training on psychoanalysis at the National Institute of Mental Health in the USA, he was inspired and experimented with sensory deprivation.

Market interest for this tank was realised in 1972 by Glenn Perry after attending a workshop Lilly organised lasting for five days. The term sensory deprivation, however, doesn’t fit the description of this tank because the float tank was to do the exact opposite, which is to enhance senses.

Therefore, a better name for the technology is “floatation-REST” (Reduced environmental stimulation therapy). Floatation-REST, specifically, is a somewhat less explored technology with a mind and body therapeutic impact through floating in Epsom salt-saturated water.

What is a Sensory Deprivation Isolation Tank?

A sensory deprivation tank is 300 millimetres deep and is a soundproof, dark environment with temperature ranges similar to the skin. Medical practitioners mostly recommend these tanks as alternative medicine.

In the tank, you experience relaxation from the Epsom salt dissolved in 10 inches of water, which regulates the gravity in the tank to allow you easy floatation. The primary goal that this tank is based on is eliminating any external senses to aid you in relaxing.

The float tank is the same as a sensory deprivation tank because over the span of 70 years, since the 1950s, many names have been used to refer to this tank, so they are just more or less the same thing.

Inside a Sensory Deprivation Tank

First and foremost, there are two types of floaters, those seeking exploration, like people interested in yoga or meditation, and those seeking treatment from stress, fatigue, or anxiety. Once you enter the float tank, you experience exceptional seclusion from the outside world. You get in nude, and any external stimulation is locked outside once the task is closed.

This includes light, sound, and gravity. The extra buoyancy is provided by the magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt), and the temperature is the same as the body as mentioned above. Once you are floating, you will experience a deep state of relaxation from the darkness and soundless environment.

Inside the float tank, you may experience hallucinations, but they should end once you are out of it. In a study carried out in 2015, the researchers had two groups, those prone to hallucinations and those not likely to experience hallucinations. The results proved that those prone hallucinated more than those not. In some other cases, people can be scared of the darkness or the quiet environment. Therefore, they will not enjoy their tank time.

How to Prepare for an Isolation Tank

If you go for your first float, you may not know your expectations and what to carry. Below are some tips on what you should consider before going for your float. First, you need to avoid any stimulants or caffeine 4-6 hours before your float because of the jitters that may interrupt your relaxation. Have some light food or snack an hour before to avoid a loud growl from your stomach in the tank.

salt for a sensory float tank

If you shave on the day of your float, you may be irritated by the salt-saturated water. Make sure you create some time to prepare for your float time because you shouldn’t come straight into the tank after hurrying there, take some time, say 15 minutes, to help in the transition.

Before going for your first float, consider using your transition time for some massage to aid you into the new experience and continue the relaxing once you get into the tank. You can also visit the sauna and begin your relaxation process there. Although the sauna may make your body temperature rise, which may, in turn, make your floating experience cold for you.

How Often Should you Float?

The number of times in a week or a month that are recommended varies from one person to another. You may go for your float once a month, probably if you don’t have an active lifestyle or operate on a tight budget, but you need to relax.

For a person who needs to relieve some pain or sits for most of the day, you may enrol in two monthly floating sessions to meet your relaxation goals. Say, if you are facing insomnia, are an athlete, or have a very active lifestyle, you may require at least four sessions a month to relax your body and mind.

On the other hand, everyday floatation is recommended for those facing severe addiction or injury or those trying a fast rehabilitation process. For cleanliness and proper maintenance of the tank, you should change the water every six months or after 1000 floats.

Benefits of a Floatation Tank

Anxiety treatment

If you are suffering from anxiety or depression, going for a float of several sessions will help reduce those symptoms by offering you a relaxed state. As proven by little research undertaken in 2018, anxiety symptoms and depression are reduced therapeutic sensory deprivation.

Further research on the topic should reveal the extent to which floating in an isolation tank can reduce anxiety.


Take a float tank session to calm your nerves in case of injury or pains, say on the back or headaches. This can be helpful for athletes or old age people dealing with backaches from ageing.

lady floating in water for the benefit of health

Quicker learning

The relaxation in the tank away from all the distractions on a regular will open up your mind to welcome new knowledge and further help you recall memories with ease. If you are in school or need faster learning, floatation will get you there as it frees your mind for new content.

Stress relieving

If you are under constant pressure at work or even at home, floatation is the easier way to relax your body and ease off the stress you have. The isolation and floating give you a one-of-a-kind resting that cools you down. A regular experience in the sensory deprivation tank will simultaneously improve your work output and relieve your stresses and anxieties.

Places to buy a sensory deprivation tank in Ireland and the estimated prices

Float tank therapy is a relaxing process that includes a tank with 10 inches of water and magnesium sulfate dissolved in it to allow you to float and relax your mind and body. If you want to buy an isolation tank in Ireland, you can visit the Float house Dublin 24, in Dublin, Leinster province.

Another alternative is the Sli Beatha Float House, Naas East in County Kildare. Zero gravity Float Cork, in Cork, Edenhall, Ireland, is another place you can get yourself a float pod. Your tank will cost you from $10000 to $30000, but a session at a health spa may cost you between $50 and $100.

How much does a Float Pod Cost?

Dream pod

This company specializes in making and selling float tanks for wellness and spas. They have a variety of products like Dreampod home Pro, Dreampod V2, Dreampod Stealth. Dreampod Sport Pro, Dreampod Sport home and Dreampod Max.

The Dreampod V2 costs between $16900 to $17900, while the Dreampod mini costs around $1490. The Dreampod Home Pro is priced from $5100 to $5700, depending on your location.

Zen Float Co

This organisation offers the Zen float tank version 1.0, 2.0, and the new 2.5. The complete package of a Zen float tank version 2.5 has a larger space than the previous versions and costs $5249, while the ready-packaged version 2.5 costs $ 6199.

A samadhi tank will cost you $10750 for a ready-to float pod with just the submersible filtration and a reliable heating system. An all-inclusive samadhi tank will cost you $14990 with the free condensation, external filtration system and its enclosure, and speakers.

How to Make your Float Pod at Home

You may not have the financial ability to buy an isolation tank, but you can try making your homemade one. If you complete one, you should ensure that you are not home alone while you try it out. The salt may creep into your eyes if you fully submerge your face, so keep your face up.

First, you will need a pool that can hold 10 inches or 150 gallons of water. The pool is supposed to be long enough for you to float, like an inflatable one. You can use a bathtub, although it will not fit enough for you to float. Heat your water, but not too much.

You will need close to 360 kg of Epsom salts to dissolve in the warm water. The goal is to relax, so you can incorporate a blindfold, ear muffs, or dark blinds or curtains to enhance relaxation.

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