Sensory Deprivation Tanks: Do They Enhance Senses?

What we do here goes by many different names.

You may have heard floating referred to as being in an “isolation tank.” Some also call it a “salt soak.” But until recently, the most common term a lot of folks use to refer to it has been “sensory deprivation.”

To be honest, that’s not our preference. Words like “isolation” and “deprivation” don’t accurately describe the total experience. Not to mention that those terms can carry negative connotations with some people. So much so that “What if I’m claustrophobic?” is one of the featured questions on our FAQ page. We figured there was a better way to describe what the experience is really like.

That’s why we (pun intended) float a different term: “Sensory Enhancement.”

Because while it’s true that floating is intended to shut out the noise and anxiety of everything outside the experience, you’re not being “deprived” of anything during your float. Instead, many people describe something akin to a spiritual “palate cleansing.” Like hitting a mental “reset button” of sorts on stress and anxiety levels.

Consider this: If a person is either born without full use of all five traditional senses (e.g., blind, hearing-impaired, etc.), or lose one or more of them due to injury or illness, medical science shows that the brain has the capability to “rewire” itself in order to heighten and enhance the remaining ones. Many blind people develop nearly superhuman hearing in order to better navigate their environment, as well as a more sensitive sense of touch that allows for easier reading of Braille. Similarly, many deaf folks teach themselves to read lips, or feel the vibrations of music.

Based on both scientific research and personal accounts, many floaters report a very similar heightening effect. By simply shutting out the noise, light and constant ambient stimulation of the modern world, the senses have a tendency to recalibrate. To reset themselves. To return to a level, basic, almost primal “zero state” that’s free of distraction.

To put a finer point on it, the most frequent piece of advice IT pros give to people who are looking for help with their computers is: “Have you tried turning it off and back on again?” The reason this works is that during an operational period, computers can get pretty bogged down. Most often have several processes running at once. Bits of fragmented or discarded memory. Increasingly high demand load on the system. And by simply shutting down for a few moments, the computer is able to clear out the clutter. Freeing up the necessary energy and resources to refresh the system and work more efficiently is a great way to keep your computer going.

This is much the same reason why floating can work to enhance your senses. After all, what is your mind if not an infinitely complex, organic computer? Taking yourself “offline” for a set period of time has the same benefits for you as it does your laptop. Specifically, enhancing performance. Improving focus. Returning everything to a neutral state in order to enhance mood, productivity, and well-being.

So the next time you feel overwhelmed, consider a reset. Come by and see us at Float Milwaukee, and we’ll be happy to show you how powerful “sensory enhancement” can really be.

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