Sensory Deprivation Methods

Short periods of sensory deprivation can be relaxing. Sensory deprivation can be achieved by using such simple devises such as blindfolds and earmuffs. Devices that are more complex can cut the sense of smell, touch taste, sense of heat or cold and gravity.

Sensory deprivation methods have been used in psychology experiments and for torture. Extensive sensory deprivation can result in hallucinations, depression, bizarre thoughts, and extreme anxiety.

The five methods of sensory deprivation are:

    Confined to a room with loud and/or hissing noises.

    Deprivation of sleep.

    Putting a hood over the head to keep out any sight or sense of light

    Standing for long periods in a “stress position.”

    Deprivation of food and drink.

We are going to concentrate on the good that Sensory Deprivation Methods can do for your psyche.

Floatation Tanks

One form of sensory deprivation to increase relaxation is called a float tank. This float tank is kept at skin temperature, and you are kept buoyant in a pool of water that is 25% saturated with Epsom salts. This makes the water denser and more buoyant than seawater.

The float tank shuts out 90% of the environmental stimulation that affects the muscles, nervous system and sense organs of the body. Without the external stimulants, your body can relax and feel you body go to a deeply relaxed state.

Your ears are under water so sound is blocked out. Some float tanks have gentle music that is piped in to heighten the relaxation process. It makes you feel like you are floating on a sea of music.

While relaxing in warm water, listening to gentle music your mind can focus on other thoughts and not just on your body which results in a state of relaxation more restful than sleep.

Stress Chemistry

Stress related chemicals such as adrenaline, cortical, and lactate are removed from the blood stream and replaced by the endorphins. These endorphins are natures own body drug that makes people happy. This increases feelings of well-being, relieves chronic pain and fatigue, and improves higher brain function such as memory and learning. Best of all, no special training is required, just lie back, and let your mind and body go.

While your body is in a state of total relaxation, your brain remains awake. It doesnt have to work on processing signals from you nervous system and sense organs so it can go into a slow dreamy state known as theta state.

While your brain is in this mode, your creative and inspirational thought processes are enhanced. You find your self in this theta state the whole time you are in the float tank. You can not reach the theta state unless you are sleeping, but in the float tank it is easily acquired.

Those of us who have demanding life styles can benefit from the float tank as it immediately can reduce blood pressure and heart rate. Other tension related maladies such as migraines, insomnia and back pain are also helped.

The mental and physical effects of being buoyant in the water improve your sense of well-being and your powers of self control. Unwanted habits and negative emotions seem to melt away with the tensions and stresses that accompany them.

Athletic Applications

Athletes are using the floating technique to enhance their performance and stamina. Carl Lewis prepared for the Seoul Olympics in 1988 and won the gold medal. The Dallas cowboys are said to have been using float tanks since 1981 to help the physical and psychological skills of the team.

The Australian Institute of Sports began using float tanks in 1983. They find that floating can maximize the benefits of fitness training. The deep relaxation of the float tank speeds up the growth and regeneration of muscle tissue. Floating has also been found to speed recovery from injuries and the endorphins that are released help reduce the pain.

Float tanks have been used in clinical laboratory conditions and studies show that there are no negative side effects of floating. Its noted that floating gives you all the benefits of sleep and greatly improves the quality of day to day living by helping your body to relax and your mind become more efficient.