Sensory deprivation therapy has been developed as a potential treatment to psychological problems. The commercial use of flotation tanks is showing that there might be some real benefits even for healthy people. Let’s check out what the research says.
Early research shows some evidence that sensory deprivation may improve your focus and concentration. This would also imply better learning which comes in handy in school and often at work too. But we don’t have any recent studies looking into this so you will have to test it out for yourself. Here are some other areas we do have some interesting and up to date studies on.
The European Journal of Integrative Medicine published an article in 2014 that summarizes the research on effects of floating in sensory deprivation tanks on creativity. The authors found that several studies show increased originality, imagination, and intuition.
Improved athletic performance
Authors of a 2016 study exposed 60 highly trained athletes (28 male, 32 female) to 45 min of flotation therapy following exercise training for their given sport and observed improved psychological recovery and also lowered perceived muscle soreness when compared to taking a nap. If you are struggling with the mental side of sports, then this is great news.
The effects of sensory deprivation aren’t exclusive to the brain. A 2013 study looked at its impact on recovery from strenuous exercise. With a sample of 24 college students the authors concluded that it has a significant positive impact on blood lactate and perceived pain compared with a passive recovery session.¨
Can it make you happier?
Even though we have no studies on happiness and sensory deprivation therapy, some of the self-reported benefits are quite interesting. People coming out of flotation tanks often claim feeling overwhelming happiness and euphoria. Similarly, people completing a chamber REST or darkness therapy say that they feel more optimistic, at peace, and even like they were reborn.
The science shows that sensory deprivation therapy has some real benefits to offer, especially the self-reported ones are very intriguing. The next article will be focused on research into the medical uses of this therapy.