The Surprising Way Sensory Deprivation can Promote Profound Anxiety Relief

Ever wonder what it would be like to experience total stillness? Not just of your mind but of your senses, too? It sounds scary — not to mention: anxiety-inducing — but sensory deprivation can have a profound impact on our relationship to anxiety and even help relieve symptoms of anxiety. 


On this episode of Biohack-HERS, HigherDOSE Founders Lauren Berlingeri and Katie Kaps head to Vessel Floats in Brooklyn, New York to meet with the spa’s founder Christian Redding and experience the hype around sensory deprivation therapy. This biohacking treatment consists of a float tank and a total loss of connection to sight, sound, and touch and is believed to provide anxiety relief.


Lauren and Katie climb into a pitch-black and soundproof saltwater tank to discover for themselves what happens to the mind without the senses. The one-hour experience can be so profound that some people can encounter hallucinations while fully sober, as it is a natural way to have a mind-altering experience. 


The tanks themselves are filled with one foot of water enriched by 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt (aka, magnesium) to promote buoyancy in the body. To create full sensory deprivation, the saltwater is maintained at skin temperature to diminish feelings of touch, earplugs are worn for total silence, and the tanks get so dark that you can’t tell the difference between when eyes are opened and closed.


Sensory deprivation therapy is a somewhat terrifying experience at first, as many of us are not used to being alone with our thoughts while experiencing nothing. But, after some time in the tank, you begin to feel like you’re floating in space and experiencing a ton of biohacking benefits, too. Sensory deprivation works to slow down brain waves until it reaches the theta state — that space between sleep and being awake and lucid. And, although it sounds counterintuitive, the experience can help alleviate feelings of anxiety, as well as reduce pain in the joints and muscles by breaking down lactic acid. You’re left feeling refreshed and calm. 


Ready to see what it’s really like to tune out your senses in a dark floating tank? Follow Lauren and Katie’s experience on the latest episode of Biohack-HERS, out now. 


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