Is it Floating? Or is it Sensory Deprivation?

January 7, 2020

The concept of floating has been around since the
1950s – and in the last 70 years it’s gone by a few different names. For us, we
consider True REST a “float spa” offering a “flotation therapy” service. Float
therapy has also been called floating, sensory deprivation, REST, a float tank,
think tank, or an isolation chamber. It’s all the same thing.

It all began in 1954 with Dr. John C Lilly, who was researching the mind’s
response to “sensory deprivation,” a subject that had grasped the interest of
the contemporary fields of neurology and psychology at that time. There was
debate about what would happen if the brain, the center of consciousness, was
removed from all sensory information. Lilly’s initial floating studies showed
that the brain didn’t enter any kind of comatose state, and, once his
participants came out of the isolation chamber, they reported feelings of
intense relaxation and calm, with some even reporting epiphanies of personal
discovery and self-realization.

 Lilly’s interest was sparked, and he
continued his floating research over the next two decades, refining his
laboratory’s chamber and building other similar flotation devices to perform
more experiments. These origins of floating resulted in terms like “sensory
deprivation”, “tanks”, and “chambers”. While these are still some of the most
widely used terms associated with the therapy today, we prefer terms with
friendly connotations such as “float” and “therapy”, as opposed to “deprive”
and “isolate.”

After several advancements in float tank design, researchers like Tom Fine
began using the acronym REST in their early 1980 studies. That acronym, REST,
stands for Reduced Enviromental Stimulus Therapy, and was being studied in
publications of that time for it’s effects on relaxation and cortisol
production. These industry advancements led to the recent expansion of floating
across the world, resulting in hundreds of float facilities opening within the
last 10 years.


It’s an old term vs a new term –
The commonly known name, sensory deprivation, is associated with the therapy’s
origins. Floating aka flotation therapy is a proven wellness treatment of the
21st century.

There are multiple definitions of
“sensory deprivation” –

While flotation therapy solely describes floating itself; the dictionary
definition of the term sensory deprivation refers to tortore methods and
bondage not at all related to True REST.

We aren’t “depriving” senses, we’re
enhancing them –

Studies have shown that our senses come more alive after 60 minutes of REST (much like how someone without the sense of
sight has improved hearing).

Floating means the lights can be
on/off –

While we give the option to completely for our clients to turn off all lights
and sound (i.e. a sensory deprivation experience), our spas also have the
ability to play custom music and enjoy relaxing lights. We believe that the
benefits of floating are just beginning to be uncovered. The future is showing
signs of virtual reality experiences, deep neural programming, language learning,
and more.

We’re not here to deprive you of anything .Our
goal is to enhance your life and increase your sensitivity to the world around
you, both inside and out. In today’s world, our society is exposed to more
stimulus than ever before, further encouraging the need for us to “reduce
environmental stimuli” (which is why you’ll find the acronym REST True REST!).
Whether you know it as an isolation chamber, a float tank, sensory deprivation
or float therapy – in the end it’s all One.

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