In 1954 while working at the National Institute of Mental Health, Neuroscientist John C. Lilly developed a sensory-deprivation flotation tank in order to discover what would happen to the brain if it was deprived of as much stimulation as possible. According to Susan Jacobson, writer for the Orlando Sentinel, “The process works like this: A client enters a soundproof private room, disrobes, showers and lies supine in 150 gallons of skin-temperature water.” The tank water is mixed with 1,000 pounds of Epson salts, which keep the patient afloat.
Lilly’s main concern with the flotation tanks was that the brain might shut down. What he found was that rather than shutting off, the brain enters a dream-like state of mind, which relieves anxiety, improves creativity, and helps ease symptoms from many medical conditions.
Some patients struggling with stress, insomnia, and physical pain have been able to find relief from their symptoms through flotation exercises. The freedom and focus patients get inside the tank creates a deep relaxation that has attracted clients ranging from athletes to business professionals. These tanks are no miracle cure, but to those who do get relief it may seem that way.
Original article about flotation by Susan Jacobson in the Orlando Sentinel
Reposted in News & Observer 1/26/15 – see the full article here: