Have you ever lost one of your senses? Your ability to see, hear, smell, taste or touch?
Typically, we are known to have five senses: our ability to touch, see, hear, taste and smell. For anyone who has lost any of these, the brain will often compensate, and all or some of the other senses become more attuned.
For example, a blind person’s hearing could be better; this could manifest into being a better musician.
What if you lost your senses all at once?
No one would wish to loose their ability to see or hear, etc., however there are many people whose lives have improved with a form of intentional sensory deprivation.
John Cunningham Lilly (Jan. 6, 1915 – Sept. 30, 2001) developed the sensory deprivation tank back in 1953. At the age of 37, Lilly had already made many accomplishments: he was a physician, neuroscientist, psychoanalyst, philosopher, writer and inventor. His research into the nature of consciousness led to the development of his isolation tank.
In 1954, he built the first isolation tank – a dark, soundproof tank of warm salt water in which subjects could float for long periods in sensory isolation. What had been known as perceptual isolation or sensory deprivation was re-conceptualized as Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique (R.E.S.T.).
The flotation version of R.E.S.T. has been shown to improve perceptual-motor skills in sports and creativity in the sciences. The benefits of depriving your senses through the use of flotation has also been seen to improve a range of ailments and emotional states such as, anxiety, stress and chronic pain, as well as help with problem-solving skills, creative skills and improved perceptual-motor skills in sports.
For some people, not only is floating the ultimate relaxing experience, short-term sessions of flotation have helped in treating people who suffer from obesity, alcoholism, chronic pain, or smoking.
Studies ranging between 12 months and five years have shown people who are trying to quit smoking or other habits achieve some success from floating, with 25% of participants achieving long-term abstinence with just flotation, and 50% of participants accomplishing long-term abstinence when flotation is combined with other effective smoking cessation methods. Comparatively, the use of the nicotine patch alone has a success rate of 5%.
The flotation medium, or the bath water, consists of a skin-temperature solution of water and Epsom salts over 850 lbs.
The salts make you so buoyant that you feel weightless. It’s very difficult to turn over and you do not sink, so no need to worry about drowning.
Inside the tank, you close the door, which does not lock, and you float on your back in the water. You can keep your eyes open, but it’s so dark that you won’t notice any difference if you have them closed. Use some ear plugs and this will enhance your experience.
A word of caution: do not get salt water in your eyes as it will burn.
Flotation is offered in a few places across Winnipeg. One quaint and relaxing spot is the Float Hairium, located in the Wolseley neighborhood at 763 Westminster Ave. Sessions are offered by the hour. Call ahead to check on hours and availability. Tel: 204-417-0038 email:firstname.lastname@example.org