Whiskey, Wellness, and Wisdom

with Matthew Bachman

A Brief Note About My Absence

This article has been a long time coming. My absence from the internet of things was a reflection of my poor time management skills. It’s no coincidence that my triumphant return was in the form of an article on burnout.

The fact of the matter is, it’s so easy to get caught up in the rat race of life when there’s bills to pay and stocks to buy. I was putting off the things that enjoyed doing because, and let’s be honest here, if our hobbies take work and don’t supply us with an income, it’s easy to shelve them as being not important, when in-fact, they’re probably the most important thing when it comes to our physical and mental well-being.

Suffice to say, after working a crazy amount of overtime, I decided that I need to take some “me time” and revisited the float spa to decompress and return my mental and physical state of being to normal levels.

Got in a sweet sauna session, too.

A Brief History of Sensory Deprivation Therap

The isolation tank, invented by Dr. John C. Lilly in 1954, was a water tank designed to reduce exposure to environmental stimuli. As part of his research into the effects of sensory deprivation on military divers, he adapted an existing tank for this purpose. There are many names for the sensory attenuation tank, which is also known as an inertia tank. In addition to research, these tanks are also used for relaxation, meditation, and complementary medicine.

At this time, Dr. Borrie and Suedfeld began conducting research and renaming the treatment Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy in the late 1970s.

Using a sensory deprivation tank in Altered States, a science fiction film, further popularized the therapy. Float tanks became popular in the 1980s. As a result of an aids epidemic and people’s fear of sharing water, this therapy began to fade away.

Stress, Anxiety, and Depression

Many disorders, including social anxiety disorder, have seen relief with flotation therapy. Different subgroups of people report reduced anxiety, as well as reduced muscle tension and negative emotions. Those who have undergone the therapy say they’ve come out of it feeling rejuvenated, calm, and peaceful.

It’s also been shown to help with memory, attention, and other cognitive abilities. The EEG activity of adults undergoing sensory deprivation therapy was elevated when they were asked difficult questions in tests. The control group, on the other hand, showed no increases in EEG activity throughout the test. This difference in brain activity suggested that floating may help people with a wide range of mental disorders, including anxiety and depression, to float more comfortably.

My Experience

I’m no stranger to trying out new things to combat anxiety, depression, and/or writer’s block. Out of everything that I’ve done, very few things work for me as much as going to the gym does. Sensory deprivation therapy comes very close, though.

that feeling of weightlessness in pitch-black darkness as I drift through the void of space is an amazing feeling. A one hour float feels like mere minutes.

The moment I step out of the pod, I feel as though a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. It’s like waking up after an amazing night’s rest and the feeling last for days afterwards.

unfortunately, unlike Eleven from Stranger Things, I haven’t developed any super powers, but I’m still new to this whole thing, so who knows what lies ahead?

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