For the first ten minutes in the tank I had a huge smile on my face and I was wide-eyed like a child in awe.
Let me start at the beginning though…
I am always looking for new and better ways to achieve creativity and distraction-free thinking.
So when I heard Joe Rogan talking about the benefits of floating in a sensory deprivation tank, my interest was piqued.
After watching this exact video (below) I was sold on trying out the tank. I immediately found a location nearby and booked a 2 hour session.
What Is The Sensory Deprivation Tank?
“The sensory deprivation chamber has been the most important tool that I’ve ever used for developing my mind, for thinking, for evolving.” – Joe Rogan
When most people hear the words “sensory deprivation” they immediately think of torture.
The sensory deprivation tank is more like the opposite of torture. It’s a peaceful escape from the constant interruptions of life.
And the distractions and interruptions of life are constant, even to people like me who take extreme measures to block them out.
So when I heard Joe talk about the tank I couldn't resist giving it a try.
How The Sensory Deprivation Tank Works:
- The sensory deprivation tank is completely sound proof and light free. It's completely pitch black, you cannot see anything (though you can hear some sounds)
- You are immersed in a solution containing water and 1,000 lbs of dissolved Epsom salt.
- The salt-water solution makes you float effortlessly, without gravitational requirements as if you were floating in space.
Joey Diaz says; “I didn't see nothin, I didn't do nothin, I don't know nothin.”
When you get in the tank you don't see anything, you don't hear anything and you don't know anything.
So why would anyone want to float?
Floating in the tank is supposed to put you in a state of deep relaxation because your body produces theta waves while floating.
“Theta is the state of mind where it is believed you can create everything and change reality instantly.”
Theta waves are naturally produced when you are deep in sleep for short periods of time. However, floating produces these waves for a longer period of time.
In a theta state you experience vivid imagery, feelings of overwhelming peace and happiness, and crystal-clear creative thoughts.
(A “theta state” is when theta brainwaves correspond to a state of mind associated with dreams and waking dreams, as well as a deep meditative state.)
The sensory deprivation tank would be the perfect spot to just… think. While floating you'd be able to think freely, without worry of distraction or interruption.
Getting Into The Sensory Deprivation Tank
You have to take a shower to clean yourself before getting into the tank.
You must dry your face and put earplugs in your ears before you get in the shower or the tank. Without earplugs, the salt in the tank can seep into your ears and give you ear problems.
(Even with earplugs, I had salt in my ears for weeks after.)
When you open the tank door, you can see inside perfectly. You aren’t entering an unknown black hole, it’s just a tank with water in it.
You climb inside, lie down and shut the door behind you…
And you’re in a completely different world. It's pitch black and you're literally floating.
You float in space and drift in time, it's an awe-inducing feeling.
(You literally float due to the ton of salt that has been placed in water.)
My Experience Floating In The Sensory Deprivation Tank
For the first 10 minutes in the tank I had a permanent smile on my face. I could not stop smiling!
When I first started floating I felt nothing but wander. It was truly amazing.
It was like being completely weightless, it literally felt like floating in space.
Inside the tank you can’t see or hear anything. It is so dark that you can put your fingers in front of your face and you will not see them.
The earplugs in your ear block out almost all sound (I would have preferred to hear a specific kind of music in the tank rather than hear nothing).
The first 10 minutes in the tank were literally amazing, but after 10 minutes reality kicked back in…
My Biggest Problem With The Tank
I wanted to float in space and drift through time itself for a full 2 hours, but that's not quite how it turned out…
If the entire two hour experience matched my first ten minutes, I'd be a huge believer, but it didn't. Instead, my long arms and legs constantly kept brushing the tank's edge and taking me “out of the zone.”
Once or twice would have been no big deal, but I kept hitting the tank's edges every 15-30 seconds. Literally every 15-30 seconds. It would take me out of the experience every time it happened and I would have to get back into the zone.
The first ten minutes in the tank felt like being in outer space, but after that I was never completely distraction-free.
(Note: I went to the best, I didn't go to Rob's Discount Tank and Liquor, I went to Floatlab.)
Was Joe Rogan Right About The Sensory Deprivation Tank?
I can see why hippies love the tanks. The experience was a lot like being on drugs allegedly and at certain moments in the tank I did experience euphoria.
Inside the tank there were no phones ringing, emails pinging or even birds singing. With nothing to distract me I was able to produce a lot of great ideas.
I had an extreme case of “do it NOW” syndrome. Because of the euphoria and the breakthroughs in thought, I wanted to immediately make plans for the years ahead.
Coming up with ideas when you are uninterrupted is the easy part. The hard part is remembering all of them when you get out of the tank.
Inside the tank you these great ideas and you want to act on them right away, but you can’t. You can't bring a pen and paper into a pitch-black tank. But I sure wanted to.
For over an hour I had this same repeating thought in the tank: I need to get out of the tank so I can get started NOW for these plans that I have for the future.
All of the plans in my head were making perfect sense and I couldn't wait to get out of the tank and write them down so that I wouldn’t forget them.
The “do it NOW” syndrome went away after I got out of the tank, though I was able to record my notes afterwards.
Inside the tank you have this incredible enthusiasm and desire, but when you get back out into the “real world” that euphoria goes away within an hour or less.
Sensory Deprivation Tank: Yay or Nay?
The tank worked, for sure, but it wasn't practical. I'm a work-horse and I love to work, I don't love lying around for two hours. I kept wanting to get out so I could write my ideas down and not forget them.
Tanks are also few and far between and not everyone has access to one. Even if you do have access to a tank, 2 hours is a very long time to be alone with your thoughts. I could have gotten out at the one hour mark.
Many people claim they enter a ‘dream state’ in the tank but I never did. As mentioned, my long arms and legs kept bumping the edges of the tank, taking me out or the “theta state” entirely.
Even when I was in wide-eyed awe, I was still lucid. I obviously realized I wasn't literally floating in space. I always knew I was lying naked in a tank of saltwater.
(Note: You never feel completely trapped in the tank. You can open the door and let yourself out whenever you want and you can also move around in the tank.)
Sensory Deprivation Tank Alternative
In my personal experience, there are more convenient ways to be creative and free of distractions while still being able to work.
In fact, I know of an alternative way to achieve a similar “theta” experience without sitting butt-naked in a pitch-black tank for two hours.
You won't have to buy a tank, drive to a tank's location, take off your clothes, float in a tank or anything like that but you'll get some of the exact same benefits.
My easy method can be used by anybody to block out distractions and increase creativity.
Joe Rogan once said “The sensory deprivation chamber has been the most important tool that I’ve ever used for developing my mind, for thinking, for evolving.”
Then Victor Pride said “I know a much more practical way to get those same benefits.”
Until next time.