Toggle navigation

The Health Benefits of Sensory Deprivation

Have you ever walked outside after being at a really loud concert or party and felt a huge sense of relief? Or perhaps, you are driving a car, in the dark, are lost, while it is raining, and someone turns down the music so that you can concentrate? Have you ever stopped to wonder why that is?

Every second of every day, your nervous system processes upwards of 400 billion bits of information. Simply said, your brain can easily be overloaded and over stimulated and for most of us, this happens on a daily basis. In our modern world, we often do not have a lot of downtime. Many of us wake up to an alarm, immediately check emails, listen to the latest podcast, work for 8-10 hours, go home and continue running around until it is time for “downtime” which still often ends up including more screens.

True downtime facilitates an overall drop in stimulation. True downtime can be produced by having time without screens, meditation, focused breathing, walking in nature, gazing into a pleasing outdoor setting, or laying outside in the sun. Some may consider these types of activities to be boring, but when was the last time you were in silence and spent a few minutes checking in with yourself? If you are reading this, and are thinking to yourself “it has been a long time since I did any of those things”, we get it. Practicing an overall drop in stimulus and relaxation is a skill for that for many of us, has to be learned.

The most common form of sensory deprivation therapy is salt water therapy. 

Salt water float therapy is in a closed tank of Epsom salt which can be great for some. However, there is much more prep that needs to go into it such as showering before and after, being unable to use it until several weeks after dying your hair, and having to be mindful of using products like lotions and fragrances, etc. It also is not a good fit for those who do not like water, or are claustrophobic.

Dry Float is exactly that, completely dry. Along with an open concept which is great for those who do not like to be in tight and closed space. Dry Float therapy is recommended for nearly all of our clients. Through our Assessment process, we find that the majority of individuals are overstimulated and can benefit from a drop in stimulus. Floating can be done in complete silence, or to your favorite meditation or relaxing sound.

Why does a drop in stimulus matter?

The amount of your overall stress plays into your wellness goals, no matter what they are, from weight loss to hormonal balance to energy to performance. At WellWay, we assess and evaluate your goals and your current health status through the lens of cumulative stress, called allostatic load. Stress is much more than the mental and emotional stress we commonly think about. Stress is a collection and calculation of physical, emotional, nutritional, chemical, electromagnetic, and thermal inputs. Those 400 billion bits of information coming at you in a given second is all stress. We need stress. Without it, we would never adapt, change, and grow. Sometimes we need to increase stress from some inputs, and decrease stress from other inputs to reach and maintain our desired health and fitness goals.

Now, this does not mean you should move to the woods and live without screens to achieve your goals, but it does mean that all of this needs to be considered and controlled. Dry Float Therapy is one Restorative Service available at WellWay designed to create a drop in stimulus. Floating at the core is sensory deprivation therapy. It assists in reducing the 400 billion bits of information going to your nervous system by nearly 70-75%! With that significant of a drop in stimulus in your environment, you are creating a drop in stimulus more significant than even sleeping can produce.

This decrease in stimulus is extremely effective in balancing out your stress by “dumping out” detrimental stressors and therefore making you more resilient to the stressors you do encounter. Dry Float Therapy can help with everything from reducing anxiety, improving mood, better cognitive function, improving hormone balance, and even increasing fat metabolism.

How does floating help with so many symptoms?

It comes down to the nervous system. Your nervous system is designed to have two different modes– sympathetic (fight or flight) or parasympathetic (rest and digest). When we are constantly overstimulated our stress levels creep (or sometimes skyrocket) up and we can get stuck in a state of fight or flight. When we are in this state for too long or too often our nervous system tries to protect us. Think of this as a survival response. This can lead to symptoms including gaining body fat, using muscle mass for energy (instead of body fat or stored carbohydrates), increased anxiety, pain, or an increase of stress hormones like cortisol. Sensory deprivation can help balance out our stress (get unstuck from sympathetic mode). When we are in a balanced state the magic happens. We are happier, have improved cognitive function, have less pain, and our bodies are more willing to let go of body fat and put on lean muscle mass.

However, let’s say you are someone who is already in what we consider an optimal state of balancing stress. Would a recovery service like Dry Float be a good idea? If you are someone trying to achieve any health related goal, then yes! If you can reduce your overall stress even a bit more, that means you can handle and respond positively to more stress like harder workouts, being more productive at work, increased focus, and so on.

Everyone is truly unique and different. However, we all have the same design when it comes to our nervous system and how stress works in the body. We all are in different places with the amount of stress we take in, how our bodies process it, and what we are trying to achieve. No matter what, balance is needed for all individuals. Using a tool like Dry Float Therapy creates an instant drop in stress and can be utilized to help move you closer to any goal you are trying to achieve.

Experience Dry Float Therapy

You can try Dry Float Therapy for yourself at our WellWay Studio location in Plymouth, Minnesota. Our Zerobody dry float tank, the first in the state of Minnesota! Your first 20-minute session is free!

Book your first appointment