The Rise of Float Therapy: Why More People Are Embracing Sensory Deprivation Tanks

In recent years, the wellness industry has seen a surge in the popularity of an intriguing practice: float therapy. Also known as sensory deprivation therapy, this form of relaxation involves floating in a special tank filled with a highly concentrated saltwater solution designed to eliminate all external stimuli. Here’s a deeper dive into what float therapy is, why it’s gaining traction, and the benefits it offers.

What is Float Therapy?

Float therapy at The Float Institute in Sterling Heights, MI involves a float tank or pod—a lightproof, soundproof container filled with about a foot of water heated to skin temperature and infused with hundreds to thousands of pounds of Epsom salts. This high salt concentration allows individuals to float effortlessly. The primary goal is to create an environment free from gravity and sensory input (light, noise, and touch), which can lead to deep relaxation.

Historical Roots and Modern Resurgence

The concept of sensory deprivation tanks was developed in 1954 by John C. Lilly, a neuroscientist who was interested in the effects of sensory deprivation on the human brain and consciousness. However, it wasn’t until the 1970s that float tanks moved towards the mainstream, primarily used for relaxation and meditation.

The modern resurgence of float therapy can be attributed to its purported health benefits and increased interest in alternative wellness practices. Celebrities and athletes endorsing the therapy have also contributed significantly to its renewed popularity.

Health Benefits of Float Therapy

Proponents of float therapy cite numerous benefits, both psychological and physical:

Stress Reduction: The absence of external stimuli helps the body achieve a natural state of relaxation, which can significantly reduce stress levels.

Improved Mental Health: Studies suggest that float therapy can help with anxiety and depression, providing a space for deep mental relaxation and introspection.

Enhanced Athletic Recovery: Many athletes use float tanks to speed up recovery from injuries, reduce muscle soreness, and improve performance due to its muscle-relaxant properties.

Better Sleep: The deep relaxation experienced during float sessions can help improve sleep patterns, which is especially beneficial for those suffering from insomnia.

Increased Creativity: Anecdotal evidence suggests that floating enhances creativity and problem-solving abilities by facilitating a deeper state of focus.

Why is Float Therapy Gaining Popularity?

The rise in popularity of float therapy is part of a larger trend towards self-care and mental health awareness. In a world where burnout and chronic stress are common, float therapy offers a unique solution that promotes deep rest and mindfulness. Additionally, the increased availability of float centers and more affordable session prices have made this therapy accessible to a broader audience.

The Experience

Typically, a session lasts about an hour, during which floaters can detach from their hectic lives and experience profound quiet and stillness. First-time floaters might need a session or two to fully relax, but many report immediate benefits such as enhanced mood and a refreshed outlook.


Float therapy is a testament to the modern desire for deeper, more meaningful forms of relaxation and healing. As research continues to uncover the benefits of floating, its popularity is likely to grow, helping more people find solace in the silence and buoyancy of the float tank. Whether you’re an overworked professional, an athlete, or simply someone in search of a new way to unwind, float therapy might be the escape you need from the sensory overload of everyday life.

This wellness trend represents a shift towards prioritizing mental health and well-being, making it clear why so many are drawn to the quiet and weightlessness of float therapy. For those looking to explore this unique form of relaxation, a float session might just be the reset button your mind and body need.


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