a young woman in a sensory deprivation tank

Using Sensory Deprivation Tanks for Mindfulness and Meditation Practices

Mindfulness and meditation practices have been shown to reduce stress, improve focus, and promote overall well-being. However, it can be difficult to achieve a deep meditative state with distractions from the outside world. 

This is where using a sensory deprivation tank comes in. By removing external stimuli such as sound and light, these tanks allow for a heightened sense of awareness and focus on the present moment. In this article, we will explore the benefits of using a sensory deprivation tank for mindfulness and meditation practices.

What Is a Sensory Deprivation Tank?

A sensory deprivation tank, also known as an isolation tank or a floatation tank, is a device used for achieving deep relaxation and meditation by eliminating external stimuli such as sound, light, and gravity. 

The concept of sensory deprivation dates back to the 1950s when John C. Lilly, a neuroscientist, developed the first isolation tank to study the effects of sensory deprivation on the human mind.

The tank itself is typically a large enclosed space filled with water that has been saturated with Epsom salt to create buoyancy. This high concentration of salt allows the body to effortlessly float on the surface of the water without any effort from the person inside.

Once inside the tank, all external stimuli are eliminated as the door is closed and all lights are turned off. The water is kept at skin temperature so that it becomes difficult to differentiate between where your body ends and where the water begins. This creates an environment in which you can experience complete weightlessness and focus solely on your thoughts.

There are two main types of sensory deprivation tanks: open tanks and closed tanks. Open tanks resemble large bathtubs with no lid, while closed tanks are completely enclosed with a lid that can be opened or closed depending on preference. Closed tanks tend to offer complete sensory deprivation since they block out all sound and light from outside sources.

Benefits of Using a Sensory Deprivation Tank for Mindfulness and Meditation

Using a sensory deprivation tank for mindfulness and meditation has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its potential benefits for mental health and wellness. Here are some of the benefits that come with using a sensory deprivation tank:

Reduced Distractions

Sensory deprivation tanks provide an environment free from external distractions, allowing you to focus entirely on your thoughts and inner self. The absence of sound, light, and gravity can help you achieve a state of deep relaxation where your mind is not preoccupied with the outside world.

Heightened Sense of Focus

By eliminating external stimuli, sensory deprivation tanks allow you to develop greater concentration and awareness. This heightened focus can help you become more mindful of your thoughts and emotions, leading to increased self-awareness and personal growth.

Enhanced Relaxation

One of the most significant benefits of using a sensory deprivation tank is its ability to induce a state of deep relaxation in the body and mind. When floating in the buoyant water, muscles can relax completely, reducing tension throughout the body. Additionally, this kind of relaxation can help reduce stress levels while promoting feelings of calmness and tranquillity.

How To Use a Sensory Deprivation Tank for Mindfulness and Meditation

Using a sensory deprivation tank for mindfulness and meditation can be an incredibly profound experience. Here are some steps to follow when using a sensory deprivation tank for this purpose:

Preparing for the Experience

It’s important to prepare yourself mentally and physically before entering the tank. Take a shower beforehand, avoid caffeine or other stimulants, and wear comfortable clothing. Also, it’s recommended to avoid shaving or waxing just before the session, as this may cause skin irritation.

Entering the Tank

Once inside the tank, close the door and lie down in a comfortable position. You’ll begin to float effortlessly on the surface of the water due to its high concentration of Epsom salt.

Techniques for Mindfulness and Meditation Inside the Tank

There are many techniques you can use while inside the tank to enhance your mindfulness and meditation practice, such as:

  • Focus on your breath: Start by taking slow, deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Pay attention to how your body feels with each inhalation and exhalation.
  • Practice visualization: Visualize yourself in a peaceful place that brings you joy, like a beach or forest trail.
  • Body scanning: Mentally scan your body from head to toe, noticing any areas of tension or discomfort.
  • Mantra repetition: Choose a mantra (a word or phrase) that resonates with you and repeat it silently in your mind.
  • Gratitude practice: Focus on things you’re grateful for in your life, like loved ones or experiences that bring you joy.

Remember that everyone’s experience is different when using a sensory deprivation tank for mindfulness and meditation purposes. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to achieve certain results; simply allow yourself time to be present with your thoughts without distraction.


Using a sensory deprivation tank can be an incredibly powerful tool for promoting mindfulness and meditation. By eliminating external distractions, it allows you to focus entirely on your inner self, leading to heightened concentration and relaxation. With practice, this kind of environment can help you become more aware of your thoughts and emotions while also helping you develop greater personal growth.

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