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Differences Between Float Therapy and Sensory Deprivation

There are numerous areas of life where terms used interchangeably actually mean different things, and a great example within the therapeutic world is the use of terms like float therapy and sensory deprivation tanks. Many people assume these are simply the same thing, and while they do share certain characteristics, this is not actually true in a detailed sense.

At Body Balance Massage and Float, our float therapy services are distinctly different from sensory deprivation tanks used by many other providers. We do not use isolation tanks, pods or any forms of sensory deprivation, rather opting for open float pools for all our float therapy clients. In today’s blog, we’ll go over why many people use these terms interchangeably, the modern differences between them, and the benefits many patients find in our float therapy services.

Early Float Therapy Research and Terms

Much of what we know as modern float therapy can be traced back to the year 1954, when Dr. John C. Lilly, a researcher studying the mind’s response to sensory deprivation, began to make real headway. Lilly performed a number of studies on rudimentary forms of float therapy, showing that the brain did not enter a comatose state while in sensory deprivation float tanks, and often experienced highly beneficial periods of relaxation and calm during such therapies.

Over the next 20-plus years, Lilly and others would continue this research in various forms. Because much of his research was indeed focused around the theme of sensory deprivation along with floatation, it’s easy to understand how the two areas became linked within popular perception.

Modern Differences

However, as this entire realm continued to evolve over the years, different variations sprung up. While many practitioners and patients still utilized forms of sensory deprivation for their floatation therapy, often with great benefit, others began to focus primarily on the latter and the benefits it could bring even without altering the senses.

And while it’s still common to hear these terms used interchangeably today, it’s important to note that not all floatation therapy services utilize sensory deprivation.

Benefits of Floatation Alone

At Body Balance Massage and Float, we offer float therapy independent of any sensory deprivation. For starters, this makes it more accessible to a variety of potential patients, some of whom would not be comfortable with sensory deprivation.

We utilize salt water that allows you to float and be entirely supported, promoting true relaxation that helps with injury relief, removal of toxins, improvement in energy levels and several other areas. In many cases, our patients find that combining our float therapy services with massage therapy and other therapeutic methods brings the best possible benefits.

For more on the differences between float therapy and sensory deprivation, or to learn about any of our float therapy or massage therapy services, speak to the staff at Body Balance Massage and Float today.

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