Past Articles
This form does not yet contain any fields.


    In the olden days, pioneer families used to drag a washtub into the kitchen, fill it with water (heated on the stove) and take turns bathing in that water. The family patriarch would get the warmest bath, and then the rest of the family would take turns—-from oldest to youngest. By the time the littlest child was dipped into the now cold water, the only therapy applied was a scrub down with a homemade bar of soap. No soaking around to relax.

    Now, Yippee! in 2017, the Isolation Sensory Deprivation Tank is back. Developed in 1954, these tanks became popular until the rise of AIDS in the 1980’s, and the fear of shared water. Filled with a foot of body-temperature water, containing approximately 800 pounds of Epsom Salt, people can, once again, float around in a totally dark, soundproof tank, which is supposed to make them feel better from whatever ails them. The only problem is that cellphones don’t float. And, if you get salt water into a paper cut or into your eyes, the floating turns from Ahh! to Ouch!

    To experience sensory deprivation is to delve into one’s psyche, and you are alone with your thoughts. One article I read said, “Your mind begins to run rampant.” I think that lying naked in an enclosed salt water tank, with the lights off, would make my rampant mind say, “Are you nuts? Let’s get out of here! This is even less fun than having an MRI!”

    I once had an MRI. My motorized bed was shoved into an enclosed cylinder tank. This enclosure was dry, but rather cramped, and my senses were all working. Since my view was the ceiling a few inches from my face, I asked for a cloth to put over my eyes, so I wouldn’t have to look at it. Maybe if the ceiling had a mirror, I could have had the pleasure of my own company, but it didn’t.  I was given the choice of music to be pumped into my cylinder.  I chose classical, because although an MRI is painless (until you get the bill) I felt it should be as classy an experience as I could make it.

    Unfortunately, being in a magnetic field with radio waves bouncing off of you does involve a rude thumping noise. So, my rampant mind imagined that I was in New York City on garbage collection day.

    The MRI machine has a scientific, diagnostic purpose, while the Sensory Deprivation Tank presents no thoroughly tested scientific evidence, that shutting down some of my favorite
    things—-seeing, hearing, listening, thinking, and making the most of my reality, is harmful. And that floating around in salt water is any more helpful than the homemade bar of soap used on that pioneer kid.

    As Ryan Lilly said, “The irony of Sensory Deprivation Tanks is that in order to think outside the box, you must first go inside one.”

    Esther Blumenfeld

    PrintView Printer Friendly Version

    EmailEmail Article to Friend

    Reader Comments

    There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

    PostPost a New Comment

    Enter your information below to add a new comment.

    My response is on my own website »
    Author Email (optional):
    Author URL (optional):
    Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>