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Relaxation therapies just got costly and creative. Though itâ€™s been around since 1954, the popularity of Isolation tanks is picking up at surprising speed in the recent years. Introducing the concept of sense deprivation by immersing in a tank of salt water where by the body relaxes deeper than sleep.
The tank is filled with water that is heated to your body temperature and thoroughly mixed with Magnesium sulfate (Epsom Salt). This allows one to float in the water as the density is increased. The chamber is then locked to ensure there is silence and darkness all around. In the midst of this void and surroundings that are at skin temperature, the feeling of floating emerges and the active mind slips into semi-consciousness.
Many report to have been hurled into a trance where by events and problems of life are flashed vividly. Some even come out of this whole exercise wiser, happier and healthier. Regulars to the Chamber include high performance sportsmen, Naturopaths, neuroscientists and yes, the passing citizenry as well. No wonder, another name for this invention is â€˜think tankâ€™. Though the idea was to record and study brain activity during a state of sensory deprivation, this invention is widely being used for other purposes. It costs a whopping seven lakh INR to own the equipment.
The downside of these tanks is that inherent fears and phobias get multiplied in their effect on the mind. There are instances where an increase in fear, discomfort and hallucinations were reported.
In many ways, the Sensory Attenuation Tank (its other name) competes with the techniques of meditation; the objective of both is to de-stress the mind and gain an out of body experience. Both the methods relax the body and makes one lose the sense of time. The trauma and drama of daily life melts away in the midst of stillness. However, the approach and instruments required to elevate the mind to this state are vastly different. While the Eastern tradition to enter the state of â€˜nothingnessâ€™ was through control and culture of the mind, Western approach is dependent on physical instruments. Point to ponder!