Sensory Deprivation for clear thinking


Have you ever been totally alert to nothing but your thoughts? How long did it last? Read this article if you’re ready to improve your powers of concentration, creativity, or if you want to have a psychedelic experience without needing the drugs…

I often like to autopilot through the day as much as I can (some call this laziness), but I’m guessing most people (quite rightly) only stop to analyse their daily interactions briefly – if at all. Unless you had some profound revelation during your coffee break then it probably doesn’t warrant much thinking about. However some things are quite useful - if frustrating - to replay over in your head before going to sleep. How many times have you thought of the perfect comeback, or imagined how you could have heroically responded to a situation hours after it has happened? For me this brief respite you get from the world between going to bed and falling asleep, is an opportunity that is easy to ignore. I trade it in for listening to music. But then sometimes I still can’t sleep and my brain forces me to think about my life. Love it or hate it, apparently this is a skill that can be developed, and which can have real impacts on your life.

One (arguably extreme) but cool way of practicing this skill is via sensory deprivation. If lying in the dark in your bed, alone with nothing but your own thoughts doesn’t fill you with dread, and is actually something you enjoy doing then you should know there is a way to considerably one-up it. Over the last few decades, and after much experimentation ‘Float Tank/Isolation Tank’ centres have been opening up all around the world. Presumably ‘Sensory Deprivation Chamber’sounds a little bit too scary but that is essentially what these tanks are. The idea is to relax as you climb in, becoming weightless as you lie down in a chamber of water, which is heated to the same temperature as your body and containing enough Epsom salts to keep you afloat without any effort. The lid is then closed, shutting out all light and sound so that temporarily you can no longer see, hear or feel anything. The theory goes that without these sensory distractions the mind is free to roam. Stand Up Comedian/Philosopher Joe Rogan gives us a few insights on the tank…



- “The sensory deprivation chamber has been the most important tool that I’ve ever used to develop my mind for thinking, for evolving”

- “Because the water is the same temperature as your body you don’t really feel it after a while…

- “It’s like layers of an onion, and when you first start doing the isolation tank you can only go a couple of layers of the onion in, you can’t get to the core. Its too hard, too hard to completely let go of the sensory being you really are.”

- “But as you get better at it and as you get more and more comfortable with the experience you get better at letting go. Letting go from letting go, letting go from the feeling of letting go – and then letting go from that point… ”

- “This sort of total relaxation, that release of tension gives you amazing energy, you feel lighter, more vibrant.”

- “The first 20mins or so for me are like a sort of seminar of my life, it shows me all the different issues in my life that I don’t like, or need to fix, or things that are bothering me about my own behaviour that could have been better or things where I’ve been a bit disappointed in myself for. And then it’ll show me some things where I’m on the right track.”

- “But then once it gets me done, it’s like – lets clear out all this bulls**t in your life and then lets think about the bigger picture… then its pure thought, the mind completely untethered from the body.”

- “Then I start contemplating everything, the universe, the role of human beings as a species, all kinds of crazy s**t without the body in the way”


I guess you have to weigh up feeling like a disembodied soul for 60 minutes, against the benefits in concentration, and creative opportunities you (might) get from meditating to deeper and deeper states of mind when you ‘float’. Surely it’s got to be worth a try! Here at REIZE we like to think we’re game for anything so maybe we will…

Written by James Booth