Sensory Deprivation Floating

I’m not sure if this is sufficiently medical (so I understand if it’s removed, but I’ve put a few peer reviewed references below), but this has helped me so much, I wanted to try sharing this tip. I think it’s unfortunate that more research hasn’t been done on this topic.

I have a lot of trouble with sensory overload, and I find floating in a sensory deprivation tank to be the most helpful treatment I’ve found. It’s not cheap, but it might be possible to get a prescription for this. Sometimes I meditate in the tank, and sometimes (usually, to be honest) I just let my mind pinball around, but the calming effect on the nervous system (the silence!!) is really helpful, regardless. It may be counterproductive for some people with ADHD (I don’t have the hyperactivity component, and that may be a contraindication), but if you think it might be helpful for you, I suggest trying it a few times: the first time can be a bit weird as you’re getting used to it, but by the second or third float, the benefits will probably be setting in if it’s going to help you. Warning: some people find it unnerving. It’s also really boring, although your pinball-like brain may well keep you entertained. I’ve come up with a lot of creative ideas in the tank :slight_smile:

Here are some resources that aren’t peer reviewed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsxaP9eSE4w.
https://www.reddit.com/r/ADHD/comments/8axx3y/sensory_deprivation_floating_has_changed_my_life/
https://www.thefloatspa.co.uk/can-floating-help-people-autism-adhd/
https://zenfloatco.com/blog-pages/2016/8/11/success-stories-floating-as-a-treatment-for-adhd
(I don’t work for any of these people; my enthusiasm for floating is as a consumer/patient, not someone who will ever benefit from it financially.)

And here the only peer reviewed references:

Edebol, Hanna, Anette Kjellgren, Sven-Åke Bood, and Torsten Norlander. “Enhanced independence and quality of life through treatment with flotation-Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique of a patient with both Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Aspergers Syndrome: a case report.” Cases Journal. http://www.casesjournal.com/content/2/1/6979#B3, 2009.

Kjellgren, Anette, Hanna Edebol, Tommy Nordén, Torsten Norlander. “Quality of life with flotation therapy for a person diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, atypical autism, PTSD, anxiety and depression.” Open Journal of Medical Psychology. http://file.scirp.org/Html/8-2250044_34022.htm, 2013.

Starobrat-Hermelin, B., T. Kozielec.“The effects of magnesium physiological supplementation on hyperactivity in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Positive response to magnesium oral loading test.” Magnesium Research. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9368236., June 1997.

Has anyone else had success with sensory deprivation tanks? Tips for use?

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I was really intrigued by float tanks when I first heard about them a few years ago! (also, Stranger Things— I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone but there is a float tank at the end of season 1) It sounds so neat. Never tried it though. I am a little bit scared (I have an active imagination) But maybe I will see if I can get a groupon for it, since I am also inattentively adhd. Do you feel peaceful for a while afterwards, or is it only during the floating time?

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I really want to try one :grin:

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Cool thanks for the info. I sometimes just plug-out everything – wear headphones with an ambient-noise sound track (check out “My Noise” app!), or tight-fitting ear-plugs; and an eye-mask (the kind for sleeping, blocks out all light); and lie down and sleep / nap / meditate. It’s not my normal meditation routine, in which I chant a mantra and try to do the whole oneness-and-nothingness thing, but that’s a routine I don’t do very often anyway. Instead, I mean, I actually sensory-deprive for a while. Like you’re suggesting except more of a homebrew DIY version.

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Hi Appleboat, good questions. I have a pretty active imagination (inattentive type ADHD), and although I do try to meditate in the tank sometimes, usually I just let my imagination wander. I’ve come up with some cool creative ideas in the tank. The only time I’ve found mind-wandering to be a down side is immediately after someone has died. Grief in the tank is tough.

As for the benefits, I find they last after floating. Even for days, although of course they start to taper off immediately. I float twice a week and find that that’s my minimum for maintaining some equilibrium (though I probably have more sensory problems than many).

And yes re: Stranger Things. Great series!

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Hi cliftonprince, those are great ideas. I use noise-cancelling headphones a LOT - like every time I leave the house - and also lie down with them and cover my eyes. It’s a reasonable, inexpensive substitute for floating (and during Covid lockdown, the only option). I find floating sets me up much, much better, but as much sensory deprivation as you can do at home, for free, is also great.

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Hmm I’ve wanted to try this before, but being bored was one of my concerns :joy:
I’m not exactly the best at entertaining myself, but it’s interesting to hear about your experience!

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