Looking for some quiet time? Try a sensory deprivation pod

There’s a reason why Redskins players are hopping on this wellness trend, which has been shown to reduce insomnia, stress, anxiety and chronic pain.

©omasz Zajda, Adobe Stock

Imagine being in a place that is pitch black and dead silent for 90 minutes. Scary thought? What if we add in the fact that you’re floating in water. Worried? What if you could walk away from the experience utterly relaxed. Intrigued?

The practice, referred to as “float therapy,” consists of 90-minute sessions in a sensory deprivation tank. Each pod is filled with 850 pounds of Epsom salt to suspend the floater and nourish the skin, but the benefits reach far beyond being a great exfoliant. Floating without the distractions of your senses has been shown to reduce insomnia, stress, depression, anxiety and even chronic pain, and floating centers are popping up across the U.S. now more than ever.

Gravity accounts for 90 percent of all central nervous system deterioration, explains OmFloat co-owner Brooks Brinson. Painful joints, sagging skin, aching feet and bad backs all seem to be common effects of gravity fighting against our inconveniently upright posture.

“Floating is an experience close to complete weightlessness that doesn’t just deprive you of your senses, but relieves you of them,” says Brooks’ wife and co-owner, Amy Brinson. Freeing the brain and skeletal system from gravity liberates the mind to contemplate spirit and self while facilitating the body’s natural healing processes.

“We have a few Redskins players who’ve been coming in pretty regularly since we opened,” says Brooks. “We try to protect their identities, but there was one player who came off the practice team and onto the main roster after just a year of floating.”

Professional athletes have credited float therapy to their rapid healing rates and heightened performances come game time. These results are due in part to the high concentration of Epsom salts—which detox the body and relax the muscles—but the psychological effects can’t be ignored. In a study conducted by Johns Hopkins University, blood samples taken before and after a float showed reduced cortisol levels, the hormone responsible for stress and anxiety.


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(January 2018)