“When one or more senses are restricted, the sensitivity of the others senses is expanded.” – The Book of Floating by Michael Hutchison
The floatation tank makes use of this sensory deprivation effect to bring about a gentle, pleasant, controllable, and temporary shift in consciousness in anyone who floats. This shift in consciousness is healthy, educational and can be manipulated, explored and used in such a way as to cause positive changes in attitude, physiology, and behaviour that persist even after the float.
While floatation tank is the best modern tool for cutting down the amount of external stimuli, humans have been using a variety of tools and techniques to achieve sensory deprivation for many years. Here are just some of them:
It is clear by now that the use of sensory isolation has a long history. Sensory restriction is an effective way of turning toward reality, of increasing our sensitivity to and awareness of the world as it is. People who emerge from floatation tank are often delighted to find that the world seems to have changed while they were away. They speak of seeing things anew, and describe the world as fresh, glowing, bright and more vivid.
– Summary of Less is More – The Sensory Restriction Tradition from The Book of Floating by Michael Hutchison
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