History of floatation tank Therapy: part 1
Although the floatation tank was not developed for therapy in the first instance, its current uses where discovered as a ‘by-product’ of experiments in sensory deprivation.
Originally invented by an American neuroscientist called Dr John C. Lilly in the 1950s.
By the 1970s he had perfected the design of what was then known as the sensory deprivation tank.
The tanks were developed to prove whether or not the brain needed external stimuli to keep its conscious states active. They needed a device that would essentially cut test subjects off from the outside world and limit sensations to the body.
Early models of the device would see users submerged vertically in a large cylindrical chamber filled with water.
Subjects were given breathing apparatus and were then suspended (with buoyancy aids) upright just atop of the surface. The accessories proved to be too distracting so new designs that have much in common with today’s models were prototyped.
By the 1970s, he had developed a model in which users would lie horizontally in a high concentration Epsom salt laden water (which has super buoyant qualities). Users would report its positive relaxation qualities, so beyond its origins in mental health exploration it began to find popularity as a well-being and health enhancement application.
Read more about the floatation tank’s development throughout the 1980s and 1990s in part two.