Based on the facts that were published in the Journal of Psychology and Health, isolation tank sessions have been found to be a purposeful removal of stimuli to our numerous human senses.
Based on the findings of not just the journal, but also clinical trials involving human subjects, it was found that isolation tanks could effectively quieten our brain which leads us to be in a relaxed state close to the state that meditators get during meditation.
The tanks themselves just act as a ‘blotter of senses’ whereas the buoyancy is caused by the high content of Epsom salt which contains magnesium (magnesium is absorbed through our skin – magnesium is a critical mineral to our biological function and many people have magnesium deficiencies that are thought to be the precursor to a variety of ailments).
The air and solution is normally heated to our skin temperature which makes it difficult to tell apart which parts of our body are above the waterline and which parts are below creating a feeling of weightlessness and eliminating the effects of gravity for the most part. This takes away the pressure that gravity exerts on muscles and joints which is why pregnant mothers are often recommended to undergo this therapy.
The isolation tank is not a new phenomenon, as a matter of fact it was actually conceptualised and first built by one Dr John C Lilly in the 50s. Due to the lack of technological equipment and understanding, the therapy was ignored until the early 90s when people began to realise that those who actually went for isolation tank sessions about twice a week were generally healthier and in good moods more often than not compared to those who did not.
The hypothesis of that study was to test whether if external stimuli were removed, the brain would go into a sleep state. The hypothesis was not accepted as the findings were contrary because a a surprising amount of brain activity were observed happening in the Theta state (which at that time, they were not able to tell due to the lack of technology).
The Theta state is or Theta brainwave is a sluggish brainwave that occurs during deep relaxation which all of us experience whenever we are about to fall asleep or about to wake up. During this time our brain also recalibrates our chemical and biological conditions which is why people wake up feeling fresh after a good night’s sleep.
During the time when the mind is in this state when induced by isolation tanks, our entire blood circulation is also enhanced quite significantly as oxygen levels that are delivered to cells are done with much more effectiveness and efficiency which makes the brain more functional.
Thus, putting two and two together, the entire scenario can e explained by understanding that floating in an isolation tank encourages our entire body to relax and as the brain has nothing much to do (no sound, no vision, no smell, no temperature and no gravity) allow the brain to function without obstacles or interruptions.