Warning – You Could Get Hooked on the Wonderful Feeling of Nothing
Two weeks ago I posted “Is Sensory Deprivation the Best Legal High?” about the Float Sanctuary, a new biz downtown that features “sensory deprivation” tanks that can be rented by the hour. I knew when I took a tour of the place that I would absolutely have to try this thing out.
John C. Lilly, a neuroscientist in the 1950s-70s and one of the major brains of the psychedelic era along with Timothy Leary and Ram Dass, wanted to test the effects of sensory deprivation on the human mind. So, he built a lightproof, soundproof tank and filled it with warm water that was so salty a human body would float. And he’d go floating for hours in complete darkness and total silence, sometimes under the influence of LSD or another consciousness-altering experimental drug of the time, but often just alone with his mind.
John Lilly invented these things specifically to get high. Their use today is perfectly legal, as it always has been. And yes, you do get high inside the tank.
The cool thing is that if you feel uncomfortable with complete sensory deprivation, you can use the tank without closing the door, which is easy to push open. This allows you to look at a large window into the room (if you open your eyes), and allows the ambient light from the room into the tank. If you close your eyes, you’re pretty much in total sensory deprivation anyway. You can turn it off and on with your eyelids. The tank is big enough – 8′ x 4′ – that it’s easy to move around in. The water is about 10″ deep. I didn’t find it claustrophobic.
I closed the door and sank back into the brine. This is so beyond the most comfortable chair you’ve ever sat in or bed you’ve ever slept in. Your body just disappears into the water. All you hear is your own breathing, which is a comforting sound, like a mantra.
Earplugs are provided and recommended–not to increase the silence, but to keep you from getting salt water stuck in your ears.
I could have stayed in the tank for much longer than the one-hour session I’d reserved. If ever in your wayward youth you experimented with psychedelic drugs, you may find that your head will go to a place that is reminiscent of prior drug experiences, sort of like a controlled flashback. This thing could become addictive.
There are other float tanks available in Las Vegas, but I found their prices higher than Float Sanctuary.
Float sessions are $59, or $39 for locals. If you get hooked, multi-session package deals are available.
The Float Sanctuary is located at 1410 S. Main Street, Las Vegas. 702.906.1114