If you don’t know what a sensory deprivation tank is, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Primarily used for relaxation and meditation, there is some promising evidence that suggests that some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia could be treated or at least kept at bay by frequent sessions.
Flotation REST is a form of Reduced Environmental Stimulation Therapy (REST) that uses a shallow pool of heavy water about the size of a large bed. The water is made heavy by super- saturating it with Epsom Salt (MgSO4) to the point that a person floats on his or her back effortlessly on the surface of the water like a cork. The water is heated to skin temperature and the pool is enclosed in a lightproof, soundproof environment. This device, invented by Dr. John C Lilly, effectively removes external stimulation and creates a neutral environment that gives the feeling that one is floating comfortably in space.
Other symptoms like insomnia, depression, and anxiety are more speculative in their beneficial claims but there are studies connecting the decrease of stress and the decrease of each of these things as well. Another interesting link is the theory that fibromyalgia could be closely linked with the body’s lack of proper levels of magnesium, an element that is incredibly prevalent in the same medical-grade Epsom salt that is used in sensory deprivation tanks in order to increase buoyancy.
There is still much more study to be done in linking the effects of sensory deprivation tank therapy and fibromyalgia but there could be promising results on the horizon. More information can be found out about the Fibromyalgia Float Project here.