From the time we’re small, we’re told we have five senses. Yet our world of sights, sounds, smells, and textures can come at us all at once, making us feel like we have twice that many, all going at top speed. The ability to “shut down” our senses is no longer a fun thing to do or an occasional exercise in quietude and spirituality. It’s now a necessity, but how do we do it? Today, we’re going to look at whether it’s possible to shut down the senses and some techniques that will allow you to do so.
What is Sensory Deprivation?
If the term “sensory deprivation” scares you, you are not alone. Many people are skeptical of this term because they picture being shut in a dark room with no sensory input or human contact and no way out. Used properly, sensory deprivation is meant to relax you, to cut off input so you can clear your mind and recharge your body. The idea behind it is to help you refocus for a fixed, deprived period so that when you rejoin the world, making your concentration and higher-order thinking skills improve.
How Does it Work?
Sensory deprivation, such as what you experience in a floatation chamber, teaches your mind to move to a lower state of consciousness. The stress centers in the brain stop releasing hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Thus, the brain starts to mimic what happens just before you fall asleep. Instead of alpha and beta waves, the brain produces calmer, more stable theta waves. During sensory deprivation experiences like floatation therapy, your body stops fighting gravity because it’s floating. Therefore, your muscles, bones, and internal systems get a much-needed break. This reduces muscle and joint pain, anxiety, and health issues, such as headaches or stomach pains brought on by stress.
Can You Turn Off Your Senses Completely?
Many people are skeptical of sensory deprivation because they know as quiet as they want to be, some noise or distraction will eventually disrupt them. This is not so in environments like a floatation chamber. The chamber is safely sealed so no sound or images can get through and the temperature of the water is close to that of your skin. As your brain and body release control and hormones cease production, you will feel the release that comes from sensory deprivation.