Sensory Deprivation And Magic Mushrooms: Everything You Need To Know

Published :
Categories : Default

Sensory Deprivation And Magic Mushrooms: Everything You Need To Know

Sensory deprivation tanks and magic mushrooms have been linked for as long as sensory deprivation tanks have existed. But is it safe to dose and float, and is this something you want to try?

Sensory deprivation tanks⁠—also known as isolation or flotation tanks⁠—were invented in 1954 by counter-culture revolutionary, physician, neuroscientist, psychoanalyst, psychonaut, philosopher, and inventor John C. Lilly.

Lilly wanted to create an environment where the brain was completely deprived of any kind of external stimuli—it was part of Lilly’s lifelong exploration into ways that we might be able to expand our consciousness. This led to Lilly’s experimentation with hallucinogenic drugs in an isolation tank, which Lilly claimed left him feeling “profoundly altered”.


What Is A Sensory Deprivation Tank?

Before you decide to sit in your bathtub with the lights off and enjoy a trip, let’s get a basic understanding of what sensory deprivation tanks are.

In a modern context, this involves a personal flotation tank, which is a pool of body-temperature water filled with a huge amount of Epsom salt. The salt allows your body to float unaided, similar to the experience of being in the Dead Sea.

It’s recommended in many cases that you’re naked when you float, although each flotation company will have its own set of instructions. After showering and making sure any cuts or scrapes are protected (the saltwater will cause them to sting), you can enter the tank. Soft music typically plays for around five minutes while your body adjusts to the feeling of being in the water.

You have the option to open the tank at any point, or to sound an alarm should you need help. Otherwise, it is your mission to relax and enjoy the 60–90-minute process. Closed away from light and sound stimuli, the tank allows you to feel the closest thing to weightlessness and nothingness as possible. You’re truly left with just yourself for company. Following your experience, it's important to stay hydrated and give yourself time to process and evaluate.


The Benefits Of Sensory Deprivation Tanks

Sensory deprivation tanks are a popular way to allow the body and mind to reset. Similar to entering a meditative state, time in the flotation tank allows you to relax fully. This is a powerful stress reliever, and can even help to soothe painful symptoms. Science has also shown that the act of being suspended in water leads to lower cortisol levels, increased energy, and better sleep.

Many people find that the lack of strain on the muscles and joints leads to much deeper relaxation, and feelings of wellness and contentment are often reported in the days and weeks that follow the float.

Some people have found that the act of being in a flotation tank, away from any interruptions, leads to an increase in non-drug-induced peaks like awe, deep meditation, trances, hallucinations, or visualisations. So, of course, it makes sense that people are drawn to widening their consciousness even further.


Sensory Deprivation And Magic Mushrooms

Given the benefits of sensory deprivation tanks, it seems a natural fit for those who like to take magic mushrooms. The tank allows the mushroom experience to be completely focused and inward, without surround distraction or even feeling of bodily weight. Your experience becomes pure and otherworldly.

After all, if you’re hoping to broaden your consciousness and enjoy some time as a psychonaut, what better way to do so than by limiting the impact of the outside world?

If you’re considering incorporating psilocybin into your time in the tank, there are some things you should definitely be aware of. After all, you wouldn’t jet into space without taking a few precautions, would you? As with all trips, we want to make sure you’re comfortable and prepared for what might happen.


If this is your first time in a flotation tank, or taking shrooms, it’s probably best to do both individually before you combine them. This means that you’ll already know how you’re affected by each of the experiences.



Given that the average flotation session is 60–90 minutes long, it’s important to make sure that you’re in a fit-enough state, both physically and mentally, to enjoy the trip and then eventually return home.

Microdosing is where you take a small dose of shrooms. The ideal microdose means that you don’t actually feel the effect. Instead, it’s meant to encourage your mind to open and be more amenable to the set and setting.

Microdosing is a popular way to heighten the senses and enhance feelings of spiritual awareness, without feeling as though one is tripping. As such, it can be a good go-between the normal meditative experience of a floatation tank and the full-blown exploration of floating with a full magic mushroom dose.


Set & Setting

The effect of microdosing will give you a similar feeling to when you’re in hypnagogia—the state of consciousness you achieve just before you fall fast asleep. At this point, your brain starts to relax and stops being wakeful, which can induce visual and aural hallucinations.

Just as when you go to sleep, it’s important to make sure you’re in a comfortable and relaxed state before you float. Being prepared will give you the opportunity to fully enjoy the experience and widen your awareness of self. The last thing you want is to feel caught off guard.


Why Would You Take Psilocybin And Float?

The concept of using drugs to expand our consciousness is nothing new—in fact, in ancient times, it was seen as an important psychic and even religious tradition.

Still today, organisations such as MAPS encourage the responsible use of psychedelics and marijuana to promote the beneficial effects of therapy. In fact, exploring the "be-mushroomed" state can take some time to process, which is why there is so much success when used in conjunction with psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.

Ensure that you give yourself the time and opportunity to unpack the results of your isolation tank experience. If you take all the necessary precautions, you may find it to be the perfect way to level up your self-awareness and creativity.