Float therapy, also known as sensory deprivation, has captured the interest of wellness enthusiasts and spa-goers. This practice involves lying in a float tank filled with water and Epsom salt, allowing you to float effortlessly. The environment is designed to minimize external stimuli, promoting relaxation and mindfulness. However, while float therapy has its devotees, it's essential to consider the potential drawbacks. In this blog post, we'll explore the disadvantages of float therapy, helping you make an informed decision about whether it's right for you.

What is Float Therapy?

A Quick Introduction to Float Therapy

Float therapy, also known as sensory deprivation, involves floating in a tank filled with water and Epsom salt. This creates a buoyant environment where you can float effortlessly. The tank is designed to block out external stimuli, including light and sound, providing a tranquil space for relaxation.

The Appeal of Sensory Deprivation

Proponents of float therapy argue that it offers numerous benefits, from stress relief to enhanced creativity. The idea is that by removing external distractions, your mind can enter a meditative state, promoting mental clarity and deep relaxation. But is it all it's cracked up to be?

Why Consider the Downsides?

While the potential benefits are enticing, it's crucial to weigh them against the possible disadvantages. Float therapy isn't for everyone, and understanding its limitations can help you decide if it's a good fit for your wellness routine.

Potential Discomfort in Sensory Deprivation Tanks

Physical Discomfort

One of the primary disadvantages of float therapy is physical discomfort. Floating in a tank for an extended period can cause muscle stiffness and joint pain for some individuals. The lack of movement may lead to discomfort, especially for those with pre-existing conditions.

Claustrophobia Concerns

The enclosed nature of float tanks can trigger claustrophobia in some individuals. If you have a fear of confined spaces, being in a float tank with the lid closed might induce anxiety rather than relaxation. It's essential to assess your comfort level with enclosed spaces before trying float therapy.

Skin Sensitivity Issues

The high concentration of Epsom salt in float tanks can cause skin irritation for some people. If you have sensitive skin or open wounds, the saltwater may exacerbate these issues, making the experience uncomfortable.

Psychological Effects of Sensory Deprivation

Anxiety and Panic Attacks

For some individuals, the sensory deprivation aspect of float therapy can lead to heightened anxiety or panic attacks. The absence of sensory input can be unsettling, especially for those who rely on external stimuli for a sense of security.

Difficulty Adjusting to Silence

The complete silence in float tanks can be challenging for individuals who are accustomed to constant noise. The sudden lack of auditory input may lead to restlessness and difficulty relaxing, negating the intended benefits of float therapy.

Mental Overstimulation

While the goal of float therapy is to reduce mental clutter, some individuals may find that the lack of external distractions leads to an overactive mind. Without stimuli to focus on, thoughts and worries may become more pronounced, making it difficult to achieve a state of relaxation.

Hygiene and Maintenance Concerns

Cleanliness of Float Tanks

Maintaining the cleanliness of float tanks is crucial for a safe and enjoyable experience. However, there have been reports of inadequate cleaning practices at some float centers. If the tank isn't properly sanitized between uses, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi, posing health risks.

Risk of Infections

The warm, humid environment of float tanks can promote the growth of harmful microorganisms. If the water isn't regularly filtered and disinfected, there's a risk of infections, particularly for individuals with compromised immune systems.

Allergic Reactions to Cleaning Agents

Float centers use various cleaning agents to maintain hygiene standards. However, these chemicals can cause allergic reactions in some individuals. If you have a sensitivity to certain cleaning products, it's essential to inquire about the cleaning protocols before booking a session.

Financial Considerations of Float Therapy

High Costs of Sessions

Float therapy sessions can be expensive, with prices ranging from $50 to $100 per session. For individuals seeking regular sessions, the costs can quickly add up, making it a significant financial commitment.

Limited Access to Facilities

Not all areas have float centers, which can make accessing float therapy challenging for some individuals. The need to travel to a float center can add to the overall cost and inconvenience, particularly for those living in rural areas.

Investment in Home Float Tanks

For those who prefer the convenience of home float therapy, the initial investment in a float tank can be substantial. Home float tanks can cost several thousand dollars, making it a significant financial decision. Additionally, ongoing maintenance and operating costs must be considered.

Preparation and Aftercare Challenges

Pre-Session Preparation

Float therapy requires some preparation to ensure a comfortable experience. You need to avoid caffeine and heavy meals before your session, and remove any jewelry or contact lenses. These preparations can be inconvenient and time-consuming.

Post-Session Clean-Up

After a float therapy session, you'll need to shower to remove the salt residue from your skin and hair. This can be an additional hassle, especially if the float center's facilities are limited or crowded.

Potential for Residual Effects

Some individuals may experience dizziness or disorientation after a float therapy session. It's important to give yourself time to readjust to your surroundings before driving or engaging in activities that require full attention.

Limited Scientific Evidence

Lack of Comprehensive Studies

While anecdotal evidence supports the benefits of float therapy, comprehensive scientific studies are limited. The lack of robust research makes it challenging to draw definitive conclusions about its effectiveness.

Individual Variability

The effects of float therapy can vary significantly from person to person. What works for one individual may not be effective for another, making it difficult to predict outcomes and set realistic expectations.

Placebo Effect

The placebo effect may play a role in the perceived benefits of float therapy. The expectation of relaxation and stress relief can influence the experience, making it essential to approach float therapy with an open mind.

Accessibility and Inclusivity Issues

Physical Accessibility

Float centers may not always be equipped to accommodate individuals with physical disabilities. The design of float tanks and facilities can pose challenges for those with mobility issues, limiting access to float therapy.

Language Barriers

For non-English speakers, language barriers can make it difficult to understand the instructions and benefits of float therapy. Ensuring clear communication is essential for an inclusive experience.

Cultural Sensitivity

Float therapy centers must be mindful of cultural differences and preferences. Respecting diverse practices and providing culturally sensitive options can enhance the experience for all individuals.

Environmental Impact

Water Usage

Float therapy requires a significant amount of water, which can contribute to environmental concerns. The water used in float tanks must be regularly replaced, leading to increased water consumption.

Chemical Usage

The use of Epsom salt and cleaning agents in float tanks can have environmental implications. Proper disposal and management of these chemicals are essential to minimize their impact on the environment.

Energy Consumption

Float tanks require electricity to maintain the water temperature and operate filtration systems. The energy consumption associated with float therapy can contribute to the carbon footprint of float centers.


Float therapy offers a unique and immersive experience that appeals to many wellness enthusiasts and spa-goers. However, it's essential to consider the potential disadvantages before deciding if it's right for you. From physical discomfort and psychological effects to hygiene concerns and financial considerations, understanding these drawbacks can help you make an informed decision. If you're still curious about float therapy, consider starting with a single session to see how your body and mind respond. For those seeking alternative relaxation methods, exploring other wellness practices such as yoga, meditation, or massage therapy may be beneficial.

Ready to explore other wellness options? Check out our Float Pod Collection today.

Leave A Comment

All comments are moderated before being published


Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to us at no cost to you if you decide to purchase a paid plan. These are products we’ve used and stand behind. This site is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Any information published on this website or by this brand is not intended as a substitute for medical advice, and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional. You can read our affiliate disclosure in our privacy policy.