Float Therapy

Exploring the Potential Side Effects of Floatation Therapy

Exploring the Potential Side Effects of Floatation Therapy

Floatation therapy, also known as sensory deprivation therapy, is a widespread wellness practice that involves floating in a sensory deprivation tank filled with warm saltwater. Despite some concerns regarding the dangers of float tanks, many individuals have reported profound physical and mental benefits from regular float therapy sessions. However, like any other therapy, there may be some negative side effects that people should be aware of before trying it. 

While float therapy is generally a comfortable and relaxing experience, a few situations may cause discomfort. Fortunately, many of these scenarios can be avoided with proper preparation and mindfulness. This article will discuss some potentially uncomfortable situations during float therapy and provide strategies to help you make the most of your float experience.

Disclaimer: It is important to note that while some individuals may experience side effects or discomfort during or after float therapy, not all floaters will have the same experience. The benefits of float therapy can vary from person to person, and it is recommended that individuals consult with their healthcare provider if they have any concerns or medical conditions prior to trying float therapy.

Motion Sickness and Nausea

Many individuals may experience a feeling of nausea during their initial float session. This is primarily attributed to the new environment they find themselves in as they become familiar with the unique sensation of buoyancy. It is worth noting that the float tank’s environment reduces gravity’s effect, submerges the ears underwater, and may include the absence of light or a slight water surface ripple. However, once individuals become accustomed to the float experience, they remain more still. They may steady themselves against the float tank’s side or bottom to stabilize their body and minimize movement during the session. As a result, even those who are highly susceptible to motion sickness can have an enjoyable experience with float therapy.

It is important to note that experiencing nausea during float therapy is uncommon. However, if such a situation arises, it can be managed effectively with the appropriate medication or by gradually increasing the frequency of float sessions. By doing so, individuals can become more accustomed to the unique sensation of floating and minimize any potential discomfort.

Skin Irritation and Rashes

Individuals with minor wounds or irritations may experience temporary aggravation due to the high salt concentration in the solution. Similarly, individuals with dry skin, eczema, or psoriasis may experience discomfort when first submerging into the saline solution, despite Epsom salt’s healing benefits on these skin conditions

Nonetheless, this feeling typically subsides quickly, and we offer a protective ointment to help alleviate any discomfort before entering the water. 

The sensory deprivation tank usually consists of 250 gallons of water and 800 lbs of Epsom salt. Even a brief session in the float tank could last for an hour, allowing a significant amount of salt to accumulate on the skin and hair. Failure to rinse off properly can lead to skin rashes, which may take several days to appear.

To avoid this issue, it is recommended that individuals take extra care to rinse off thoroughly, particularly their hair. Failing to rinse hair adequately can cause salt to dry in the hair and face, leading to discomfort and irritation.


Float therapy, especially for first-timers, can cause confusion or fatigue upon exiting the float tank. This is often due to the deep relaxation that is achieved during the float, which can result in disorientation when returning to reality. Some people may also experience fatigue because their bodies are so relaxed that it can take some time to adjust to being upright and moving around again. 

It’s essential to take your time when exiting the tank, sit down for a moment, and allow yourself to reorient to your surroundings gradually. Drinking plenty of water can also help alleviate fatigue or confusion.

Issues with Colored Hair

While most float therapy clients don’t report any negative effects on their hair, individuals dyed their hair in shades of pink, red, or green may experience color stripping. In addition, the high concentration of salt in the float tank may conflict with keratin treatments. It is highly recommended to consult with a hairstylist before floating if you have recently dyed or treated your hair to avoid any potential damage.


Some individuals may experience hallucinations, especially if they are already prone to them. It is important to note that these experiences are rare and usually short-lived. If you have a history of hallucinations or other mental health concerns, speaking with a medical professional before trying float therapy is advisable.

More Benefits than Side Effects

In conclusion, while there are some potentially negative side effects and precautions to take when using a float tank, these should not discourage anyone from experiencing the many benefits of float therapy. Most people can enjoy a safe and relaxing session in a float tank with proper preparation and guidance. Remember to communicate concerns with the facility and follow their recommended procedures, including rinsing off thoroughly after your session. Doing so can ensure a positive and rejuvenating experience in the float tank.


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