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isolation tank

Many of you might be aware of comedian and actor Joe Rogan from the game show Fear Factor. It is also widely known among fans about his experimentation with psychedelic drugs like DMT, which is a naturally-occuring tryptamine in the human body, a neurotransmitter some speculate plays a role in mediating the visual effects of natural dreaming, near-death experiences, religious visions, and other mystical states.

Joe Rogan has also shared a video regarding his isolation tank, a device originally researched by physician, psychoanalyst and philosopher John C. Lilly in the 1950s. It was designed to test the effects of sensory deprivation on consciousness, and many find that this can replicate “psychedelic-like” experiences.

Here’s a great video of Rogan explaining how it works and how he uses it:



Using this device, researchers can enter into altered states of consciousness even while not under the influence of any drugs.

However, some still mix the effects of the isolation tank with psychedelic drugs like LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, or cannabis. The 1980 science fiction movie Altered States was based on some of John C. Lilly’s research using isolation tanks with ketamine, a dissociative anesthesia, and LSD. In the movie the man “devolves” back into an ape, but in the real world many psychonauts experiment with these kinds of methods to access different states of consciousness and possibly gain greater insight into themselves and reality.

In this other video you can find Joe Rogan giving away his old isolation tank and talking a little more about his experiences.

Please keep in mind that in most regions around the world having the possession of psychedelic drugs, as well as using them, can be a major criminal offense. Isolation tanks, however, are completely legal (as far as I know, you should probably double-check that before getting one).


There are three main things you need to consider when mimicking the effects of an isolation tank:

  • The water needs to be as close as possible to the temperature of your skin.
  • You need to put enough salt in the water so that your body floats without effort.
  • You need to do it in a space that is as quiet and dark as possible. Keep in mind: the point is to be turning off your physical senses and focusing inwards.

Similar effects to isolation tanks and sensory deprivation can also be accomplished naturally through disciplined meditation practices. For example: Tibetan Dream Yoga , which requires one to reach a kind of “sensory deprivation” by putting the body to sleep but still keeping your mind awake – this is essentially a wake-induced lucid dream (WILD).

On a final note: I have never been one to tell someone how they should or shouldn’t treat their own body, as I believe we are each the sole authority over ourselves, and therefore we each reserve the right to choose what we consume or don’t consume. However, please keep in mind that there are some techniques in this article that may be frowned upon by various legal systems or societal values. Please, use your own discretion and good judgment, and do your research before making any decision about your body or using an isolation tank.



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