Floating therapy, often referred to as floating or float sensory deprivation therapy, involves going into an enclosed float tank and floating in water that’s been mixed with Epsom salts. The solution increases buoyancy, allowing you to float in the tank while creating a feeling of zero-gravity. Although an hour-long float may sound like a great way to pamper yourself and relax for a bit, it offers a whole lot more. Here’s a closer look at some of the positive effects of floating therapy.
Reduces Problems with Insomnia and Improves Sleep Quality
Many people today deal with insomnia and when insomnia is left untreated it has the potential to cause other health problems as a result of sleep deprivation. Studies have shown that float therapy has the potential to reduce insomnia and improve your sleep quality. Onestudyfound that float a couple hours a week for just two weeks was able to improve insomnia symptoms for three months, even when float therapy had ended. If you’re having difficulty sleeping at night, booking a couple floats each week may be a good, non-pharmacological solution.
Reduced Stress and Improved Mindfulness
In today’s busy world, it’s difficult to get away from stress and many people have difficulty effectively managing the stress in their lives. When someone is under a lot of stress, negative physiological changes take place and these changes in the body have been linked to chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and more. A study published in theJournal of Complimentary & Behavioral Medicinetested the effects of sensory deprivation on quality of life. Those who were a part of the seven-week flotation program say a big decrease in stress markers and even improved mindfulness. The study also found that in the flotation group, the quality of sleep also improved with floatation therapy.
May Effectively Reduce and Treat Anxiety
Regular floating therapy also helps to lower the risk of depression and anxiety. Studies have been done testing theeffects of sensory deprivation tank floating on anxiety disorders, including its effects on general anxiety disorder, which is one of the toughest mental health issues to treat. After four months of float therapy, studies found a big change in general anxiety disorder symptomatology, and 37% of participants in the floats actually enjoyed a full remission from their symptoms post-treatment.
Preliminaryresearchis showing that floating has an effect on the brain that may reduce anxiety. One neuropsychologist at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research located in Oklahoma has been mapping the brains of floaters with functional MRI, taking images before and after a 60-minute float. New findings seem to show that floating therapy seems to quiet down the activity in the amygdala, which is the center of anxiety and fear within the brain. Researchers continue to investigate how float therapy can be used for individuals with multiple types of anxiety, including social anxiety, PTSD disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and panic disorder.
Naturally Reduces Pain
Multiple studies along with testimonials show that floating therapy may work as a natural painkiller as well. It’s thought that floating may reduce pain by evoking a relaxation response, easing tense muscles to improve recovery and rest. When patients were treated with float therapy for 6-12 weeks, they showed lower blood pressure levels, increased happiness, and had less pain.
Since it naturally reduces pain, it’s not only used as an alternative treatment for individuals with chronic pain, it’s also being used by many athletes. The therapy has been found to reduce perceived pain levels post-training and lactic acid in the muscles, reducing the muscle soreness often experienced by athletes who train hard.
May Offer Help with Overcoming Addictions
Floating therapy may even offer help with overcoming addictions, with one study showing it to be a cost-effective treatment that’s demonstrated effectiveness at modifying certain addictive behaviors. It’s believed that sensory deprivation floats canhelp patients overcome addictionsin several ways. First, it results in the general relaxation response in the brain and the body and provides relief and serenity with a non-chemical means. It can help remove trigger cues and increase an individual’s feelings of control over their behaviors as well. Research now supports the use of this type of therapy for overeating, drug misuse, alcohol consumption, and quitting smoking.
Along with the many scientifically-backed benefits of floating therapy, many other benefits have been reported through preliminary studies and patient testimonials. Floating may potentially help relieve other stress-related issues, such as:
- Tension headaches
- Low energy and chronic fatigue
- Difficulty focusing
- Brain fog
- Muscle tension
- Low immune function
- Mood-related disorders
Whether you’re interested in reducing muscle tension, reducing pain, recovering from exercise, or reducing stress and anxiety, floating therapy offers benefits for everyone. It’s far more than a great way to pamper yourself – it’s an excellent way to take a proactive approach to your health and well-being.