The Power of Floating

Imagine being a 24-year-old man, naked and floating in a pod, inducing complete sensory deprivation and being immersed in what I can only describe as adult sized womb. Sound terrifying? Well, today I did just that, but alas, it was not scary in the slightest and instead it ending up being both relaxing and transformative.

To my surprise, I learnt that floatation therapy has been around for around 60 years. It is yet however, to become mainstream. I for one, knew nothing about it.

A few weeks back, I was browsing the web looking for something interesting and new that a friend and I could try out. This is when I came across ‘Float Works’ in Vauxhall, London. Intrigued, I booked us one ‘float’.

I arrived at 9 am and was overcome by a sense of tranquillity. The receptionist positively oozed zen, making my friend and I feel at ease; this was particularly reassuring when trying something so new and unusual.

He showed each of us to our private room where a large white pod filled with salt water greeted me. He explained its features and left us to shower and hop in. Normally I would be nervous, but the staff were so friendly and positive that any residual nerves evaporated.

I took off my clothes and lay down in the water. I felt the tension in my body melt away. Turning the pod’s lights off, I was lost in complete darkness, left to focus on my own thoughts for a full hour.

After the fifteen minutes of quiet music (to ‘ease you in’) I lost any sense of time. I began to fade in and out of active thought, managing in the main to clear my mind. The water, being perfect room temperature, meant that I wasn’t able to tell which parts of me were in the water and which were out. I focused on my breath and could hear only my heartbeat; I had completely succumbed to the pod.

The hour was up in what felt like minutes. Before entering, I was convinced that this whole process might drag on, but instead I was shocked at how quickly the time flew!

After the float, I felt happier, lighter and rejuvenated. I made my way up to the ‘relaxation room’ and poured myself a complementary herbal tea, and pondered the immense and positive impact of the float. I am a massage addict, but let me tell you, this float session was more wellness inducing than any massage I have ever received. It was special absolutely worth the £50 price tag.

I’m giving this 5/5 on the happiness scale.

This article originally appeared on huffingtonpost and was written by Nader Dehdasht


Float Therapy for PTSD and Anxiety

Quality of Life with Flotation Therapy for a Person Diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, Atypical Autism, PTSD, Anxiety and Depression

The aim of this single-subject study was to report experiences from one and a half years of regular floating as described by a person with neuropsychiatric and mental health disorders. Floating, or Flotation Restricted Environmental Stimula- tion Technique, involves relaxation and sensory deprivation by means of resting in a tank with highly salted and body-tempered water. The subject, a 24-year-old woman diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, atypi- cal autism, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression floated regularly for one and a half years. Interviews regarding her experiences were analyzed and the main findings involved a subjective sense of improved quality of life, wellbeing and healthy behavior. There were no negative effects from treatment. Results suggest that floating may have beneficial therapeutic effects on mental health. Further studies that evaluate the efficacy and possible effects of floating with regard to mental health are needed.

The benefits of this experience will stay with you for days and your quality of sleep will improve. Here are some more reasons to float if you suffer PTSD:

  • Calm, safe environment
  • Pleasure, feel good chemicals, dopamine and endorphins are released
  • Cortisol is reduced
  • Mental clarity
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces anxiety and depression
  • Muscles are relaxed
  • Magnesium replacement : Stress can be a cause of magnesium deficiency, and a lack of magnesium tends to magnify the stress reaction, worsening the problem. In studies, adrenaline and cortisol, byproducts of the “fight or flight” reaction associated with stress and anxiety, were associated with decreased magnesium. Because stressful conditions require more magnesium use by the body, all such conditions may lead to deficiency, including both psychological and physical forms of stress such as surgery, burns, and chronic disease.

REST Float Therapy Can Improve Creativity

The experience of flotation-REST (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique: Consciousness, Creativity, Subjective Stress and Pain

The purpose of the presented investigations was to study the influence and effects of altered states of consciousness (ASC) induced through the flotation tank restricted environmental stimulation technique (flotation-REST) in a laboratory setting. The results from the present investigations indicate that flotation-REST may offer a safe and practical method of inducing altered states of consciousness in a controlled laboratory setting. Throughout, flotation-REST was experienced as a positive event by the participants. In order to optimize the conditions of flotation-REST, possible differences in the type of experiences due to different settings (strict/fantasy) applied in the laboratory were examined; no such differences were obtained. Nor were experiences in the flotation tank affected by participants earlier experiences of altered states of consciousness. Mental experiences reported from flotation-REST include deep relaxation, experiences of leaving or losing contact with the body, visual and auditory pseudo-hallucinations and transpersonal experiences. Comparisons between chamber-REST and flotation-REST indicated that the flotation-REST group experienced a significantly higher degree of ASC as compared to the chamber-REST group. The instrument, EDN-scale, was developed to allow these measures. Investigations of creativity indicated that flotation-REST induced more originality and impaired deductive thinking, in comparison to chamber-REST. Chamber-REST induced more realistic and elaborated thinking compared to flotation-REST. Comparison of these two conditions indicated that both flotation-REST and chamber-REST were equally effective in reducing subjectively experienced stress. An experimental pain procedure was arranged in order to study the experience of pain in connection with individuals experiencing ASC (induced by flotation-REST). A higher level of pain and stress was obtained in those individuals with high ASC in the flotation-group compared with those with low ASC (as measured with the EDN-scale). The individuals presenting high ASC also experienced duration of experimental pain as shorter compared with low ASC individuals, within the flotation-REST condition. Within the chamber-REST condition, there were no differences between the low ASC and high ASC individuals. To study the possible pain-alleviating effects of flotation-REST upon existing, chronic pain, a series of flotation-REST treatments over a three-week period was carried out. It was found that the participants most severe perceived pain intensity was significantly reduced, whereas low perceived pain intensity was not influenced by the floating technique. Further, the results indicated that the circulating levels of noradrenaline metabolite MHPG (3-methoxy-4-hydroxy-phenylethyleneglycol) were reduced significantly in the experimental group but not in the control group following treatment, whereas endorphin levels were not affected by flotation. Flotation-REST treatment also elevated the participants' optimism and reduced the degree of anxiety or depression; at nighttime, patients who underwent flotation fell asleep more easily. These findings describe possible alleviations in patients presenting with chronic pain complaints. Taken together, these studies on the flotation-REST technique offer a promising avenue of future research on stress reduction, pain treatment and personal development, hopefully elucidating regional brain implicit and explicit processes.