Can Float Therapy help with Anxiety and Depression?

by | Aug 24, 2022

Can Floating help with anxiety and depression?

Float therapy has consistently shown to be effective in improving sleep quality, reducing stress, anxiety, depression and PTSD. It also provides powerful natural pain relief and ease chronic stress. In addition, Float therapy has also been a powerful tool to boost cognition, aid problem-solving by letting people achieve Theta State, and generally helps people think more clearly. 

People suffering from Anxiety and Depression benefit significantly from float therapy aka REST (Reduced Environmental Stimulation Therapy). 

Sensory deprivation helps with anxiety and depression 

According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, Depression and Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health concerns. Over 40 million Americans (19.1%) suffer from anxiety disorders. Meanwhile, depression affects more than 18 percent of adults in the United States. Anxiety disorders are commonly associated with persistent, excessive worry and fear. Feelings of dread, worry, restlessness, irritability, pounding heart, shortness of breath, sweating, tremors, insomnia, upset stomach, frequent urination, and diarrhea are some of the symptoms. Depression symptoms include sadness, loss of interest in activities, physical aches, sleep disturbances, changes in appetite, and suicidal thoughts. According to Healthline, stress signals trigger adrenaline and cortisol production by your adrenal glands. As a result, the heart rate increases, and the fight-or-flight response is triggered. Sensory isolation allows for deep relaxation by removing almost all external stimulus.

Researchers are finding that floating offer long-term results for a variety of mood and mental health issues. In addition to showing promising benefits for depression, anxiety and stress, floating has also been shown to help with muscular pain and sleep disorders.

What is it about sensory deprivation that appears to be so good for both the mind and body?

 

 

There are many people who are unsure of what to expect when they enter the tank. The sensory deprivation tank is used as part of a treatment called restricted environmental stimulation therapy (REST), which significantly reduces sensory stimulation to create an environment of relaxation that cannot be achieved in an everyday setting. A sensory deprivation tank contains just enough water to allow a floater to relax on their back while experiencing less gravity. It is also important to note that tanks are soundproof in order to minimize distractions.

 

Floating and Wellness: What the Research Says?

Researchers published a study in 2018 showing that floatation-REST has significant anxiolytic and antidepressant effects on people suffering from a wide range of mental illnesses. Researchers conducted a study involving 50 participants who suffered from anxiety and depression. The uniqueness of this study is that the participants were experiencing a wide range of anxiety and stress-related disorders including social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, and post-traumatic stress disorder. A one-hour session of floatation-REST resulted in significant reductions in anxiety states, as well as substantial improvements in mood, according to the researchers.

The results of another study, published in 2014, were similar. Participants in this study reported significant decreases in stress, depression, anxiety, and pain following flotation-REST experiences. Those same participants also reported an increase in optimism and a better quality of sleep. In contrast, no significant results were reported in the control group. The story actually gets even more interesting after that point. According to the study, participants who floated experienced a significant correlation between mindfulness in daily life and altered states of consciousness during relaxation in the flotation tank. There is evidence that float tanks have long-term cognitive and mental benefits that extend well beyond the float tank to everyday life.

Why Is Sensory Deprivation Good for Mental Health?

Researchers are still discovering a great deal about the benefits of floating with sensory deprivation. Most people have anecdotally reported feeling different both during and after floating. There is evidence that some of the benefits of floating are associated with sensory deprivation activating the parasympathetic nervous system. People can experience a state of relaxation when the parasympathetic nervous system is activated. Also, the parasympathetic nervous system reduces blood pressure while reducing the level of a stress hormone called cortisol which runs rampant through the body when we are “all charged up.” Cortisol is related to feelings of anxiety, panic, and exhaustion.

Floating as a method of mental wellness: Is it the future?

There is no doubt that floating is beneficial for mental health. Anxiety and depression sufferers are finding relief using this natural, carefully controlled method of rebalancing their minds and bodies.