Ever find yourself thinking, “I wish there was a natural alternative treatment to taking medication for anxiety?“
Well, floatation therapy is a powerful tool for almost instant stress relief, allowing you to experience a phenomenal sense of relaxation.
Extensive research has shown that float tanks (also known as sensory deprivation tanks) are highly effective at aiding in the treatment of anxiety disorders, depression, and even PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
Here is everything you need to know about float therapy for anxiety, the science behind it, and how you can utilise this effective practice to feel a significant improvement in your mental health.
Is Floatation Therapy An Effective Treatment for Anxiety?
Float therapy, also known as restricted environmental stimulation therapy, is significantly effective in helping to treat severe anxiety and other mental health conditions in a variety of ways.
This includes removing external sensory input, alleviating the effects of gravity and stress on the body, slowing down the heart rate, reducing blood pressure, and relaxing the nervous system and muscles.
Below we will take a closer look at how anxiety sufferers can benefit from float tank therapy.
How Does Float Therapy Reduce Anxiety?
Removes the distraction of the senses
Every second of every day we are bombarded with different sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and everything else you can think of that overwhelms and overstimulates our senses.
We might not notice, but this is the perfect recipe for anxiety and stress.
One of the key elements of float therapy is restricted environmental stimulation (removing the distraction of the senses).
Your session will involve you floating in extremely buoyant, skin-temperature water which is highly concentrated with medicinal Epsom salt (magnesium-rich). This sensory deprivation tank will block out all outside distractions, including sound and light.
As you float effortlessly, in total silence and darkness, your mind will enter a deeply relaxed state, and you will feel profound peace – which is the complete opposite of the constant sensory overload your brain is used to.
Alleviates the effects of gravity and stress
Ever heard of people carrying anxiety and stress in their bodies?
Having a stiff or sore neck and shoulders is often due to stress-related pain. Those who suffer from an anxiety disorder usually carry tension in their muscles.
And if that wasn’t enough, the inevitable effect of gravity means that your body is always under pressure.
The float tanks are filled with densely saturated saltwater, which is so concentrated that you can easily float on top without any effort whatsoever to stay above the surface. In fact, you will be able to fall asleep while staying on your back throughout the entire float session.
Eliminating the effects of gravity allows your whole body to release any tension and stress that you have been holding onto for far too long.
Decreases heart rate and blood pressure
Did you know that many health problems can be a result of chronic stress and anxiety?
For example, heart disease, asthma, diabetes, headaches, and GI problems can all be worsened or caused by high levels of stress?
This is another reason why float therapy is so beneficial, as it can assist in relieving stress and return the body and mind to a balanced state.
Thanks to the incredibly relaxing effect of using a float tank, it can be highly effective in decreasing blood pressure and slowing down the heart rate – which is key to improving cardiovascular health, quality of sleep, and reducing overall stress.
Magnesium provides relaxation and releases tension
The positive effects of sensory deprivation tank therapy on chronic pain and tension are backed by clinical research. Whether you have headaches, muscle soreness, muscle tension, or chronic pain – float therapy can certainly provide relief.
Float tanks contain high levels of magnesium, an essential mineral that plays a vital role in managing anxiety and depression since it quickly becomes depleted during stressful times.
During your session, magnesium is easily absorbed through your skin and utilised by your cells instantly, offering deep relaxation of the muscles and clearing any physical tension.
Increasing magnesium levels can stimulate serotonin (a feel-good hormone) production, improve sleep quality, as well as enhance several physiological processes in the body.
According to various studies, people who suffer from depression and generalised anxiety disorder commonly have depleted magnesium levels.
Floatation Therapy for Anxiety: What Does the Research Say?
Floatation (or sensory deprivation tank) therapy has been proven to be a highly effective tool in reducing anxiety.
A study performed in 2018 found that a single 1-hour session in a float tank was successful at significantly reducing anxiety levels and promoting positive feelings (improvement of mood) in 50 participants suffering from stress and anxiety disorders.
Furthermore, in 2016 a study involving 46 individuals with reported anxiety disorder found that float therapy was beneficial in reducing the symptoms commonly accompanied by anxiety, including sleep difficulty, depression, irritability, and fatigue.
Is Floatation Therapy the Right Choice for You?
Should you give floatation therapy a try?
If you often deal with stress, depression, anxiety, or even chronic pain, float therapy can make a world of difference to you.
And even if you don’t consider yourself in one of the above categories, float tank therapy will still provide you with amazing benefits.
This treatment is generally considered to be safe for most people, including pregnant women.
With that being said, float therapy is not for everyone, for example, those suffering from claustrophobia, uncontrollable disorders like epilepsy, or those with open wounds.
We highly encourage you to speak with your doctor if you have any health concerns before proceeding with floatation therapy.
Are float tanks good for depression?
Studies show that float therapy is effective in supporting the treatment of depression, as well as anxiety and PTSD by allowing the body to deeply relax.
Deep relaxation aids in removing excess cortisol and stress from the body, as well as boosting feel-good chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine to improve overall mood.
Who should not use a float tank?
Those with any of the following circumstances should avoid using a float tank:
- Infectious diseases
- Open wounds
- Low blood pressure
- Kidney disease
Does floatation therapy help PTSD?
Sensory deprivation tank therapy (or floatation therapy) can be helpful in aiding the treatment of PTSD.
The tranquil environment of being in complete silence and darkness provides a safe space to process and work through traumatic memories, as well as soothe any associated feelings of stress and anxiety.
Conventional PTSD treatment typically includes the use of various types of prescription medications, which often come with unpleasant side effects and the risk of dependency.
On the other hand, floatation therapy is a safe (no side effects) and completely natural alternative to commercial medication, that can greatly assist in treating PTSD.
How often should I do float therapy?
After a single float session, you will instantly feel the positive benefits. However, most people require 3 sessions to fully enjoy the amazing physical and mental effects of floating.
We recommend our clients book 3 float sessions over a couple of weeks to maximise their results.
Those who attend monthly floatation therapy claim to feel the long term benefits, which can be extremely rewarding.
If you are someone who struggles with anxiety and stress on a daily basis, float therapy has the potential to make you feel like a new person.
Not only does it help to deeply relax your entire body and mind, but it also provides relief from muscle tension, improves your mood, lowers blood pressure, decreases the risk of heart conditions, enhances sleep quality, and can be used to treat conditions such a PTSD – to name just a few of the phenomenal health benefits.