Overcoming Anxiety Through Floating
Updated: Dec 16, 2019
ANXIETY – the technical dictionary definition is, ‘a feeling of nervousness, worry, or unease, typically about a forthcoming event or something with an uncertain outcome.’ To many individuals, anxiety is so much more complex than that…
So many people seek anti-anxiety drugs or antidepressants to control this all-consuming anxiety. Perhaps these drugs may be helpful in the short-term, but can this be said for the long-term? At best, is this merely masking the problems people encounter. A variety of approaches are explored from drug intervention to CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) to mindfulness meditation.
Dr Justin Feinstein hopes to add an alternative treatment to the mix – floatation therapy. He certainly is not on his own as Michael and I share the same aspirations.
Here’s the Science Part
Dr Feinstein is a researcher with the prestigious Laureate Institute for Brain Research (LIBR) in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It is there that the Dr and his team have been researching how float therapy can be used to help patients by disrupting the network in the brain that triggers anxiety, the salience network within the brain. This network is a collection of areas within our brain informing us of which stimuli to take note of. All the input from our environment is evaluated by this network.
For his study, Dr Feinstein’s participants were divided into two groups – those who would float for 90-minute sessions and those who would relax in a chair for the same length of time. MRI and water-proof EEG were used to analyse and evaluate participants, both pre and post-float.
The initial results are very encouraging as findings suggest highly connected areas of the brain had a significant drop in connectivity post float. 90 minutes in the pod affected the brain in a similar way that pharmaceuticals do by minimizing the ‘hyped up’ salience network.
Therefore, it is not surprising that floatation therapy is growing at a steady pace in decreasing anxiety and fear, it is designed to help people calm the mind and enter a safe meditative state easily.
We are fortunate enough to offer a space for people to gather their thoughts in our quiet zone. It is here that we have spent countless hours listening and talking to people post-float. Many have talked about their anxious feelings pre-float and some have reflected on the process of floating. Explaining how the first float can feel incredibly strange as you don’t know where to put your arms, or how to relax, what to think and in many cases that is true. However, many comment on how you are as close as you’re ever likely to be to experience weightlessness and you become so in-tuned to your general well-being.
‘You will never feel the same again after experiencing a floatation therapy session.’
‘For just 1 hour you are able to UNWIND and RELAX in your own time without any distraction.’
‘Thanks to floating, I am more at ease with communicating, dealing with day to day situations and making better decisions.’
I think it’s time Floatation had a dictionary definition – a feeling of acceptance, rest, or ease, typically experienced in the course of an hour with lasting positive effects.