Can Float Therapy Be Used as Preventative Medicine for Improved Quality of Life?
Is floating the preventative healthcare solution we've been overlooking for too long? Researchers have known for quite some time that floating in a sensory deprivation tank offers benefits for inducing deep relaxation. The positive health effects for patients suffering from muscle tension, pains, and similar symptoms are also documented. Plenty of studies also link floating to clearer thinking, relief for general anxiety disorder (GAD), and improved cardiovascular health. However, a lack of concrete studies on floating's benefits for "total" mind and body support has caused many practitioners to stop just short of recommending it to patients seeking relief from various conditions. A trial published in 2014 is helping to change all of that. In this study, 65 participants were randomized to either a control group or the float group. The participants selected for the float group participated in a seven-week flotation program consisting of 12 float sessions. Participants were then given questionnaires measuring psychological and physiological variables, including stress levels, energy levels, depression, anxiety, optimism, pain, sleep quality, mindfulness, and degrees of altered consciousness. The results are pretty incredible. Participants in the float group reported significant decreases in stress, anxiety, depression, and pain. However, they didn't just experience relief from symptoms. Floating participants also reported significant improvements in optimism and sleep quality. Both of these factors can contribute significantly to improved quality of life. However, the study uncovered that the benefits of floating go even deeper. Researchers in this study found what they described as a significant correlation between mindfulness in daily life and the degree of altered states of consciousness achieved during a float session. Participants who reported that they obtained higher degrees of altered states of consciousness while in the tank also reported that they experienced increased mindfulness in daily life. This link between floating and mindfulness supports previously published work stating that floating in a sensory deprivation tank helps to increase originality, imagination, and intuition to help enhance personal creativity. Why is increasing mindfulness through floating so important for quality of life? According to the American Psychological Association, mindfulness can provide a variety of benefits for health and wellness that can include the following:
● Stress reduction.
● Reduced rumination.
● Improved working memory.
● Improved focus.
● Less emotional reactivity.
● Increased cognitive flexibility.
● Relationship satisfaction.