Tags: flotation therapy | anxiety | depression | heart | blood pressure | focus | muscles

How Flotation Therapy Can Boost Your Mental Health

man floating in salt water tank
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Friday, 05 April 2024 02:11 PM EDT

Floating in a tank of warm, salt-saturated water for an hour is a relaxing way to soothe the body. But now, some research has found that flotation therapy can reduce the symptoms of mental health conditions as well.

According to MSN, float tanks or pods look like an oversized tub that are filled with Epsom salts and warm water. You can leave the lid open, or close it if you want a totally relaxing environment devoid of light and sound. There are approximately 400 float centers in the United States and the costs range from $50 to $100 for a 60-or 90-minute session.

Some studies have shown that floating can reduce the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, as well as depression and anxiety. The therapy also appears to lower blood pressure and decrease muscle soreness after intense exercise.

In addition, some preliminary research suggests floating may reduce cravings in those suffering from addiction. Marc Wittmann, a brain and time perception researcher based in Germany, compares floating in water with meditation, says Psychology Today.

“You float in a lightless and soundproof water tank with high salt concentration at skin temperature,” he says. “You cannot see and hardly hear anything, except your own breathing in and out. Because you float in the water at skin temperature, you lose our sense of body boundary and after a while feel relaxed and in a good mood.”

Flotation therapy has been tested in people with eating disorders. In one study, a randomized controlled trial that included 68 women and girls hospitalized for anorexia, researchers reported that twice-weekly floating sessions improved the patients’ perception of body dissatisfaction that is a hallmark for this disorder. Other patients use floating to help deal with pain so they could avoid opiates, says MSN.

The first tank was designed in 1954 by an American physician, John. C. Lilly, a neuroscientist, who developed the flotation device to study the origins of consciousness by cutting off all external stimuli, according to Healthline.  They are also called “sensory deprivation tanks” and research says this therapy can produce several effects on the brain, ranging from hallucinations to enhanced creativity.

But some studies have shown that flotation therapy can also improve focus and concentration, leading to clearer and more precise thinking. It can also improve athletic performance after physical activity by decreasing blood lactate. A 2016 study of 60 elite athletes found it improved psychological recovery, as well.  

Floating in a tank can improve cardiovascular health by relaxing the body and reducing stress while improving sleep. Chronic stress and sleep deprivation have been linked to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

People have also reported feeling overwhelming happiness and euphoria after floating. Others say they felt more optimistic, and some even claimed to have spiritual experiences and feeling as if they were born anew. 

© 2024 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.


Health-News
Floating in a tank of warm, salt-saturated water for an hour is a relaxing way to soothe the body. But now, some research has found that flotation therapy can reduce the symptoms of mental health conditions as well. According to MSN, float tanks or pods look like an...
flotation therapy, anxiety, depression, heart, blood pressure, focus, muscles
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2024-11-05
Friday, 05 April 2024 02:11 PM
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