Anxiety is defined as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. Everyone knows what anxiety feels like, but when your brain can’t stop focusing on all the possible negative outcomes to the point where it interferes with your daily tasks it becomes an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders affect 5% of Canada’s household population, but those numbers could be considerably higher because almost half of those who believe they have suffered from depression or anxiety have sought medical help. Anxiety displays differently in each person, and because anxiety can rear its ugly head in so many ways it can go undiagnosed and untreated.
The thing about anxiety is you can worry about the past or you can worry about the uncertainty of the future, but it’s harder to worry about the right now. The more you become aware of, and live in the present the harder it is to be anxious about anything. This is why mindfulness practices are so effective and valuable to those battling anxiety disorders, and it turns out floating might be the answer for many sufferers. Floating is an effective, clinically proven treatment for anxiety with almost zero side effects.
Depression and anxiety are the leading cause of disability worldwide. Of those who are receiving treatment for their anxiety, meta analysis suggests that only about ½ of the patients are actually getting better with these treatments.
One study conducted in in Sweden included 32 participants floating over a 6 week period. At the end of the study the participants experienced lowered blood pressure, reduced pain, anxiety, depression, stress and negative affectivity, as well as increased optimism, energy and positive affectivity (Department of Psychology, Karlstad University, Sweden. 2005).
Today Justin Feinstein Ph.D, a researcher at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research (L.I.B.R.) in Tulsa, Oklahoma is conducting research on float therapy and it’s effects on anxiety. Justin's team at L.I.B.R. has created a website where you can find all of the float related peer reviewed published studies and a collection of presentations from the Float Conference at www.ClinicalFloatation.com.
In the L.I.B.R. study participants reported a significant increase in the feeling of serenity, and a significant drop in anxiety post float. I repeat, significant. Floating doesn’t just feel good while you’re doing it; the feeling of serenity can be felt for many hours after the float. Justin’s study suggests up to 20 hours later (after only 1 float). That is longer lasting than any benzodiazepine (Valium or Diazepam) or other prescribed anxiety medication. Justin hypothesizes that over time, and with repeated exposure floating will lead to sustained reduction in anxiety sensitivity.
Justin's study showed that all of the participants benefited from the float and it didn't matter what type of anxiety they had. After the float serenity & relaxation significantly increased, muscle tension and state anxiety significantly decreased.
The potential side effects of floating include feelings of enhanced well being, relaxation, and serenity. No negative sides effects were found. So you have to ask yourself, what do you actually have to lose other than stress and anxiety?
I have friends with life altering, sometimes absolutely crippling anxiety. I watch this mental illness eat away at people until eventually they are only a shell of the person I once knew. Every time I have the opportunity to encourage them to float, I do, but despite the research, despite my reassurances, they rarely take me up on it. The nature of the illness leaves people scared of trying new things, of being alone, of being in an enclosed space. It’s very easy for an anxious person to find an excuse not to float. This is so truly sad because the research shows people with anxiety benefit from floating two-fold over regular people with absolutely none of the harmful side effects of medication.
If you are coming to oGoFloat with the hope of easing your anxiety symptoms but are nervous about any part of the process please let us know and we will do anything in our power to help you adjust to your surroundings and feel at ease. Contact us for an absolutely no obligation tour of the facility; you can view the space, see the float tank and we'll answer all of your questions.
We are dedicated to making your float as relaxing and accommodating as possible.
We will work with you to take your time and experience your float at your own pace.
Video's and Further Resources
Each year Justin Feinstein’s talk at the Float Conference is one the of most attended, and anticipated lectures. You can see all of his videos at www.ClinicalFloatation.com. The below photo links to one of our favorites.
Bek Houghton & Michael Harding
No one knows the power of float therapy better than Michael Harding, a former solider in the Australian army. After being discharged with PTSD Michael’s life was in a deep spiral, turning to alcohol just to numb the pain enough to sleep. He suffered from full body muscular twitches so bad he couldn’t drink water without spilling. Conventional treatments provided little relief. With no where else to turn his partner, Bek started researching alternative therapies for PTSD which led to discovering floatation. Michael and Bek spoke about their recovery at the 2016 Float Conference and left the crowd absolutely touched by their story. Michael and Bek started the Weeded Warrior project to help vets and their families discover safe and healthy modalities to treat and deal with the challenges associated with PTSD. Click on the picture below for the full talk; it's less than 10 minutes, or you can read about his journey in this TIME article.