Collier and Lee Counties Edition

Float Therapy Summons Unique Brain Powers

Sensory isolation in a floatation tank is known for inducing deep relaxation with subsequent positive health effects. In 2014, a clinical trial, now published in the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, investigated the effects of restricted environmental stimulation therapy (REST) in a series of flotation tank treatments for 65 participants. The outcome demonstrated that floatation is an effective preventive healthcare intervention for stress, depression, anxiety and pain. These health issues were significantly decreased, along with a sense of optimism and better sleep quality. Additionally, there was also a significant correlation between mindfulness in daily life and the degree of altered states of consciousness that occurred during relaxation time in the flotation tank.

A feeling of weightlessness, coupled with floating in a dark abyss, is a privilege generally reserved for astronauts and deep-sea divers. Today, individuals that climb into a sensory deprivation tank can get the same experience. Sensory deprivation chambers, or “float tanks”, are unique enclosures filled with a shallow layer of saltwater dense enough that a person inside can literally float face up on top of the water with their head above the surface. A typical float lasts one hour. The water is filtered three times between each session and sanitized using UV light. Ten inches of water mixed with 1,000 pounds of medical-grade Epsom salt guarantees buoyancy. The lukewarm water inside the tank, where the air humid, but not unpleasant, is four times denser than the Dead Sea.

Peter Suedfeld, Ph.D., a pioneering psychologist in the field of REST, speculates that flotation may enhance creativity and performance in a manner similar to that of sleep or meditation. Research has shown that during resting states, the brain repeatedly rehearses newly learned skills and consolidates recently acquired knowledge for long-term storage. Some studies have also shown that the resting brain is particularly adept at synthesizing information from a wide range of brain areas to solve tough problems.

Suedfeld and other researchers with studies published in the International Journal on Addiction suggest that the use of REST is helpful in treating addictive behaviors.

Naples Massage & Neuromuscular is located at 5926 Premier Way, Ste. 134, in Naples. For more information, call 239-325-9410.

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