23 Oct How Float Therapy Can Help Anxiety
Believe it or not, but in 2017 anxiety disorders make up the most prevalent mental health problem in the entire world, affecting millions of people. Although anxiety has been present throughout human history, since the end of World War II it’s been reported that the levels of anxiety have risen tremendously.
But what exactly is anxiety? Unlike fear – which is a response to a real or perceived immediate threat – anxiety is characterized by a feeling of dread over anticipated events. From existential angst to stage fright, there are many forms of anxiety, but all are similar in their ability to create uneasiness and worry.
Anxiety attacks can come on suddenly. At one moment, you may be resting in bed, not a care in the world, when all of a sudden a thought crosses your mind about some sort of future task, and you’re sent into a spiral. Nearly twice as common as depression, it is expected that over 25% of all people may be expected to have a diagnosable case of anxiety at some point in their life, while only one third will ever receive treatment.
Whether or not we’re currently experiencing some sort of anxiety epidemic has yet to be concluded, but there’s still little doubt that this is an issue we can’t turn away from.
As far as treating anxiety is concerned, there is a long list of possible solutions. Modern medicine and counselling have both been proven successful, while things as simple as exercise, rest, and creating a support network have worked as well.
As it turns out, float therapy is also a fantastic form of relief and can help combat anxiety disorders. It is able to do this through inducing what is known as the “relaxation response.”
We’ve all heard of the fight-or-flight response, which is a physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival. The relaxation response, on the other hand, is “associated with instantly occurring physiological changes that quieten the sympathetic nervous system, reduce metabolism, and lower heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate.” This response can essentially curb any anxiety symptoms and quiet the chatter in your head. Thanks in part to the buoyancy of the water, float tanks are an effective tool to induce this state.
But that’s not all. Sensory deprivation has a huge part to play in the mitigation of anxiety also. By cutting off all your sensory inputs (i.e. vision, hearing, touch, etc.), as well as staying still, you successfully shut off large portions of your brain. This will go a long way to put you at ease and allow you to reflect on your thoughts.
Why more people aren’t using float therapy as an effective form of medication most likely comes down to its fringe appeal. Although float tanks are becoming more accessible thanks to word of mouth, we still have a ways to go before it is seen as the primary solution. Until then, relish in the thought that you, as a regular floater, are doing everything you can to live a healthy, stable life.
For more information on how float therapy can help you, check out our blog post on benefits of relaxation.