When I first began floating, I didn’t have any benefit in mind.
I just wanted to experience for myself the “weird” sounding therapy—I wasn’t even aware of the range of offerings it might have for me.
My anxiety and panic attacks were just a part of my reality that I had gotten used to—mild panics and mental breakdowns were just another part of the day.
It would unfold as so:
*queue situation I perceive as awkward*—my face flushes, heart pounds, breathing constricts, thoughts race—subsequent fight or flight unfolds (I usually chose to flight).
It’s funny how acutely we are programmed to notice when a symptom or ailment begins, but tend to take longer to recognize it as it subsides—
I had a handful of floats under my belt, but I hadn’t registered yet that my stress levels were way down, and I had an overall tendency towards calm.
But I remember the moment of recognition clearly—sitting in the Whole Foods parking lot. My plans to meet with someone to whom I owed an overdo apology sunk in as I stepped out of the car. As I stood there—a thought arose: “oh wow I’m so nervous”.
I found myself anticipating, almost waiting for my body’s queue–the racing heart, the stifled breath, the panic—to set in. It never came.
Instead, there my thought of nervousness stood, unfounded by any physiological response.Without the fight or flight to back it up, I walked into the store feeling free, a little silly and quite confounded.
It was in that moment that I saw the power that past experience had on my thoughts—I was so anticipating my anxiety, that my mind gave it a go even without the foundation of my body’s response!
More impressively, where had my body’s fight or flight gone?!
Floating is known to reduce cortisol and adrenaline production—in other words, it lowers the creation of those very chemicals that queue our fight or flight responses. When we are in acute states of stress or anticipation—as so many of us are, we overproduce these, and they keep us on high alert—far too often.
Each float is like a reset—helping to bring us to a reduced state of stress and anxiety, from the root of their cause—our own physiology.
With regular floats, we experience a maintained state of lowered stress and calm.
When you’ve experienced a life-changing benefit, you’re eager for the science and research to back it up.
Science is studying floats more than ever. One study addressing anxiety, “Flotation REST in Applied Psychophysiology” conducted by Thomas H. Fine, M.A. and Roderick Borrie, Ph.D. at the Medical College of Ohio concluded that:
“Patients reported far more relief from anxiety and stress from flotation than any other modality. For depression, flotation was equal to counseling at near 70%, with relaxation training at 53% and physical therapy and medication kava (piper methysticum) for anxiety at 20%.”
It’s been almost 2 years since that wonderful day at Whole Foods, and my anxiety is nearly nonexistent. Though, as with any change—once we reach a new place, it becomes our new normal.
For this reason, I can’t even relate to what it was like when I panicked so frequently, it feel impossible. All I know is, I’ve got no plans to lay off the floats!
As with any therapy, for it to be truly effective, we need to give it time to work. Our anxieties and stresses didn’t form overnight, they are accumulated, and—as made clear by my mind’s unmatched response that fateful day at Whole Foods—they can become learned and anticipated.
It takes some time to dissolve all that we’ve been carrying.
Give floating a few goes, and be on the look for changes in your inner world. It’s from the inside that our outside shifts—and floating does just that; empower our bodies to do their own healing from the inside.
Have you floated yet? Click here to find the True REST nearest you.
Photo Credit: John Mcsporran on Flickr