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Floatation Tank

Scientific Research

Floating Effective For Stress And Pain, Research Suggests

Relaxation in large, sound- and light-proof tanks with high-salt water­floating­is an effective way to alleviate long-term stress-related pain. This has been shown by Sven-Åke Bood, who recently completed his doctorate in psychology, with a dissertation from Karlstad University in Sweden.
 
The dissertation confirms what earlier studies have indicated: sleep was improved, patients felt more optimistic, and the content of the vitalizing hormone prolactin increased. Anxiety, stress, depression, and perception of pain declined. Those who took part in the research project all had some form of stress-related pain, and after only twelve treatments in the floating tank, their condition improved.
 
“Through relaxing in floating tanks, people with long-term fibromyalgia, for instance, or depression and anxiety felt substantially better after only twelve treatments. Relaxing in a weightless state in the silent, warm floating tank activates the body’s own system for recuperation and healing. The stress hormone decreases, as does blood pressure. The findings confirm and reinforce our earlier studies on the effects of relaxing in a floating tank,” says Sven-Åke Bood.

 

Many people experience improvement

His dissertation comprises four studies that all involve the treatment of pain and stress-related disorders with the aid of a floating tank.
 
A control group that was not treated in a floating tank experienced no improvement in their health. After a period of treatment lasting a total of seven weeks, 22 percent of the participants in the floating group were entirely free of pain, and 56 experienced a clear improvement. Nineteen percent felt no change and 3 percent felt worse. And the effect persists after the treatment is completed.
 
The research project has been under way for four years and has included 140 individuals, all with some form of diagnosis involving stress-related long-term pain.
 
 

Several types of pain can be affected

“The treatment method can be used for several groups, such as people with whiplash injuries, fibromyalgia, depression, and long-term stress-related pain. We can also see that a combination of treatment in a floating tank and traditional therapy can be effective. We are now moving on in our research and will be monitoring blood circulation in the capillaries, the oxygen uptake of the blood, and how the body’s reflexes are affected,” says Sven-Åke Bood.
 
 

More of Bood’s research about floatation therapy:

  • Bood, S. Å., Kjellgren, A., & Norlander, T. Treating Stress related Pain with Flotation-REST: Are there differences between women and men? 2009. Pain Research and Management, 14, 293-298
  • Edebol, H., Bood, S. Å., & Norlander, T. Case studies on chronic whiplash associated disorders and their treatment using flotation-REST (Restricted Environmental Stimulation technique) 2008. Qualitative Health Research, 18, 480-488
  • Bood, Sven-Åke Bending and Mending the Neurosignature – Frameworks of influence by flotation-REST (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique) upon well-being in patients with stress related ailments 2007.
  • Bood, S. Å., Sundequist, U., Kjellgren, A., Nordström, G., & Norlander, T. Effects of flotation-REST (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique) on stress related muscle pain: Are 33 flotation sessions more effective as compared to 12 sessions? 2007. Social Behavior and Personality, 35, 143-156
  • Åsenlöf, K., Olsson, S., Bood, S. Å., & Norlander, T. Case studies on fibromyalgia and burn-out depression using psychotherapy in combination with flotation-REST: Personality development and increased well-being 2007. Imagination, Cognition and Personality, 26, 259-271
  • Landström, A., Bood, S. Å., Kjellgren, A., & Norlander, T. Treating stress related pain in a clinical sample with flotation-REST: A further report on improvements on pain assessed by the Pain Area Inventory (PAI) 2007. Social Behavior and Personality, 35, 1279-1280
  • Sven-Åke Bood Bending and Mending the Neurosignature – Eliciting the Relaxation Response with help of Flotation-REST (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique) in Patients with Stress Related Pain 2006. Karlstad University Studies
  • Norlander, T., & Bood, S. Å. Women’s health: Eliciting the relaxation response with help of flotation-REST (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique) in patients with stress related ailments 2006. Presented at 11th International Conference of APPAC (Association of Psychology and Psychiatry for Adults and Children), Athens, May 2006
  • Bood SÅ, Sundequist U, Kjellgren A, Norlander T, Nordström L, Nordenström K, Nordström G Eliciting the relaxation response with the help of flotation-REST (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique) in patients with stress-related ailments 2006. Internation journal of Stress Manage. 2006;13:154-175
  • Bood, S. Å., Sundequist, U., Kjellgren, A., Nordström, G., & Norlander, T. Effects of flotation-REST (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique) on stress related muscle pain: What makes the difference in therapy, attention-placebo or the relaxation response? 2005. Pain Research and Management, 10, 201-209