Laureate smegenų tyrimų institute (Laureate Institute for Brain Research) – JAV Oklahoma, įkurtoje moderniausioje pasaulyje
Floatation-REST (Reduced Environmental Stimulation Therapy) reduces sensory input to the nervous system through the act of floating supine in a pool of water saturated with Epsom salt. The float experience is calibrated so that sensory signals from visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, thermal, tactile, vestibular, gravitational and proprioceptive channels are minimized, as is most movement and speech. This open-label study aimed to examine whether Floatation-REST would attenuate symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression in a clinical sample. Fifty participants were recruited across a spectrum of anxiety and stress-related disorders (posttraumatic stress, generalized anxiety, panic, agoraphobia, and social anxiety), most (n = 46) with comorbid unipolar depression. Measures of self-reported affect were collected immediately before and after a 1-hour float session, with the primary outcome measure being the pre- to post-float change score on the Spielberger State Anxiety Inventory. Irrespective of diagnosis, Floatation-REST substantially reduced state anxiety (estimated Cohen’s d > 2). Moreover, participants reported significant reductions in stress, muscle tension, pain, depression and negative affect, accompanied by a significant improvement in mood characterized by increases in serenity, relaxation, happiness and overall well-being (p < .0001 for all variables). In reference to a group of 30 non-anxious participants, the effects were found to be more robust in the anxious sample and approaching non-anxious levels during the post-float period. Further analysis revealed that the most severely anxious participants reported the largest effects. Overall, the procedure was well-tolerated, with no major safety concerns stemming from this single session. The findings from this initial study need to be replicated in larger controlled trials, but suggest that Floatation-REST may be a promising technique for transiently reducing the suffering in those with anxiety and depression.
Floatation-REST (Reduced Environmental Stimulation Therapy), an intervention that attenuates exteroceptive sensory input to the nervous system, has recently been found to reduce state anxiety across a diverse clinical sample with high levels of anxiety sensitivity (AS). To further examine this anxiolytic effect, the present study investigated the affective and physiological changes induced by Floatation-REST and assessed whether individuals with high AS experienced any alterations in their awareness for interoceptive sensation while immersed in an environment lacking exteroceptive sensation.
Using a within-subject crossover design, 31 participants with high AS were randomly assigned to undergo a 90-minute session of Floatation-REST or an exteroceptive comparison condition. Measures of self-reported affect and interoceptive awareness were collected before and after each session, and blood pressure was measured during each session.
Relative to the comparison condition, Floatation-REST generated a significant anxiolytic effect characterized by reductions in state anxiety and muscle tension and increases in feelings of relaxation and serenity (p < .001 for all variables). Significant blood pressure reductions were evident throughout the float session and reached the lowest point during the diastole phase (average reduction >12 mm Hg). The float environment also significantly enhanced awareness and attention for cardiorespiratory sensations.
Floatation-REST induced a state of relaxation and heightened interoceptive awareness in a clinical sample with high AS. The paradoxical nature of the anxiolytic effect in this sample is discussed in relation to Wolpe’s theory of reciprocal inhibition and the regulation of distress via sustained attention to present moment visceral sensations such as the breath.
The focus of this study was to investigate experiences gained from treatment combining relaxation in flotation tank with psychotherapy for sufferers from “burn-out syndrome”. Six people participated in a ten week program. They were all interviewed; the data were analyzed using the Empirical Phenomenological Psychological method. Five themes emerged: (a) direct experiences during flotation, (b) effects due to the treatment sessions, (c) psychological transformation, (d) reflections about the treatment program, and (e) demanding and rewarding psychological process over time. All participants went through psychological transformations and improvements in quality of life. At the end of the treatment program, all participants were able continue working full time. This combined program seems to be more therapeutically beneficial than flotation tank treatment alone.
During Flotation-REST a person is floating inside a quiet and dark tank, filled with heated salt saturated water. Deep relaxation and beneficial effects on e.g. stress, sleep difficulties, anxiety and depression have been documented in earlier research. Despite that treatments for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) are effective; it is till the least successfully treated anxiety disorder, indicating that treatment protocols can be enhanced. The use of Flotation-REST as a treatment of GAD has not been researched. The aim of the present study was to conduct an initial evaluation of the effects in a self-diagnosed GAD sample.
This study was a randomized, parallel group, non-blinded trial with 1:1 allocation ratio to waiting list control group (n = 25) or to a twelve session treatment with flotation-REST (n = 25). Inclusion criteria’s were: 18–65 years and GAD (as defined by self-report measures). The primary outcome was GAD-symptomatology, and secondary outcomes were depression, sleep difficulties, emotion regulation difficulties and mindfulness. Assessments were made at three time points (baseline, four weeks in treatment, post-treatment), and at six-month follow-up. The main data analyses were conducted with a two-way MANOVA and additional t-tests. Forty-six participants (treatment, n = 24; control, n = 22) were included in the analyses.
A significant Time x Group interaction effect for GAD-symptomatology [F(2,88) = 2.93, p < .001, ηp2 = .062] was found. Further analyses showed that the GAD-symptomatology was significantly reduced for the treatment group (t(23) = 4.47, p < .001), but not for the waiting list control group (t(21) = 0.98, p > .05), when comparing baseline to post-treatment scoring. Regarding clinical significant change, 37 % in the treatment group reached full remission at post-treatment. Significant beneficial effects were also found for sleep difficulties, difficulties in emotional regulation, and depression, while the treatment had ambiguous or non-existent effects on pathological worry and mindfulness. All improved outcome variables at post-treatment, except for depression, were maintained at 6-months follow. No negative effects were found.
The findings suggest that the method has potential as a complementary treatment alongside existing treatment for GAD. More studies are warranted to further evaluate the treatments efficacy.