Do you sometimes get stressed or worried about work or school? Maybe you are feeling sad more often than happy? Stress is part of our busy everyday lives in the 21st century.
When worry or anxiety becomes more the norm and happens constantly, impacting daily life, then you or someone you know may have a problem. Sharing with a friend or family member is a good start.
Anxiety can become so overpowering that one feels unable to go about your daily life, and if this is not addressed with professional advice and support, may lead to depression. Anxiety generally develops gradually, making it difficult to work out just how serious it is and if one is unfamiliar with the symptoms, then it is harder to know when to reach out for help.
According to Mental Health Australia over 2.3 million Australians suffer from some form of anxiety and it is the most common mental health disorder, sadly only one third of the population use mental health services. Following is a list of services and contact numbers:
NATIONAL HELP LINES
SANE Australia 1800 187 263
Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
Black Dog Institute 02 9382 4530
Carers Australia 1800 242 636
Headspace 1800 650 890
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
Lifeline Australia 13 11 14
Men’s Line Australia 1300 78 99 78
Mind Spot Clinic 1800 61 44 34
Floatober exists to raise public awareness of mental health issues and donates to charities that support and educate those who suffer, as well as their family and friends.
There is help available and getting support sooner rather than later, is the best way to help manage one’s symptoms.
Research is showing that REST (Restricted Environment Stimulation Therapy) is becoming a therapy that people suffering with mental health issues are finding benefit, due to the deep level of relaxation that the mind and body experience when floating in a tank filled with 600kg of Epsom salts heated to body temperature.
Research from Sweden has shown that “there was a convincing beneficial effect from floatation therapy, on difficulties in emotional regulation (np2=16), indicating that the awareness of emotions increased and that the treatment enabled individuals with GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder) to better understand and regulate their emotional responses”. Ref: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4807536/
When one is in a floatation tank, noise and light can be removed, which in fact enhances the body’s own senses. One becomes aware of their breath and heartbeat, which has a calming, rhythmic effect on the individual.
By reducing blood pressure and improving peripheral circulation, the nervous system calms down as the brain is devoid of external stimuli and shifts more easily into the Theta brain wave pattern most associated with meditation and a serene state of mind.
Research into anxiety and floating
Research undertaken in 2018 by Dr Justin Feinstein Ph. D, Clinical Neuropsychologist and Principal Investigator at The Laureate Institute for Brain Research, reported that there was significant improvement from those suffering with symptoms of anxiety, with increases in happiness, relaxation and serenity. Individuals felt refreshed after their 1-hour float with more energy, and overall this had a positive effect on their general well being.
For a more in depth read please click here.
One of the subcategories of anxiety is claustrophobia, and this comes up a lot in relation to floatation tanks.
There are two components to claustrophobia;
a) the fear of restriction, and
b) the fear of suffocation.
Individuals who display these symptoms may be able to rationalise their fears, but we still need to remind them that floatation tanks are fully tested and safe, they’re not “locked in” and there’s zero chance of suffocation.
Claustrophobia often surfaces as an irrational reaction to a stimulus but remember – floating in one of our dream pods…. all external stimuli are removed.
When you step into one of dream pods, you are by no means restricted. You are in full control of the lights and the lid. You can simply leave the lid open, partially open or closed and the rooms are fully private and lockable.
There is an opening for air so oxygen will always be circulating, and again leaving the lip partially open is an option and may reduce any fear of suffocation.
Using a floatation tank can potentially help cure you from this fear itself. How? Due to the synergistic effect of zero gravity, the lack of external stimuli, and the deep relaxation that one feels. This combination is having an effect on the hemispheres of the brain and may help to improve communication between the left and right hemispheres. One does not need to train in meditation to effortlessly move into a Theta brain wave pattern, where stress and anxiety are reduced for the time while floating.