Wikipedia says anxiety is “the subjectively unpleasant feelings of dread over anticipated events.” It is different from fear in that it is focused on threats that are perceived but not immediate, and may not even be real. When it gets intense enough, anxiety can become anxiety disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “an estimated 31.1% of U.S. adults experience any anxiety disorder at some time in their lives.” With apologies to Wikipedia, anxiety can be more than unpleasant. It can interfere substantially with living, and can disrupt work performance, school, or relationships.
It is sobering to think that nearly a third of the adult population is sidelined by anxiety at some time in their lives. But you only have to read the headlines to know that all of us are liable to suffer from a certain amount of anxiety today. Mass shootings, cyberterrorism, climate change, species extinctions, pandemics, mega-storms, volcanoes, and even artificial intelligence all seem to be combining to threaten the security of our communities and individual lives.
Is there any escape from these threats? Not really. The best you can hope for is to escape them momentarily — in exercise, meditation, or sleep. But good luck with that last one. One of the hallmarks of anxiety is its interference with sleep patterns. That’s where floatation rest comes in. A float pod deprivation tank can cut off external stimuli in order to create the deepest possible state of relaxation. You are in a soundproof, lightproof tank. Heavily salted water at near body temperature allows you to float, eliminating the pull of gravity on your body and reducing your awareness of where you end and the rest of the world begins. Imagine spending an hour without hearing a single car horn or telephone, without having to respond to anyone or anything. The resulting state of mental and physical relaxation is far beyond what most people experience in a lifetime.
A 2007 meta-analysis of floatation restricted environmental stimulation therapy (REST) found it lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol as well as blood pressure. It enhances well-being and improves certain types of performance. Not only were the effects relatively strong, but they often persisted long after the float sessions. The study suggested that floating can be a useful stress management tool, and it is even helpful with chronic pain. Take that, anxiety.
You can think of the float pod as a mini-vacation from anxiety. Like any vacation, it can provide a feeling of renewal. The outside world is still there when your float session is finished, of course, but having experienced such deep relaxation, and a temporary cessation of your fight or flight response, you are better able to deal with it. Book a float pod session at Peak Recovery & Health Center. It only takes an hour, but you will feel a calmness and relaxation unlike anything you’ve ever known.
Photo: floating by by MyBiggestFan. Creative Commons License.