I can’t write about float therapy for anxiety without noting that we live in anxious times. The CDC recently did a survey in cooperation with the Census Bureau to check on the mental health of adult Americans. In the eight months from August 2020 to February 2021, the percentage of adults with recent anxiety grew from 36.4% to 41.5%. That is a major increase, and it suggests that more than four out of 10 people were suffering from anxiety during the survey period.
Pandemics Cause Anxiety
It’s not surprising. The CDC points out that “The spread of disease and increase in deaths during large outbreaks of transmissible diseases is often associated with fear and grief. Social restrictions, limits on operating nonessential businesses, and other measures to reduce pandemic-related mortality and morbidity can lead to isolation and unemployment or underemployment, further increasing the risk for mental health problems.”
It’s possible the situation may have improved since February. We’ve had a summer since then, and more people have been able to get outside and enjoy nature, which is one of most popular ways of relieving anxiety. But I wouldn’t count on it. For this summer in particular, enjoying nature has meant dodging hurricanes and wildfires in large sections of the country. You don’t need me to tell you we have a lot of reasons for anxiety today. You can see it in the newspaper headlines or your Facebook newsfeed. (But take it from me, you’re a lot better off — and recent reports suggest you’re also better informed — if you don’t pay attention to your Facebook newsfeed.)
The Effect of Anxiety
Anxiety is hugely unpleasant, which is reason enough to avoid it. But if you don’t consider that reason enough, consider this. A large study in 2012 found that even low levels of anxiety shorten lives.
The good news is that you don’t have to put up with anxiety. According to WebMD, you can manage stress (and therefore anxiety) by taking care of yourself:
- eat well, exercise, and get lots of sleep
- get a massage
- spend time outside
- meet up with friends
- find ways to help others in your community
- take up a hobby
- try deep breathing, yoga, or meditation
Those are great tips, and I recommend them as long-term survival strategies for the modern world. A few weeks of following those tips, and you will de-stress your body. But what should you do if you need to de-stress immediately? There’s a technology for that: flotation REST. REST is an acronym for restricted environmental stimulation therapy — which is what you can have with Peak’s float therapy.
Float Therapy for Anxiety
Thomas Fine and Roderick Borrie, in their article, “Flotation REST in Applied Psychophysiology,” summarized research in which they found a reduction in blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension during flotation REST, effects which persisted after the session was over. Furthermore, they found a decrease in stress mediating hormones, particularly cortisol, during the sessions. They also found the cortisol reduction to persist between flotation REST sessions, which they suggest could mean that REST actually resets the hormone to a more healthy level.
My advice is organize your lifestyle around the tips provided by WebMD to de-stress and protect your body from the ill effects of anxiety. But to get started on your new de-stressed life, let me suggest booking a series of float pod sessions at Peak Recovery & Health Center. Stress relief and anxiety reduction could be just one session away.