LIVING HEALTHY Published February22, 2016 By Annie Dee

Float Your Stress, Anxiety Away? Flotation Therapy Back in Rage, Is 'Forced Meditation' Healthy?

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Stressed out woman
(Photo : By: Jamie Grill | Getty Images )

Float therapy is making a comeback. According to testimonies, flotation therapy can aid in relieving insomnia, reducing stress, and lowering anxiety. But how good and healthy is it really?

According to CBS Local, flotation therapy is making a return, as evidenced by the emergence of more and more float tank around cities. Hayden Buell swore by it. He said his life can get quite stressful, and to ease his stress, he enjoys bi-weekly floating in a tank filled with water. "I find it a really easy place to get into and kind of unwind most of those things," said Buell. He added that he is usually a lot calmer after floating and the feeling could last for several hours. 

Pat Barrett of Float On, a float tank center, described the tanks normally used for floating therapy and why it can be such a stress-relieving and mind-relaxing process. "There's between 10 and 11 inches of water. The water temperature is between 93.5 and 94 degrees. The term for it is skin receptor neutral. It's a state we're going for to get your skin receptors to be completely neutral to not be able to tell where your hand ends and the water starts," he said. 

Some users described that after they got off the tank, they feel like they are on endorphins. Some described the experience as having really "strong painkillers," BBC reported.  

Barret described flotation therapy as "forced meditation." For an hour and 30 minutes, those undergoing flotation therapy just lie down until all the negative thoughts floats away. "There's nothing to do, so you're just sort of there and you're present, and then, yeah, can help people get into that practice," he detailed. 

While no one can really go against testimonies, Dr. Laurel Mellin of the Emotional Brain Training Center of Excellence warns that this relaxation technique is still questionable. For one, the long term effects are still unknown. In addition, nobody has looked into whether flotation therapy is actually better than other relaxation techniques, that can be cheaper or more convenient. The doctor also stated that float therapy does not help the person get down to the problem. It offers a temporary solution to the more lasting problem of stress. "If you like it and it feels good and it helps you relax and you can afford it financially, it might be a good thing to do, but it doesn't deal with the root cause, which is the wiring in our emotional brain and all of us need more skills to process our emotions even when we're really stressed," she said.

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