Floating as an Effective Therapy for PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an often debilitating disorder that dramatically effects people’s enjoyment of their day-to-day lives. Those who suffer from PTSD have typically experienced one or more traumas in their lives that continue to haunt them months and years after the event (the trauma can be direct—the incident happened directly to the individual—or indirect—like first responders who regularly witness traumatic events. Feelings such as fear, panic, emotional detachment, and lack of interest in life can become a regular part of everyday living.

Interestingly, of 24 countries included in a PTSD study, Canada was found to have the highest prevalence of PTSD—it is estimated that almost 10% of Canadians will experience PTSD in their lifetimes. Additionally, women are more likely to develop PTSD than men, as well as those who are disadvantaged and those who are from wealthier nations. ¹

There are many studies directly linking regular floating to reduced depression, anxiety, and stress rates. That’s because floating reduces the biochemical secretions and responses in the brain that produce those feelings. Depression is linked with higher levels of cortisol and ACTH-corticosterone, and anxiety is linked with higher levels of cortisol, lactic acid, norepinephrine, and epinephrine, in addition to elevated blood pressure, heart rate, and pulse. Floating has been shown to reduce all of those biochemical and body responses in both the short and long-term. ²

Anxiety and depression are two very common symptoms experienced by PTSD sufferers. And although there are limited scientific studies directly examining floating and PTSD, there are many testimonials on the internet and from our own clients stating that floating has a profound positive effect on their PTSD and that it dramatically lowers and reduces the intensity of the symptoms experienced.

U.S. Air Force Veteran Troy Hearn stated that floating is “like a reset button for your brain. If you think of your brain as a computer, you have all these apps that are going to the hard drive, and you’re letting it all reboot. In addition to the mental break, floating gives the ability to feel weightless and relieve the stress from pressure points and joints.”

And in regards to PTSD directly, Hearn said that “the lack of stimuli allows the brain to confront images or memories they have previously suppressed. What’s actually helping people on our PTSD program is, when they get into the tank and get to that point, now they can address it in a calm environment where there’s nothing else there that could hurt them. They feel calm in the tank. They feel like it’s secure, and they’re safe, and they can approach the traumatic events in more of an internal counseling session with themselves.” ³

For those experiencing PTSD, we do recommend that you notify your support person—such as a counsellor or coach—prior to floating, as some floaters find they need assistance with processing after they have floated. Having your support person available after your float may be helpful if, for example, your float brings up memories or “buried” items that you haven’t fully faced.

Because Zen Mountain Float + Wellness believes in floating as a supportive, healing therapy in the treatment of PTSD, we offer a first responder rate for those who currently and have previously worked in fields with increased rates of PTSD.

Call us today at 25-432-9978 to discuss your options and book in for an appointment. We are here to support you in living a happier, healthier, more relaxed life!

References:

¹ “PTSD: Canada Has the Highest Rate, Plus Eight More Surprising Facts.” CBC, Accessed October 30, 2018.

² Hutchison, Michael. <i>The Book of Floating: Exploring the Private Sea.</i> Nevada City, CA: Gateways Books and Tapes, 2003.

³ “Float Therapy: A New Method in PTSD Treatment.” Military 1, Accessed October 30, 2018.

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