Recent research studies from The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBS) show that flotation therapy may be a viable resource for people struggling with addiction. The study explains that, “Restricted environmental stimulation therapy (REST) is offered as a useful, flexible tool that can facilitate change in addictive variables at each level of complexity, from habitual acts through attitudes to self-concept and spirituality.”(1)
Over the years, we’ve heard that regular floating can help our clients transform their behaviors and adopt healthier habits, but how exactly does it work?
“The nature of REST is discussed in terms of processes and effects. Basically two processes, refocusing and rebalancing, contribute to the various physical and mental effects of restricted environmental stimulation. These effects include profound relaxation, relief from pain, and a shift in consciousness to a state that is more introspective, less defensive, and more receptive….
The characteristics of the REST experience that make it effective in treating addictions are discussed as follows:
1) the induction of a general relaxation response
2) substance misusers find serenity and relief by nonchemical means
3) internal refocusing to concentrate on personal problems
4) disruption of habits through removal of trigger cues and response possibilities
5) increased feelings of control over addictive behaviors, and
6) enhanced learning processes.”(1)
Most addicts turn to their vices to provide comfort during times of stress. They do this compulsively, and feel as though there is no other way to find relief. Dr. Borrie proposes that when an addict engages in REST, they discover that they can potentially relieve that stress in a completely different manner. That discovery is exactly what Dr. Borrie refers to as the “disruption of habits” and “increased feelings of control” that can be critical to altering behavioral patterns. For example, in studies that combine floating or chamber REST with receiving anti-smoking messages, former smokers who utilize REST are less likely to start smoking again than those who don’t.(2). Similarly, reducing stress is a known way to help prevent relapse for recovered alcohol and drug addicts, and coincidentally floatation therapy has been shown to significantly lower stress.
Let the truth be told that dependencies aren’t solely limited to just drugs and alcohol. They can also include our emotional responses, the relationships we share with each other, our career paths and even the “screen time” spent daily behind on the phone or TV. We all face addictions in someway; flotation therapy could be the method to break those behavioral patterns and take the next steps towards a healthier and more balanced lifestyle.
Flotation therapy is a simple method of holistic healing that has proven to help millions of people from all different walks of life around the world. It may not be the end-all, be-all cure for addiction, but there’s proof in the pudding that it can help. The most recent research suggests that flotation therapy can be an effective supplement to treatment programs for substance abuse and addiction. The first step has to be a commitment to yourself to heal. Go out into your communities and reach out to those who are struggling with addiction. Help is here for you.
(1)Borrie, R A. “The Use of Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy in Treating Addictive Behaviors.” The International Journal of the Addictions., U.S. National Library of Medicine, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2131327.
(2)Restricted environmental stimulation therapy of smoking: A parametric study. Peter Suedfeld, Gloria Baker-Brown. Addictive Behaviors, 1987.