Advertising
Advertising

How Floating Can Change Our Brains Incredibly, According To Science

How Floating Can Change Our Brains Incredibly, According To Science

If you’re a lover of swimming, playing, or just floating in the pool on hot summer days, know that you’re doing your body good. Maybe you have a natural intuition for what your brain and body needs.

Flotation Therapy or Sensory Deprivation Therapy

But if you really want to maximize the health benefits of doing nothing, consider flotation therapy. Also known as sensory deprivation therapy, floating is no new-fangled health phenomenon. Dr. Roderick Borrie, continuing his mentor’s research on sensory deprivation and brain washing, coined the term flotation Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy (REST) in the 1970s. Shortly after, Dr. John Lilly invented and made popular the sensory deprivation tank, which is now widely used in Europe and the United States.

Advertising

The Secret to Brain Bliss: The Theta State

What makes sensory deprivation so effective? The theta state.

The theta state is a slower brainwave, similar to the state meditators achieve during deep practice. Researchers also compare the theta state to the deep relaxation we experience just before falling asleep, in deep sleep or upon waking. Other indications that one has reached the theta state include vivid imagery. Theta brainwaves are slower than gamma, beta and alpha brainwaves, but faster than delta brainwaves.

During flotation, there’s an increase in full body circulation. Oxygen is delivered to cells with greater efficiency, and the brain is better able to function. The act of floating actually encourages the body to relax and allow its systems to function unimpeded. Known as vasodilatation, the blood vessels dilate, decreasing blood pressure. The process works to heal the body, reducing inflammation, and increasing endorphins.

Advertising

Floating works to heal the body on a number of levels. With an increase of blood flow, all major organs receive more oxygen, and are therefore able to function at a higher level. Diseases such as congestive heart failure and hypertension are alleviated.

With the secretion of endorphins, hormones made famous by their role in exercise, practitioners may experience euphoria, which can lead to pain and stress relief.

What Does A Flotation Therapy Session Look Like?

Though the act of casually floating in your own bathtub or pool has its benefits, flotation therapy is a bit more involved. It means spending a good hour or more naked in a deprivation pods. Clients seeking flotation therapy visit spas like Hope Floats in Maryland and set up an appointment just as they would for massage.

Advertising

During their session, a client will relax, suspended in skin-temperature water (about 93 degrees) with a large amount of Epsom salts. The salinity allows the body to float effortlessly. Clients are giving earplugs to block out any and all sound. The highly intentional environment puts the body in a kind of coma. That is to say, It’s during this process that the theta brainwaves increase.

Floating Pros for Professional Athletes

Scientists have also documented the positive effects of float therapy on athletic performance, especially in sports that require visual-motor coordination. Basically, float therapy encourages the brain to drop to the theta brainwave, to a resting brain state where difficult problems are synthesized. Additionally, the anti-gravity environment increases blood circulation which, in turn, speeds recovery.

The deep state of relaxation is also referred to as the ‘twilight’ state, a level of consciousness that can be likened to daydreaming. Increasing theta brainwaves has a similar, positive effect on creativity. The theory is that the brain makes up for the lack of external stimuli during floatation therapy. Clients may ‘see’ shapes and sounds during treatment.

Advertising

Studies also show that flotation therapy decreases stress hormones such as cortisol. Other benefits include reduction in arthritis, balancing of the left and right brain, regulation of sleeping patterns and detoxification.

Featured photo credit: Štefan Štefančík via unsplash.com

More by this author

Hand Gestures Might Determine How Fast You Learn, According To Study japanese school classroom setting 5 Things About The Japanese Education System That Will Surprise and Inspire You 1-Minute Exercises To Relieve Sciatica Effectively Why We Must Do The Thing We Cannot Do Most People Are Deficient In Magnesium, But It Wouldn’t Be Detected In Blood Tests

Trending in Health

1 15 Simple Ways to Boost Your Emotional Health 2 How to Relieve Stress: 9 Quick Relaxation Techniques 3 5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively 4 15 Brain Foods That Will Super Boost Your Brain Power 5 10 Comics About Periods That Only Women Would Understand

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

Advertising

This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

Advertising

How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

Advertising

Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

Advertising

5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

More to Help You Feel Relaxed

Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

Read Next