Sydney Float Therapy and PTSD
Float therapy is widely used and accepted in the sporting and wellness field. However, it's also gaining popularity with mental health and in particular, PTSD after a range of studies completed by The Float Clinic and Research Centre at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research in Tulsa, USA uncovered some amazing findings.
Float therapy provides promising hope for people suffering PTSD allowing them to escape the demons in their minds and decrease hyper-vigilance, night sweats and anxiety.
What is PTSD?
PTSD is a debilitating and silent disorder which often affects people following a trauma such as a car accident, workplace incident, time serving at war or loss of a family or friend. Symptoms exist for a long time even after the trauma has passed and includes:
- Aggressive outbursts
- Avoidance of all tasks associated with memory
- Loss of interest in life, former passions
PTSD is particularly prevalent with returned serviceman, paramedics and police men and women.
How Does Float Therapy Help Manage PTSD?
Floating suppresses the sympathetic nervous system. The Sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the ‘fight or flight’ response which results in an unhealthy and unhelpful release of adrenaline.
Float therapy, also known as sensory deprivation or R.E.S.T (restricted environment stimulation technique), activates the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system allows the body to calm down, relax, de-stress and reset resulting in
- Decreased blood pressure
- Decreased muscle tension
- Lower levels of cortisol (stress hormones)
- Improved sleep hygiene
- Lower blood pressure
Studies which include the use of MRIs have demonstrated the change of brainwaves to the theta state during float therapy. This is the same state the brain reaches during deep relaxation performed by the monks.
A Personal Experience of Float Therapy & Benefits for PTSD
A recent story released by TIME outlined a personal experience of floating by a veteran, a 23-year-old Australian soldier, Michael Harding. He was stationed in Afghanistan and had been involved in an hours-long siege in which his second-in-command was shot and killed. Harding was left with the scare of a withdrawn and unemotional personality and medically discharged in 2012 for severe PTSD.
According to TIME, Harding had tried multiple therapies including talk therapy, medication, alcohol, meditation and medicinal pot. After reading about floating on an online forum, Harding decided to try floating.
By three floats, Harding says his anxiety and hyper-vigilance had subsided. By three months of floating, so had his night sweats. “After floating, I was really mellowed out,” he says. “I’m not really sure how it does it, but I do know that floating has allowed me to feel in a more confident, comfortable headspace.”
-Michael Harding, Time Magazine