The purpose of the present study was to investigate whether the floating form of the restricted environmental stimulation technique (REST) may be applied within the field of pain relief. Thirty-seven patients (14 men and 23 women) suffering from chronic pain consisting of aching muscles in the neck and back area participated in the study.
The results indicated that the most severe perceived pain intensity was significantly reduced.
Flotation-REST treatment also elevated the participants' optimism and reduced the degree of anxiety or depression; at nighttime, patients who underwent flotation fell asleep more easily. The present findings describe possible changes, for the better, in patients presenting with chronic pain complaints.
The Fibromyalgia Flotation Project (FFP) has been created to document the efficacy of flotation REST as a treatment for people suffering from fibromyalgia.
The first study completed by the FFP was presented at the Float Summit 2012 in Gothenburg Sweden. The results of that study provided compelling evidence that flotation REST can greatly improve the lives of people with fibromyalgia by significantly decreasing their pain, muscle tension, anxiety and stress. It also significantly increased freedom of movement, energy, mood and quality of sleep.
Most of these improvements showed longer-term relief as the participants floated repeatedly. This initial study had participants float once a week for three weeks butcase studies suggested that extended use of flotation REST can reduce fibromyalgia symptoms to near zero. It was decided to explore the longer-term possibilities by creating a longer study.
While research into the effects of float therapy on arthritis symptoms is still limited, there are early indicators that it reduces pain in arthritis patients.
As float tanks come to more and more cities, anecdotal reports from arthritis sufferers who’ve discovered floating support the research.
The exact mechanism for how floating can relieve arthritis pain is unknown, but there are several theories. Floating on over a thousand pounds of Epsom salts helps to create a near weightless experience which can reduce pressure on the joints. Floating may also help to balance hormones (particularly by lowering cortisol) and reduce stress. And float tanks are also conducive toward meditation, which has been promoted as yet another means of managing arthritis pain.