Flotation and Stress Reduction
The Relationship Between Isolation Flotation and Stress Reduction
Anyone who has experienced isolation flotation is aware of the post float feeling. It is the feeling of being reset and replenished. Sometimes, you even feel reborn. Why does floating in a shallow pool of skin temperature water make you feel so good? Thankfully, that question has been researched. To understand the answer we need to understand stress, what stress does to the body, and the biochemical changes that occur as a direct result of floating.
Stress can take many forms. Commonly stress is caused by work, money, and relationships. Stress can also arise from environmental factors, noise levels and our diet. High levels of stress can negatively impact health and happiness. Stress can create a negative feedback loop when the way you try to reduce stress only amplifies it. How often do you use food, alcohol or cigarettes as a coping mechanism. How frequently does stress negatively impact your quality of sleep? How effective are you at identifying stressors and how do you manage stress in your life? Chronic stress and unhealthy stress reduction strategies are correlated with depression, anxiety, obesity and cardiovascular disease.
By now we can all agree that chronic stress is detrimental but what exactly does it do in the body? Stress triggers the fight or flight response which is a result of chemical changes in the body. These chemical changes include the release of epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine, and cortisol. High cortisol levels are a direct result of long term stress. High levels of cortisol have been shown to increase belly fat. In nature, this stress response system has an evolutionary advantage and can save your life. However, in our modern society, this system can get stuck in overdrive. This results in consistently high levels of stress hormones in the body.
All of this information about stress is readily available all over the internet. To get the information about the biochemical changes cause by floating we turn to “The Book of Floating” by Michael Hutchison. Originally released in 1984 the book covers many different theories about floating with insights from research. This book is excellent. It covers research, personal accounts, theories, and flotation techniques. Michael Hutchison’s writing style is much more approachable than the works of John C. Lilly.
In “The Book of Floating” we learn that isolation flotation lowers the levels of norepinephrine, epinephrine, and cortisol. The study was conducted by neuroendocrinologist John Turner at the Medical College of Ohio. This is a fantastic finding. We can naturally lower the levels of stress hormones. What is even more exciting, the same study suggests that through frequent flotation we can reset the homeostatic balance of biochemicals in the body!
Isn’t it time you hit the reset button on your stress?
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