Have you ever spent a day floating around in the pool? Do you recall being calm or serene? You probably do because floating can be a very calming experience. Floating is no doubt relaxing, but have you ever wondered why? Recent scientific research may shed some light on why floating is so relaxing and it all comes down to how it affects the brain.
SENSORY DEPRIVATION: THE KEY TO FLOATATION THERAPY
Floatation therapy has been around for a while, but the therapeutic technique has grown in popularity in recent years. Float therapy is also known as sensory deprivation. This is due to the environment in which float therapy occurs.
Floatation therapy occurs in a setting that is free from distractions, such as light and sound. A person’s senses are therefore deprived, which is the key to float therapy’s success and its effects on the brain.
BRAIN WAVES & SENSORY DEPRIVATION
Floatation therapy is used by many as a way to relax, reduce stress, and improve anxiety. Floatation therapy is so effective at repairing mental health problems because of the way it alters brain signals.
The human brain is basically a bundle of nerves. These nerves communicate with each other using a series of electrical and chemical signals. These signals occur in different frequencies, known as Alpha, Gamma, Beta, Theta, and Delta waves.
Beta waves occur when you’re awake and active. When you begin to relax, lower frequency Alpha waves take over. Theta and Delta waves are the lowest frequency of brains waves and they usually only occur before or during sleep. It is these lower frequency waves, especially Theta waves, which are responsible for the deep relaxation that occurs during float therapy.
THE HEALING POWER OF THETA WAVES
Floatation therapy makes it easier for a person to reach the theta state without actually falling asleep. Being relaxed instantly reduces stress and feelings of anxiety. These alone are beneficial for those who suffer from anxiety disorders or clinical depression.
It has also been proven that when the brain is relaxed, the body can better heal injuries. This has made the sensory depriving therapy popular among professional athletes.
Theta waves allow the body to go into a deep state of relaxation. When induced by floatation therapy, this state of deep relaxation can help with creativity, blood flow, swollen joints, and muscle pain.
Check out our article on float therapy as a treatment for PTSD
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