It may seem strange, but lying naked in a floatation tank for an hour or two regularly has been shown to be one of the best methods out there for sticking to resolutions, breaking old bad habits and forming positive new ones.
Studies of the effects of floatation on breaking habits and addictions have shown incredible results. From quitting smoking to weight loss to breaking all kinds of addictions, habits and dependencies, a regular floating practice has been demonstrated again and again to be beneficial. We’ll run through the hows and whys of habit change below, and outline some of the findings of those intriguing studies!
Pioneering studies conducted by psychologist and professor Dr. Peter Suedfeld have shown that sensory deprivation is hugely beneficial in the process of quitting smoking, and particularly in what’s known as the maintenance effect. Many methods of quitting smoking yield reasonable results in the short term, but Suedfeld found that two years later, subjects who had undergone sensory deprivation therapy were much less likely to be smoking or were smoking far less than another group who had undergone otherwise identical treatment without sensory deprivation.
What does this mean for your resolution to quit smoking in 2018?
Whatever other methods you might be trying, from patches to hypnotherapy to cold turkey, your chances of stopping smoking and staying stopped are massively improved by incorporating a regular float into your routine. You don’t even have to do anything special in your float - Suedfeld found that sensory deprivation alone was beneficial. But if you do want to boost your float experience, you can work with mantras, positive visualisations and other tools to make sure your body gets the message that it is a non-smoker from now on!
Many people resolve each January that this will be the year they really lose weight. They start out strong but then the barrage of contradictory messages from advertisements, magazines, television, well-meaning friends, cookbooks and even medical professionals confuse them so much they lose touch with themselves and why they wanted to lose weight in the first place.
Well, you guessed it: floating in sensory deprivation tanks can help!
How? Well, it has to do with the science of stress and relaxation.
When we are stressed, the body responds by releasing cortisol. High levels of cortisol in the body interfere with the metabolic process and cause us to gain abdominal fat.
Stress also causes overeating: cortisol can confuse hunger signals and cause cravings for high fat, simple carbohydrate foods that the body can easily convert to energy. These habits, once formed, can be difficult to break.
Floatation therapy can help by clearing cortisol and other stress hormones from the body, and at the same time releasing endorphins, which are natural feel-good chemicals. Scientists think it is this release of endorphins that explains the high rates of effectiveness of floatation therapy in weight loss programs and the treatment of other addictive behaviours.
These natural opiates simply help us to create pleasurable feelings, thereby decreasing the need to eat for comfort.
Furthermore, in a floatation tank, you are able to increase your body awareness, your emotional awareness and take some time and space for self-analysis. You may use the opportunity to discover what your trigger mechanisms are, as well as gaining clarity on your motivations and expectations around weight loss and your relationship to yourself and food. Discard all those confusing cultural messages and get back to basics: you and your body.
Been overindulging this silly season? If alcohol dependency is becoming a problem for you, you guessed it, floatation therapy can help!
For reasons very similar to those laid out above, the floatation tank environment is a powerful stimulus for change. Research conducted by Dr. Roderick Borrie has shown fantastic results for the reduction of alcohol consumption using sensory deprivation therapy!
General lifestyle change:
Maybe your resolution is something more general, like just being more present, having more fun, worrying less. Taking regular time to connect with yourself throughout all the stresses of the new year will help you to keep in touch with yourself, make decisions that serve you, and stay connected with your mental and physical health.
So don’t guilt yourself about letting your resolutions slip a bit! Get in the tank and spend some time loving yourself, listening to yourself and letting yourself be. And then get on with being the best you yet in 2018!